Many individuals have heard horrendous stories about keeping dogs and chickens together, but by introducing both species together from the beginning can often result in a friendly and harmonious lifestyle for both chicken and dog. Nevertheless, the primary benefit in all of this, is that dogs can frighten many unwanted predators and protect your flock.
Can your dog really be trusted around your flock?
The reality is, for dogs and chickens to coexist together throughout their lifetime, there are no fast or hard rules to follow or abide by. The answer is that each and every single dog is different, so it is important that you understand your dog before you begin.
Understanding your dog.
Many individuals are loyal to their dogs and would always assume that their mans best friend is exactly that, and wouldn’t intentionally harm a living soul. Unfortunately when it comes down to a dogs natural prey, the chicken, any conclusions regarding your dog’s possible behavior need to be avoided. This is why you need to research its breed before making assumptions about its mentality.
Knowing your dog’s breed, including the breeds general traits will luckily tell you a lot about what you should expect from your dog when it comes down to smaller animals.
It is important to take note about the breed and what its purpose was originally developed for. For example, breeds such as Border Collie’s were developed for herding or cultivating purposes, while Golden Retrievers were purposefully bred for hunting. These purposes are incredibly important when it comes to guessing your dogs actual temperament.
Introduce your dog to your flock.
Now that you have learnt about your dogs breed and its primary purpose, the challenge part now comes. If you already own chickens but have recently brought a puppy or young dog into your household introduce your dog to your chickens as soon as you can. If you already own a dog that may be older but are currently considering adding chickens into your lifestyle, you may want to preview your dog’s overall reaction by introducing your dog to other birds before committing to purchase chickens.
Will my dog ever get along with my flock?
Unfortunately some dogs may never become trustworthy around your flock of chickens. This can often become a disappointing and somewhat disheartening reality that you may need to face and contend with if you already own a dog and chickens.
If your dog continually demonstrates clear signs of aggression, or even extreme herding behavior which includes relentless non-stop chasing, it is more than likely that your dog’s instinctive prey drive is far too high which means that your dog unfortunately cannot be trusted on their own or loose around your flock of chickens.
Nevertheless, this obviously can become a burden or difficult to content with, but you must always remember that it is not your dogs fault. It is all about instinct and is completely natural behavior. If this is the case, it is your responsibility as a dog and chicken owner to keep them separated and safe.
Nevertheless this does not mean that not all dogs will chase chickens or harm them, it is also very common to find dogs that enjoy the company of chickens and will not even react around them. It is all about understanding your dog, researching your breed and controlled introductions.