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Chickens & neighbours' new puppy

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Hello all,


Our neighbours just got a puppy and I'm assuming it will be spending some time in the (shared) garden with our chickens. It's a very energetic young thing, and as yet really has no training at all. I just met the puppy (Misty) and was initially very excited as I love dogs, but now I'm concerned. I went over to the eglu to shut it for the evening and Misty came with me. One of the chooks came wandering out and was not at all happy about the situation - she was very frightened and started squawking, even though Misty didn't really do anything. I kept her a few feet back from the run. At one point Misty took a step or two towards the run and Pippa flipped, running away and crashing into the others (peeking out to see what the fuss was about) and into the eglu. I shut the door as it was bedtime anyway, and they settled down after a few more squawks & boks.


Now I'm thinking that this introduction may not go so well, especially if Misty is overly enthusiastic (as puppies are). I'm also concerned that my neighbours may not be as conscientious about keeping her under control & calm as I would be. If the chooks are free-ranging and they bring Misty into the garden she may very well go charging over - and if the hens then flap about and run away, Misty's predator instincts may just kick in :shock:


We're on good terms with these people so I'm happy to have a word with them and try to make a plan, but I'm just wondering if any of you have any advice for puppy-chook introductions - keeping in mind that the puppy isn't mine and I have to tread carefully with giving advice!


Many thanks...

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I think until you are 100% sure of Misty I would only let them out when you are there. It's good she didn't react that time and what will probably happen is one will give her a nip on the nose and she'll respect them.


Could you put up some netting to protect them from her. :?

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Could you put up some netting to protect them from her.


The chickens are only out of the run when we're in the yard, so the dog & chickens will never mingle without myself or OH there. I've heard that chickens often have one or two pecks and the dogs back off, but all I saw yesterday with Pippa was pure terror, so I don't see her being the one to discipline Misty! Lucy GNR might though.


Anyway, I'm thinking that I'll offer to work with the puppy for 5 or 10 minutes a day and just walk her on a lead around the yard, near the run, and keep her paying attention to me and not the hens. She'll learn soon enough that they aren't for playing with. Hopefully in the meantime the girls will settle a bit and not panic!


I suppose my main worry is not really the dog but (as always) the owners - they need to help with training & discipline of Misty while she learns, and be vigilent. But as I said they are good people and we're on good terms, so I'm sure we can make a plan together.

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Well I think the good news is that its a puppy that you are dealing with as it will be imprinting good things at the moment. I got a puppy last year and she came bounding out much to the horror of the chickens but with firm no's and leave she imprinted these instructions. If you or your OH are in the garden would you be able to take over the situation if the puppy comes in because they are your chickens. Make every thing a good experience for her.

My puppy wanted to be part of the flock and you often saw the chickens walk past the window followed by the puppy.


My head girl use to smack my dog on the nose if she got too playful. Once again imprinted so she got the message and left them alone. Shes older now and looks after them for me and has more than once chased a fox out of the garden. It sounds as if the chickens and puppy will never be together on their own so it will probably turn out better than you think.

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See if you can 'borrow' the puppy each evening. Pop her on the lead so that you can control the situation and walk her around the garden first with the chickens shut in and then with them out. Dogs do get anxious and over excited when they flap and when people pick the chickens up and then put them down again. As soon as the chickens get used to the dog being around they will quite possibly square up to the dog if they over step the mark. They will get bored with each other if they spend quiet controlled time together.

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