7 Tips For Your Dog If You Own Chickens

  • 18/12/2021
dog_and_chickens.jpgIf you live on a farm or lots of acres of land you probably own chickens. Chicks provide food and even companionship. Although, if you also have a dog this can be a little tricky. You want to ensure the animals can peacefully coexist. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Know Your Dog’s Breed Type

One of the first steps is understanding your furry friend’s personality. Suppose they’re more energetic. You may want to keep them on a leash during interactions. Another thing to consider is their natural instincts.

Some breeds, such as Shepherds, were made to be livestock guardians. This means they don’t have the desire to hunt prey and are protective of their flock. So, they may react less aggressively and can bond with your hens. Understanding your pet’s traits will help you determine how much training they will need.

2. Let the Dogs Get Used to the Coop

Before the chickens come, let your dog sniff around the new environment. It helps them adapt more easily to the change. By the time the chickens come the space will be less interesting to them. This technique can discourage your pet from sneaking into the coop.

3. Make the First Introduction

Allowing your animals to interact is the true test. Start by having the puppy on a leash and separated by a fence. Keep the chicken in their pen for the first introduction. As you approach the coop, announce your presence with your voice. You want the chickens to become comfortable with having you around.

Remember to talk softly and make slow movements. It’s also a good idea to bring your chicken’s treats, such as table scraps. First, let your dog roam around and observe the chicks. Then try to get your dog’s attention with treats. If they’re still distracted by the chickens, then they need more time to feel relaxed. So, continue this type of exposure daily.

Another thing you want to test is how your puppy reacts to a commotion. Rile up a few of the birds and see how your pet behaves. If they try to chase them, then keep your chickens inside their pens most of the time. However, if your puppy stays in place, then it may be safe to have your hens roaming around the yard.

4. Practice Safety

While your puppy may be trained to coexist with the chickens, you can’t always predict their behavior. Therefore, you want to have a closed-off coop for your birds. That way you can ensure your animal’s safety. It also makes it easier to multitask without having to watch your pet the whole time.

The separated coop can even keep out unwanted predators, such as foxes. Have a high fence surrounding the pen. Look for a six-foot-high vinyl privacy fence. It can prevent your pet from jumping over, and the smoother surface makes it harder to climb.

Keep in mind you don’t want your pet to enter the pen. It’s important that the chicks have their own space. If the animals are stressed out they have a harder time laying eggs. Keeping dogs out can also prevent them from getting sick. If your pet licks your chicken’s poop, they can catch salmonella. Plus, then your pet won’t track dirt or mood into your house.

Suppose your hens are roaming the yard, pay attention to your pet’s body language.  If you notice any signs of intense staring or deliberate movements remove your puppy.

5. Encourage Continued Interaction

You want your chicks to get used to having the dog around. Try feeding the hens with your puppy in the yard. That way your chicks get used to their presence. Try to distract your pet with bones or treats, so they appear less intimidating.

It’s also important that your puppy is comfortable with the chicks. So, practice reinforcing good behavior and consistency. When training, use high-value treats, such as a piece of chicken, to get their attention.

6. Take Into Account Your Dogs Health and Age

Before introducing your dog, make sure they are healthy. Keep up with their annual shots and vet visits. A sick animal may feel more vulnerable or become defensive. Also, they can more easily spread illness to your chickens.

Age is another factor to consider. A puppy is better to introduce to your chicks since they are more impressionable. If they grow up around the animals they will become comfortable quicker. Also, pay attention to the age of the chick. You want to wait until they are at least a few weeks old before moving them to the coop.

7. Only Introduce Them to One Chicken at Time

When the animals are ready to interact face to face, pick a neutral spot in the yard. Then have just one chicken meet your dog. It allows your puppy to feel less overwhelmed. It can also prevent the hens from teaming up against your furry friend. Once your pet feels more relaxed, you can start bringing in more animals.

How to Bring Together Dogs and Chickens

Chickens provide you with fresh eggs and can even become a second pet. However, when you have a dog in the mix things can be a little stressful. Follow these tips to create harmony between all your animals.

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