Most of you who own a farm or a ranch, and have a livestock of your own, definitely have chicken and are also aware of the nearby threats like coyote, wolves and of course, dogs. What’s worse is, if your own dog starts chasing the chicken in your farm or kills someone else’s especially if they’ve been kept in the backyard of a farm, which is a very bad idea! Dogs may not intend on killing chicken and may just want to chase them, but it is always better idea to take the necessary precautions to prevent them from doing so, intentionally, or by accident.
Some breeds tend to be gentle around chicken and other small birds and animals, like, Retrievers, Labradors, Boxers, etc. and it’s definitely safer to have them around on the farm, than that of other, more ferocious breeds, like hounds.
It is also always a better idea to have someone on guard, keeping a close eye on the dogs from the very beginning. That way, it would prevent all the possibilities of killing the birds. It is next to impossible, to take away a dog’s inherent instinct to hunt, but they can be trained to hang out with the chicken without harming them
This can be done by making the dog and the chicken eat out of the same bowl which would lead them to bond with each other.
Initially, it is suggestible to let the dogs hang out near the chicken whilst being tied on a leash. Then as days go by, take him closer to the chicken every day and control his reaction by pulling him away if he is on the verge of pouncing on them. As he begins to get comfortable around the chicken, lose the leash and let him get accustomed to them. Dogs of certain breeds can be trained to get along as well as look after chicken, so, proper training since puppy-hood is the ideal method to fix their instincts. One thing that every person needs to keep in their minds while owning a dog, is the fact that they aren’t humans. They may be more precious to us than any other human being, but treating them like one, will only cause further problems and will reflect on their poor behaviour.
Thus, it is very crucial to train your dogs properly, like they’re supposed to be trained, instead of trying to raise them like babies. During the process of training you can choose your own methods, like, I use treats when I have to teach my dog something. In this way, they will learn how to shape their course of actions.
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Dog Breeds That Get Along With Chickens:
As I’ve already mentioned before, not all dog breeds can get along with chicken, or any other bird for that matter. Herding dogs can get along with chicken pretty well. Dog breeds like Akbash, Kangal, Maremma Sheepdog, Polish Tatra Sheepdog, etc, are good to have around them. There are certain breeds of dogs who cannot be trusted around chicken, because of their ferocious nature and instincts. Nonetheless, the dogs that have been mentioned above, can be easily trained to look after these birds and are relatively trustworthy around your flock.
More such breeds include Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd, that can be trained to take care of them. Breeds such as Greyhounds, Jack Russel Terrier, Husky, German Shepherd, Dachshunds, Rotweiler, etc cannot be trusted around chicken because they’re more likely to prey on them, especially if they run, which they will. These dogs are born with a flair to hunt, and will anyway chase a chicken down. It is suggestible to not have dogs of these breeds around your flock or even in your house if you have livestock in your backyard, because even if these dogs don’t intend to kill a chicken, they might do it unintentionally or by accident
Golden Retrievers and Labradors are friendly by nature and are born with a low prey drive. They usually are pretty good around chicken, but require thorough training so that they don’t end ups hurting them even by accident. A few other breeds that are born with a low prey drive, are Old English Sheepdog, Boxers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Great Pyrenees and Vizsla. A Boxer’s aggression and prey drive depends upon the way it has been trained. They’re usually playful, but when they’re trained as guard dogs, their nature is altered. Old English Sheepdogs are large and is considered to be a herding breed, but also has a personality which is similar to a livestock guard dog. They can take a lot o grooming and can be trained well. Great Pyrenees are low-maintenance dogs with a low prey drive, and can be trained to look after livestock.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are usually friendly dogs that refrain from chasing other animals and prefer spending time with their family, but because of their playful nature, they may often end up hurting small birds. Maltese is one of the tiniest breeds available, and are usually friendly around other animals and birds. These dogs are also very lazy by nature, and are pleasant to be around. But, if barking is an issue then one should definitely refrain from buying them. Akbash is a breed of dogs which is very friendly with poultry. They’re large in size, but are of a very peaceful nature. It is obviously a better idea to train the dog to stay around chicken since its time as a puppy.
Komondors, is another breed that can work very well with poultry. The only problem with this breed is that they may grow overprotective sometimes, and attack innocent strangers considering them to be threats. Tibetian Mastiffs are very large in size and require a lot of training to be calm and patient, but they too, are good around poultry. Their size and nature can be a very big threat to any predator who is likely to attack the poultry. These dogs, if not trained properly, might even end up attacking strangers, considering them to be threats. They’re very active during nights and can take very good care of the flock, only if they are trained properly. Thus, it is suggestible to use professional trainers if you’re not entirely sure. The Pyrenean Mountain Dogs, much like the Tibetian Mastiffs, is known for staying actively aware during the nights. These dogs are essentially guard dogs, which makes it better to have them around your poultry. They’re usually very good and gentle around small animals and birds which makes them the best choice of dog to have around one’s flock. Kangals too, are guard dogs by nature and have the ability to protect chicken, sheep, etc.
Kuvasz is another breed which is highly intelligent and jovial by nature. They’re very active and can protect livestock if trained well. Anatolian Shepherds is another breed that is extremely intelligent, agile, and quick. With proper training, you needn’t worry about hem protecting your livestock, because they’ll do it gracefully.
How To Train Your Dog To Leave Chickens Alone?
One must start training their dogs by asking them to sit and stay around chicken by using treats, and make them repeat this a few times. It is always suggestible to start training a dog when its a puppy, as it is easier that way. Other than this, in order to prevent a dog from attacking chicken, one must train them to ‘leave it’. If you see your dog trying to eat something they’re not supposed to, then train them to ‘leave it’. Do so using a treat as well. Another important step in the process is to teach them to ‘settle down’. When your dog is in a calm state of mind, just ask them to settle down and give treats if they stay that way for at least a minute or two. This command can be useful when a dog starts chasing chicken. After these, try bringing your dogs within a close proximity of the chicken shed, and command them to settle down if they start getting restless around it. It is also a better idea to initially start bringing your dogs closer to the chicken shed, on a leash.
Try making your dog sit around a see-through barrier with the chicken in it, and see for how long he can stay quiet around them. Eventually increase the span of time and give them treats the longer they stay. After this, leave the chicken in the backyard without a shed and put your dog on a leash to see how he reacts around them. Control his reactions with the use of leash and eventually increase his time around the chicken. After a few days, open the leash and keep a close check on your dog’s reaction around the chicken, if they by any chance end up grabbing one of the birds, use the ‘leave it’ command to make them stop. Reward your dog with treats for the longer he is able to stay around the chicken without pouncing on them or attacking them in any way. Make sure to discipline your dog thoroughly by using commands, and only them should they be allowed near the chicken.
Watch for signs like ignoring your command, twitching lips or crouching near the birds, to know that the dog might attack the chicken once he is off the leash. It is the best idea to used professional trainers in such matters, because the process of training is tricky and quite lengthy as a matter of fact. It is important to make sure that one is always ready to control their dogs if he/she is on the verge of attacking. One must always be prepared.