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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

The Chicken Whisperer: Dogs and Chickens Living in Harmony

The Chicken WhispererEvery week, the Chicken Whisperer offers advice on raising chickens in your very own backyard. This week, we received a question from one of our members in New Jersey:

“How do you keep dogs from attacking our neighbors’ chickens? We have an electric fence but sometimes it doesn’t work!”

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear from a chicken owner that has lost a chicken to a predator. I always say that there will always be something that will love your chickens more than you! This question however has a little twist. They seem to be concerned about their own dog attacking their neighbors chickens. As a multi-pet owner myself I’m a big advocate of responsible pet ownership. So, even with an electric fence you need to do more to keep your dogs secure in your yard. Same however goes for the chicken owner. If their chickens wander into your yard they are fair game (no pun intended) for your dogs. Many people including myself have dogs and chickens, and they get along just fine. Whenever you add a new animal to an existing group you must slowly introduce them to each other over time. When we adopted our last dog MaryAnn from a rescue group we had to do the same. Over a period of about three days we slowly introduced her to the chickens in the backyard. Whenever she wanted to play too rough, or chase the chickens we immediately told her “NO”! This worked very well, and only took a couple of days. Now all of our animals get along great, and basically ignore each other. This method may not always work for everyone, but has worked very well for many chicken owners. If your neighbors are willing to spend some time with you and your dog it would benefit everyone. Good luck!

For more information on the Chicken Whisperer, visit his blog at http://atlantachickenwhisperer.blogspot.com/. For information on his radio show, “Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer,” visit www.RadioSandySprings.com.

Technorati Tags: chickens, poultry, dogs, pets, obedience

7 comments

1 Ann { 11.22.09 at 8:19 am }

I have 6 month old chickens,15,(Wyandottes and Rocks), and geese,4,(Pilgrims). The geese have always been “jealous” of the chickens, chasing them and pulling feathers when they can. Finally, the Wyandotte rooster has had enough and is standing up to the geese. He and the gander have had a couple of minor clashes, with the rooster winning. I really don’t want this to get worse, what can I do to instill peace?

2 Lisa { 09.01.09 at 10:34 am }

I have a 1 year old Staffy who has been living happily next door to our neighbours chickens his whole life. I think one of them may have made its way into our yard a couple of weeks ago and then today my dog decided to try his luck going under the fence to visit the chickens. All I can say is that I am lucky I have nice neighbours. We have now fixed the fence but I am very concerned that he may try again. Any suggestions???

3 Chicken Whisperer { 08.10.09 at 2:19 pm }

Dear Deborah,

If your chickens are properly contained in a predator proof coop/run then there is no reason to get rid of them. Dogs and chickens can learn to get along and even ignore each other. It just might take some time and work on your part to slowly introduce them to each other until they know the chickens are off limits. I have two dogs and they have learned to ignore our chickens, even when they are all out in the backyard together. It sounds like your neighbors need to contain their chickens by clipping their wings. If one of their chickens flies into your yard then they are fair game for your dogs in my book. Responsible pet ownership works both ways.

Thanks,

Andy G. Schneider
Chicken Whisperer

4 Deborah { 08.10.09 at 12:48 pm }

I am concerned about our dogs. Yesterday the neighbor’s chicken jumped their fence and came into our yard. Luckily we were able to rescue it before the dogs did anything more than pick it up. I scolded them and dropped the chicken back over to their side of the fence. Today we found the two dogs with, yet a different chicken and they had killed her playing tug-of war. We didn’t see them trying to eat the chicken and intercepted before they could. We have chickens, ourselves and they are in a large pen where they can range around. Do we need to worry about our dogs going after our chickens (there’s an 8 foot fence, with the coop in the center and rocks around the bottom borders so they can’t dig in. I will find them new homes if possible in this terrible economy or put them down if there are no other options. Any suggestions?

5 Sheri { 04.25.09 at 10:47 pm }

Are their certain breeds that are more tolerant to having a brother or sister chicken? I have backyard Bantams and am looking to adding a dog to the family. Do you have any suggestions?

6 Chicken Whisperer { 03.20.09 at 12:59 am }

Dear Karlla,

I’m sorry to hear that your neighbors are irresponsible animal owners. While I believe it is important for chickens to free range, they should be doing this on their owner’s property and not damaging the property of others. Obviously, you should not have to spend your own money for a fence to keep your neighbor’s chickens out of your yard, but you may not have any other choice once all other options are considered. I would talk with your neighbor once more and express your concern about the destruction their chickens are causing to your property. You may even want to share your concern with the chicken owner about the possible dangers their chickens’ face from your dogs when on your property. If this fails, I would contact your local animal control office to see if they can offer any suggestions. Once all options have been proved unsuccessful, it may be time to look for a good fence contractor.

Andy G. Schneider
Chicken Whisperer

7 Karlla L. Walker { 03.18.09 at 12:45 pm }

My chickens, dogs, and cats all “play well with others” ;)

However, the problem I am having is with the neighbors chickens…all 500 of them! These Hy-line egg producers are everywhere…the road, on neighboring farms, etc!

They free-range all day on my farm and eat all my flowers, grasses, and bushes that begin popping up getting ready for Spring. I have spoken to the owners about their chickens but they only laugh as if it was a joking matter…it is not a laughing matter to me as I have put many hours in landscaping my yard.

Any suggestions?

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