Introducing A New Dog Or Puppy To chickens

Carol : If a person gets a puppy/dog. How do you introduce it to the chickens so they become friends? What were good dogs with chickens? I was thinking of an Australia shepherd.

My Reply : There are specific livestock guardian dogs although they are quite expensive and require a lot of training (there is a bit about livestock guardian dogs which includes some dog training tips in this old newsletter http://www.self-sufficient-life.com/June09KC/page08.htm pages 8-14). In theory any dog, regardless of breed potentially could be good with chickens although breeds which are traditionally bird dogs or hunting dogs probably would have a higher chance of wanting to chase them. It is partly down to luck and partly down to training. Even basic training will help a lot – if your dog has been trained well to come when called or stay when told to then the chances of any incidents escalating are greatly reduced. It may help to let your dog have a sniff around the coop and run without the chickens being there and also watch you interacting with the chickens from a distance so it can get used to the sights and smells and hopefully also will pick up on the fact that they are your chickens and are important to you. Any introductions should be on a short lead, probably only for a few minutes at a time and interactions should take into consideration how your chickens and dog are responding eg if your chickens are stressed by your dogs presence or if your dog seems to be getting too intense like it wants to go after them.

photo by Jennifer Floyd

2017-12-06T20:13:40+00:00

2 Comments

  1. George December 6, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    We recently got two new German Shepard puppies and have 18 chickens and 2 roosters. We broke our dogs in by bringing 4 chicks in the house and raising them along with dogs. One dog was very mellow and actually let the chick walk all over him and the other wanted to play and nip at them. After a couple weeks they were used to them and poked them with their noses but never hurt them. After a month we returned the chicks to their coop and it was about 2 months later the dogs were finally introduced to rest of flock at ranch house. The chicks that were raised with puppies actually walked right over to say hello and just ignored the dogs. After a few “no chasing the chickens” command, dogs were fine. Never had a problem, they sit together and watch over the chickens and roosters. Just some early introductions and lessons on behavior and they were fine. My 80 pound shepherds actually help me round them up sometimes but never hurt them.

  2. Crystal Kochert December 7, 2017 at 1:36 am

    We had a litter of pups we picked up on the road several years ago. They were always in a pen but one of them decided he was not staying in there any more. Oddly he loved our chickens and never bothered them, they would even chase him away from treats. His brothers though had killed chickens if they flew in to their pen. He died a couple years ago and I have really missed him. I guess we were just blessed to have an angel dog!

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