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any advice for introducing naughty dogs to new chickens?

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hi all, i've had my new chickens for nearly a week now and all is going well :)

i have a naughty little scruffy dog who likes to run around the cube and run, with a growl and a bark thrown in for good measure GNRPP(Bluebelle) the chickens are tolerating him well, but thought some of you may have some tried and tested top tips?

i've had him on the lead, fed him yummy treats, sat with him praising and stroking and brought him in when he starts to growl/bark. any ideas?? i know its early days and i will persevere as i know it will be worth it in the long run. i have 2 big dogs who are fab and take no notice at all :) i'm hoping to FR the m very soon but after reading lots of posts on here am going to section off the garden.

many thanks for all advice

karen !eggblue!

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I am going to be very old school here and against those who say you should never say NO to a dog , or children for that matter.

I feel that they need firm paremeters as well as doing all that you have and are... a very form NO ! is needed. I feel they need to understand that it is not acceptable behaviour.

Reininforcing good behavior with praise etc. is always a must :):):):)

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When I got my rescue dog Tango, nearly a year ago, we had to teach her not to try and attack the hens. Sadly she did manage to get one of them not long after we got her (she actually chewed her way through the wire into the chicken pen, but that's another story). It depends on your dog as to whether you feel a stern NO is likely to be an effective deterrant or not, but with Tango we could have yelled at her until we were blue in the face (we didn't by the way) but she was so utterly fixated on trying to kill and eat the hens that she was totally switched off to us so it would have been completely pointless.

What we did was to keep her on a lead in the garden at all times, and only let her get as close to the chicken pen as she could tolerate without getting over interested and trying to rush at them. All the time praising her (verbal, fuss and treats) for being calm. As time went on, her tolerance level became closer and closer to the chicken pen, so she could get fairly close without reacting. Now she is 99% well behaved - she still has her occasional moments when the chickens stand close up to the wire, or they squabble and flap and then she gets over-interested and reacts, but thankfully those occasions are very rare now. When that happens, we put Tango straight back in the house (we don't tell her off) and shut her in for a few minutes - having her fun curtailed is usually sobering enough for her, and also allows her time to calm down, so when we let her into the garden again she is calm again.

I would say that this has taken us many, many months to achieve - hopefully it will be quicker for you, but do be prepared to be patient!

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hi :) ,

thankyou all for your prompt replies. i think i'll take all the advice i wouldn't let the chickens FR unless very safe from all the dogs even my good ones. i do want buddy(naughty boy)to get better and am going to keep at it. its very encouraging to hear tango is doing so well :clap:and feel we have a very similar approach. buddy had 2 previous owners before us and he was only 4 months when we got him and in a lot of ways i wonder if that is partly why he seems so different to my other dogs-who knows?

bruce-my husband is gate building tomorrow so the path to safe free ranging will begin (Bluebelle)GNRPP

thanks again for all your replies :)

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My labrador-sized terrier/lurcher cross has his moments with small dogs, but lives quite happily with two cats. When we got our two chickens a month ago we weren't sure how he would react to two more small chaseable things so initially did not take our eyes off him.


We let him sniff them through the run and then when he'd got used to them (and them to him) we allowed him in the garden when they were FRing, but under strict supervision. Apart from a couple of chasing incidents - which occurred when the Columbine got spooked and flighty - luckily the dog has been fine. He's most interested in what food they are getting and what they could possibly like about the dark area under the tree. There has not been any barking, growling or other aggressive behaviour so we should be OK. Everything crossed.


He got a stern telling off when he did chase (and was put inside for a period - his normal punishment if he misbehaves in the garden) and he seems to have got the message. As we know he can have red-mist moments around small dogs, we will never entirely be off guard with him and the chickens but so far he has behaved far better than expected.


In the end I think it's a case of knowing your dog's character and allowing/not allowing interaction accordingly.


Good luck - I hope they all end up getting along just fine.

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