Thoughts on dogs and chickens

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Sandrine
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Thoughts on dogs and chickens

Post by Sandrine » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:14 am

Can I have your thoughts on dogs and chickens / bantams please? Do you have both and which breeds?
Which breed seems to be ok generally with poultry? I am hoping to get a rough collie. Anyone on here who's had experience of this breed or other types of collies with their poultry?
Thanks
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Hen-Gen
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Re: Thoughts on dogs and chickens

Post by Hen-Gen » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:55 am

I have a Working Sheepdog. She used to move towards the hens but after half a dozen sharp “no’s” she learnt not to. What is important is that you train your puppy to come to hand when called. This is done with reward training. Food is good but making a fuss of the puppy when it complies works better.
Having said that, there is no dog that is 100% trustworthy. Anything can trigger the hunt instinct at any time. So I would certainly never ever leave the dog alone with the hens anymore than I would with a small child.
Clearly different breeds of dogs have been selected for the exaggeration of particular traits. Collies to herd, terriers to kill, sight hounds to chase etc. But training is by far the most important thing. If you have some sort of run for the training period so that should your pup lose control and run at the hens he will not be able to harm them.
And now the controversial bit. Aversion training. Hitting a dog is both cruel and ineffective. However grabbing a disobedient dog by the scruff, pushing it flat to the ground and firmly saying no mimics the behaviour of its mother and gets the idea across with neither pain nor fear. With my terriers this was an effective method. Despite their small size terriers can be very difficult to get top side of. Reward training is completely ineffective.
Some dogs, whatever the breed can be difficult and self willed. Some eager to please and others aloof. It is important to know your puppies individual traits and behave accordingly. Though having owned neither breed I would imagine that a King Charles Spaniel and a Siberian Husky would be at the polar opposites.
Margaid
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Re: Thoughts on dogs and chickens

Post by Margaid » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:59 am

I've never owned a dog but that is such brilliant advice Hen-Gen.

I once visited a farm where there was a "chicken dog" - a collie that had been trained to round up the young cockerels being bred for the table to stop them straying too far ...
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chrismahon
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Re: Thoughts on dogs and chickens

Post by chrismahon » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:24 pm

Heard of a Rottweiler that wouldn't let anyone near the chickens, including the owners.

Our terrier showed some interest in the TNN free-ranging hens but lost interest when she was shouted at. "LEAVE IT" works well. However a few times a hen has spooked, flown past her and she has gone towards it- fortunately we were around.

Not sure any dog can be completely trusted. We had a large hunting dog go past here accompanied by two horse people. The dog came straight into our garden and went for the TNN's. I rushed at it and the owners called it off.

Someone we know here had a tradesman arrive to work next door. He let his dog out of the van and it promptly jumped the fence and killed their 4 hens on the lawn!

Stray hunting dogs are a far bigger threat here to chickens than foxes.
bigyetiman
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Re: Thoughts on dogs and chickens

Post by bigyetiman » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:59 pm

Our neighbour has 2 Labradors, Border Collie, Airedale, and her farm hand has 2 Border Terriers all once trained have been fine with the hens, the Airedale didn't need training as it wasn't bothered with the hens from the word go. If anyone turns up for eggs or meat with a dog in tow. She tells them firmly to leave it in the car, or if they are on foot, she makes sure they have it on a lead or she will shut the hens up first
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Hen-Gen
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Re: Thoughts on dogs and chickens

Post by Hen-Gen » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:21 pm

Oh for well trained dogs. But every dog is well trained to the day it isn’t. This was really brought home to me twice three years ago.
1) A crofting neighbour has a bunch of collies but bought a Border Terrier as a dog for his son. All was well until one day it jumped a fence and tore the face off a lamb.
2) A seemingly friendly Staffie savaged a Sheep despite having shown no interest up to this point.

I recount these tales not to contradict others but to show that all dogs are descended from wolves and given the right triggers can revert.
One often sees elderly ladies walking West Highland White Terriers looking like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. Yet take it to a place where rats or rabbits abound and slip it’s lead. The transformation from docile pet to efficient killer is immediate. My own current dog is the most subordinate and tractable dog I’ve ever owned. But I wouldn’t trust her one jot in a tempting situation.
Years ago I minded a Miniature Wirehaired Dachsund for a friend. Over the course of two weeks under the influence of my Weimaraners it transformed from an indolent couch potato into a hunting fiend. It surpassed any Terrier I’ve ever owned and it was good luck that I never lost her in a field drain or a rabbit burrow. In fact I’ve mused about getting one myself until I read how riddled with congenital defects they are. But that’s another obsession of mine!
Honest ....(breeder Mr M Cooper is me).
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chrismahon
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Re: Thoughts on dogs and chickens

Post by chrismahon » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:52 pm

Descended from wolves becomes very obvious when you start singing- they will join in immediately to remain part of the pack. As said, they can turn for no apparent reason and can never be trusted.

One of my customers had a 'harmless' Staffie- the farmer who rented the neighbouring field let his lambs into it and the dog immediately ripped the face off one which was eventually destroyed. Very distressing as the lamb couldn't be caught and had to be shot from a distance, which needed someone to arrive with the appropriate equipment- I was there.

Whilst we have a lovely friendly rescue dog (after a lot of patience) I wouldn't hesitate to 'lose' her if she turned nasty. We wouldn't have another dog.
Sandrine
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Re: Thoughts on dogs and chickens

Post by Sandrine » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:57 am

Oh wow thank you all for your responses!
So training and supervision required... Which is about what I expected.
The rescue rough collie I was looking at is 3 years old. I will definitely read up on training him. I would definitely not leave the dog and hens loose in the garden if I wasn't in the garden too. Even now since a fix caught two of my hens in the middle of the day whilst my husband just stepped in the house for a couple minutes. So if they're out roaming, we potter around the garden too.
Thank you again
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