Imagine if you will, a feathery flock of chickens happily interacting in the same backyard with a furry dog! Well, wonders never cease. Family dogs are often found keeping watch over small backyard chicken flocks, and as an added bonus, some even offer their shepherding services free of charge, making sure that every last feathery friend makes its way into the coop at night. Whether or not your chooks appreciate this egg-stra service, is another story!
Dogs and chickens can and do coegg-ist happily and harmoniously. Many new backyard chicken keepers already have a canine at home when they begin the chicken keeping adventure. And, many dog lovers choose to add chickens into the mix. Why? Because chickens and dogs can be great friends, with the right training and preparation! There are several reasons why dogs and chickens can form mutually respectful relationships, read on to find out why they can become best pals.
Dogs and Chickens- Social Butterflies
Both dogs and chickens are social animals-dogs live in packs, while chickens live in flocks. Being the gregarious animals that they are, chooks and canines thrive in groups - whether their members sport fabulous feathers or fluffy fur. Chickens and dogs adore interacting with their human families too! So while summer is in full swing, head out to the backyard with a picnic basket and enjoy a FUN furry feathery afternoon with your animal friends! Appropriate treats for both poultry and pup required! Now, depending on what phase of “chicken sibling in training” your dog has completed, you may need to put your dog on a leash for the first little while. Socializing with your chooks and canine companions is GREAT Fun!
Playfully Perfect Partners
Chickens and dogs, both pleasantly playful and masterfully mischievous are just destined to be great friends Oh,but what a combination! Be wary, my friends, very wary of the antics that await you when you mix the fabulously feathered with the furry.
Chickens are naturally curious critters! Cautious but ultimately curious. Typically, after circling and ogling the object of their interest, they may have a peck at it. Chickens are especially interested in the egg-stremely odd looking feather costume that your canine sports. So beware napping dog! Or, perhaps it’s just your chooks’ way of instigating a rousing game of tag. You’re it!
Dogs are naturally curious as well, and have been known to snatch a chook’s egg-cellently crafted bounty from the nesting box, and very proudly proceed to prance around the backyard, all the while, ever so gently holding on to their egg-straordinary treasure. When finally caught, oh miracle of miracles, said treasure not one crack! Now that’s prowess! Your dog may not be so graceful, so remember to collect the eggs regularly - especially if your canine is free ranging.
Intelligent Creatures Flock Towards One Another
One only needs to spend some time in the company of chickens and dogs to recognize that they are quite the intellectuals! Their capacity for learning is amazing (as long as their stubbornness doesn't get in the way) Frisky dogs and their unlikely yet, friendly feathery counterparts have the awesome ability to recognize and respond to their names, count and understand the concept of zero, differentiate between colours, ace agility courses, get tricky for treats, communicate amongst themselves, and will warn pack-mates and flock-mates of impending danger. Wow!
Personality is Everything
Opposites attract! Well, chickens and dogs do make quite the odd couple don’t they? Even though they’re opposite in more ways than one physically, they’re quite compatible personality wise. These feathery furry versions of the odd couple make the best of friends that stand the test of time, time and time again. Why? Because personality is everything! And, the similarities between dogs and chooks are uncanny. They love to socialise, they can be a bit mischievous at times, plus they love to interact with their human owners. Dogs are daringly drawn to dirt, anywhere, anytime-makes no matter if it’s wet messy muddy dirt, they’re drawn to it. And, chickens as we know are cleaning preening machines. Well, you know what they say, opposites attract!
Dogs by design, want to please their masters - loyal animals that they are. So, when you make the time and effort to train your canine companion, pleasing you will be second nature. And, nothing would please a backyard chicken keeper more than for their furry and feathery friends to befriend each other!
The fact that chickens are prey animals can be an issue; however, with time, patience, and consistent training, most dogs can learn to interact in a civil manner with their feathery siblings! Chickens may be cautious, at first glance, of the odd looking four legged furry thing roaming about their backyard, but in time your chooks will come to accept their funny looking four legged furry siblings.
Read Some Real Stories For Yourself
We can talk all we want about all the reasons why dogs and chickens make great friends, but the proof is in the pudding…
Here are some true stories from some of our readers who have successfully trained their dogs and chickens to live peacefully together - some have even become best friends.
Gypsy (Border Collie x Cattle) and Stitch the chicken
- From Elleisha Mackenzie-France
[Gypsy] use to help [Stitch] get around the yard and direct her to water and then her bed at night. Our dog Gyspy gets along with all our household pets but this chicken (stitch) was her best friend. Obedience training definitely amd raising the dog around all animals. Gypsy wasn't raised around birds she was raised with cats and rats. She actually loves chasing birds at our local park but she has had obedience training and understand no means no and after telling her no like once she was good with them enough that we never feared leaving her alone with them.”
Roxy (Cattle x Mastiff), Molly (Kelpie x Cooli) and 3 chickens
- From Kate Green
We trained [the dogs] slowly to make it their responsibility to look after the chickens. We started by keeping them on a lead and taking them outside with the chickens in slow bursts, and then rewarding them with praise when they did the right thing. That slowly progressed to off lead but still with our supervision and then short periods without our supervision and now, we could leave them out together all day and go out and there isn't a problem. They now associate the word 'chickens' with looking after and looking out for. We recently looked after my dad's conure parrot while he was in hospital and when we introduced the dogs, we told them 'chickens' and they were totally fine. If he squawked they would go running to make sure he was okay. So although a long process, once the behavior is learnt and maintained, it's with them for life.
Chickens and dogs really can make perfect pals - check out more stories about how our followers have trained furry friends from all shapes and sizes to share the same space with their chickens.
Many people also recommend keeping the chickens in a run for the first few months, so the chickens and dogs can observe each other without actually having physical contact. Our Taj Mahal and Penthouse coops both come with a run attached, and you can also buy a Mansion Run for our beautiful Mansion coop!
As chicken keepers, we all want a harmonious yard for both our feathered and furry frineds. As well as other pet problems, there are so many things to consider when becoming a chicken parent from health to nutrition. Many chicken keepers struggle to handle chicken health or behaviour issues, especially in the first few years of having a flock.
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