Jan 9, 2017

Dogs And Chickens

Hubby has been working with our dogs, Lexy and Maggie, to get them more well behaved with the chickens. When we first got the chickens Lexy would just run laps around the coop, thankfully that has stopped, but there have been instances where she is barks at the chickens non-stop while we are gone. When we got Maggie, she seemed a little more indifferent to the chickens, but I've witnessed her jumping up against the coop too.

He started by letting the dogs outside while the chickens were loose and they got more and more comfortable. It got to the point that Hubby could be outside working in the garden or yard and the dogs and chickens would be out there together with no issue. I would hear stories about how Lexy would just be sitting there surrounded by the chickens and not caring.

Saturday we had our first (and likely only) bit of freezing weather. It never really got out of the 30s. Hubby went outside in the morning to let the chickens out because they were all huddled together in a small patch of sun, so we figured we'd let them out to get more sunlight and warmth. Since it was morning we also let the dogs out. We watched them from the window and there were no issues, but it was so cold the pups didn't stay out long.

The dogs spent most of the day with us, but they would go back and forth some. We would spend time looking out the window watching the chickens or the dogs, or both. Things seemed to be going just fine. That afternoon though we got settled in and ran errands and forgot the chickens were out. It was about dinner time and starting to get dark when I asked Hubby if he'd put the chickens up. He hadn't, but I figured they would all be lined up on their roost at this point.

When we went out there he found that the pups had just killed one of the chickens and were picking at it. :( It appears that when we put the dogs out that evening one of the dogs got the chicken and snapped it's neck. We didn't hear any commotion, so we don't think there was much of a chase or fight. We called the dogs "bad dogs" and they acted appropriately guilty and remorseful and Hubby buried the chicken.

So now we are a flock of 5. We know it's totally our fault: we forgot to put the chickens back in their coop, we let the dogs go outside unsupervised, and we know that it is their nature to want to catch the birds.

So let this serve as a reminder that even the best trained dogs (which ours aren't!) should have a watchful eye because sometimes instinct just takes over. We will likely wait a little bit before having them both out together, but either way they will be supervised!

Have you ever lost a chicken?

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Can dogs and chickens get along?

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  1. My littlest dog does chase the chickens but as far as we know hasn't hurt any. However, we recently had a bad day when we suspect a weasel crawled up thru the gap under the coop roof edge. It killed one, injured one so badly it had to be put down, and hurt about four more. We have also lost a few here and there. Ours free range during the day. I plan to get some new birds at a poultry swap in the spring. And we boarded up that gap!

    1. Sorry to hear about the weasel. We thankfully haven't had any run-ins with other predators, but I suspect having the dogs around may help keep them away. I'm glad you got the gap fixed and haven't had any more issues!

  2. So hard! We want chickens but know there are neighborhood kitties that might give them trouble too. Thanks for linking to the #homematters linky party

    1. Cats may be less of an issue, the chickens are about the same size, but you never know. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Thanks for the "Cautionary Tale". Glad the dogs only got one chicken.

  4. We are fairly sure our dog would not kill our adult chickens or ducks but we know from experience that she will take and kill young ducklings. We always therefore keep our poultry and dog separate ... and as I dog sit and can never trust the dogs belonging to other people it is easier that way. #AnimalTales