With a bit of training and patience, dogs and chickens can co-exist peacefully. We’ve seen the proven, heartwarming results of chicken and dogs even being best buddies! Unfortunately, what we sometimes forget to account for is the neighbour's dogs. Some chicken keepers have to deal with the heartbreaking result of their chickens being injured or worse by their neighbour's dog.
It’s a very stressful, heartbreaking situation, but resorting to sending abusive phone calls and emails is not the answer! Often, the neighbour won’t realise what is happening, and will be as horrified as you are once you inform them of the situation.
Here’s our guide to dealing with this tough problem.
Is the neighbour aware you’ve got chickens? Are they aware the dog is getting out?
Just like with barking, sometimes the owners aren’t aware that their dog is managing to escape out of the backyard or house. The first step is to let them know what is happening so you can work towards a solution together.
How is the dog getting in?
The next step is to find out how and where the dog is getting in to your property. A hole in the fence? Wiggling underneath a gate? Ultimately, the onus is on the owner of the dog to keep it away from your property, but working together to fix the problem is a more harmonious way to reach a solution! The neighbour is most likely horrified at the situation, and will be happy to find a solution.
Introduce the dog to your chickens
Another way to help foster a non-violent relationship between the dog and your chickens is to see if the owner is willing to train it. Dogs and chickens can happily co-exist without being enemies, we’ve seen too many adorable photos of poultry and canine best buddies to doubt it!
The reason that most domestic dogs attack chickens in the first place is because they see it as a way to please their owners, and simply don’t know that the chickens aren’t meant to be chased after and killed. Therefore, educating the dog rather than flat out blaming it is a more constructive path to resolution.
Our article ‘Introducing Dogs To Your Chickens’ is a great guide on how you and your neighbour can work together to help foster a peaceful bond between their dog and your flock!
There are other ways you can prevent your chickens from getting attacked by the neighbours dogs
House your chickens in a run
Keeping your chickens in an enclosed run is a good way to let them safely free range. The run is an enclosed structure that attaches on to the coop, so your chickens can have access to grass whilst having the safety of the galvanised wire mesh around them. They’re designed to keep all predators out, so the dogs shouldn’t be able to breach the enclosure.
Unfortunately, the neighbours might not always be as sympathetic as we’d like, so it’s important to know your rights and how to take action if they refuse to do so.
Call the council
If your neighbours dog is breaching your property and the neighbour refuses to take action, then you can call the council to report the dog and the owner. Each council generally has a number for ‘dangerous, menacing and restricted dogs’ - if you call this and report the details of the dog and the attack, someone will come out to your location to have a chat about the situation, and hopefully find a resolution!
Anything attacking your chickens is a stressful and often traumatic experience, but as much as you may like to - abusing your neighbour is not the answer! The best solution is to work with them to find a peaceful solution, and to train the dog and educate it that chickens are our friends (not food!)