Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Monday, March 2, 2015

On dogs and chickens....

Somehow my post on How to Keep Your Dog From Killing Your Chickens is getting a lot of page views. I think it turned into a pinterest sensation. Since we are hot on the heels of the chick season I thought I'd highlight it again just in case you missed it.

 One of my favorite big ol fatty hens. I just love these gals.

You may read the whole post here titled, How to Keep Your Dog From Killing Your Chickens.

I get a lot of requests for advice on how to handle dogs and chickens. The biggest keys to success are to supervise your dog and to get your chickens and your dogs behind fences.  You also need to understand your dog.

Many people don't want to accept their dog is a dog - which means he's a predator. So even if you haven't seen your dog with the limp body of his foe hanging out of his mouth - don't put it past him.

My hennies know they can roam around without being run down by dogs. 

The best (worst?) example of this is some folks I knew. They had a little mini doxi who was completely a lap dog. I don't think that little dog wanted for anything his whole long life. And then they got parakeets. If I remember right they even named one of them Tweety.

So, one day the oldest daughter called the mom at work, excitedly, that Mr. Woofy just love love loved Tweety! They were best friends! Mr. Woofy was so interested in Tweety! How fun was that? And they were playing together!

Predictably an hour later the oldest daughter called and said that Mr. Woofy killed and ate Tweety.

Friend, I'm here to tell you that you need to supervise your dog around chickens or parakeets. If you just let your dog out in the yard full of chickens it will eventually end up in a blood bath. The only thing that surprises me is how surprised folks are that this happens. It's probably the worst beginners mistake.

What a great hen swarm!

To be sure, there are certain dogs - Livestock Guardian Dogs - who are hardwired to protect their flocks. But that is the key - THEIR flocks. They need to know that those chickens are theirs to protect. There is always the sad story where someone runs right out and gets a LGD, puts the dog in with the flock... and then....feathers... feathers... everywhere. The dog was just being a dog.

You can read the whole post here, but in short here are my best tips for dogs and chickens:

1. Supervise your dog.

2. Put your dog and your chickens behind fences.

3. Be the boss of your dog.

4. Train your dog right.

If you are one of the folks who is running right out to get started with chickens this year - and you have dogs - make sure that you have a plan to keep our chickens safe.

Happy Monday everyone! Are you getting chicks this year? What does your dog think about that?


Vera said...

All our rottweiller girls do now is play football occasionally with a hen, but not for long...they know the error of continuing the 'game' beyond a certain point!

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

We have a working dog breed do and she is more than a little interested in those flappy sqwarky chickens. We keep them separated with a fence and an electic hot wire (which is pretty redundant these days as she knows the rules) as if given the chance she would play with them till they got stressed and died. She would just herd them and play pounce and release. As out hens have a very large run we do not let them in the yard. But when we have taken Jessie to visit friends who have free ranging chickens she was far more interested in playing with their dog and in hanging out with the humans rather than being focused on the chickens. That being said I would not leave her unsupervised. She is a dog first and foremost and her prey drive is strong.

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