Dogs and chickens. They don't seem like obvious friends - but they certainly can be! With a bit of training and patience, these two animals can be peaceful in the same backyard - they can even become best buds. “Yes, yes - but this won’t be the case with my dog” we hear you say. “My dog is different, and will definitely eat the chickens!” Well, from Jack Russells to German Shepherds, we’ve seen the proof that any dog of all shapes and sizes can be housed in the same backyard and not be a threat towards their feathered friends - take it from some of our thousands of followers, readers, subscribers and customers who have kindly sent us in their stories and photos, and shared with us their tips and advice when it comes to keeping dogs and chickens together in the same household. We've done it ourselves with our own animals!
Regan Cooksley - Proud owner of a Kelpie x, 2 Neo Mastiff/American Bulldogs, 3 roosters and 14 chickens! (Plus a cat and 2 guinea pigs!)
Regan has quite the collection of animals on her hands! With not one, not two, but 3 dogs, 14 chickens and one beautiful cat.
1. Introducing the feathered to the furry
Regan decided that the safest option to introduce her animals would be for the dogs to meet the chickens through the safety of a run. This allowed the dogs to be inquisitive, without actually giving them physical access to the flock, in case they became too curious. “When we first got the chickens, our dogs were extremely inquisitive. We sat with them out by the chook run whilst we relaxed.” Regan then used the tried and tested tactic of praising for good behaviour, and punishing for bad behaviour in a way that her dogs were used to. “If they took a little too much interest in the chickens, eg. stared at them, or the dogs ears changed from a relaxed state, they were told a firm ‘no’. Also, they were praised for behaving well...conditioning the dogs to the environment.”
“When we first got the chickens, our dogs were extremely inquisitive. We sat with them out by the chook run whilst we relaxed.”
2. Letting the chickens free range
After a few weeks, Regan decided it was time to let the flock free range and see how the dogs dealt with it, using the same conditioning strategy as before. “When they came out to free range we watched the dogs closely for 2 weeks to see how they’d go...if one dog chased or showed any menacing behaviour they got put into the kennel immediately.”
“If one dog chased or showed any menacing behaviour they got put into the kennel immediately.”3. A harmonious backyard of feathered and furry animals
Regan knew what her dogs would respond to, and it has worked a treat. The dogs and the chickens can now free range together, even eat together! “We’ve had chickens for 6 months now without any feathers ruffled, and they can all share scraps and water together.”
“They can all share scraps and water together”
Top tips from Regan’s story:
- Praise and punish your dogs in the ways you know they react best to. Whether it’s a firm ‘no’, or putting them in the kennel, this situation is no different.
Dogs and chickens can certainly co-exist peacefully and become best friends, even protectors - if you need more help or are curious about the topic, check out our other articles on dogs and chickens on our Learning Centre. If you’re currently training your animals to co-exist with your chickens, please email through photos and share your stories - we love telling our followers about friendships between all animals - furry, feathered and fuzzy!
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