Before we got chickens our neighbor had them and our dog killed a couple of them. When she killed the last one, my son took the dead chicken and flogged her with it. It worked and she's not bothered theirs or ours since. By the way, she herds our chicks, too!
Tony Hill wrote:When we got our box of 30 chicks, temps were in the 20's so we set them up under a heat lamp inside an x- large dog crate in the family room. I used a large piece of 1/2"x1/2" wire mesh to keep them in. Eventually, I separated the top and bottom of the dog crate to double the floor space. Our wonderful German Shepherd, "Katie" took a keen interest in the fast-growing chicks. I allowed her to sniff them, but growled warnings that she had BETTER be very gentle with them. Once a chick jump suddenly, and Katie lunged, and everyone yelled at her instantly, and after that, she got the message- These were to be protected!
Once I was confident that she understood, I would let a chick or two out to test her. She would watch them carefully, almost with amusement in her eye, and if they got too far, she would herd them back to their pen with her nose. GOOD GIRL!
When the weather started warming, we would take the chicks outdoors on warmer afternoons. When we opened the door, the chicks would all come tumbling out. Strangely, Katie would sniff and nudge each one of them with her nose, like she was counting them... Hmmm... interesting. They would run around, peeping, pecking, plucking grass, having a good time. When it was time to round them up, Katie followed the same routine, sniffing each one, almost as if she were counting them. This was going better than I'd hoped!
As they got bigger, Katie became their loyal protector. She keeps EVERYTHING away from the chickens. We have found several dead animals, who no doubt were heading toward the coop. A stray dog came in our yard, and she was okay with him, until he headed toward the coop. She blocked his path, lowered her head with an intense, deadly gaze in his eyes, and rumbled a low growl. He got the message, and WOW, that was kind of scary, even to me!
I am confident that Katie is the reason we have not lost even a single bird. All 30.
But recently, something disturbing has taken place. Since our chickens are truly free-range, they tend to hide eggs sometimes, and sometimes when we find them, they float in water. So my wife has gotten in the habit of breaking any suspect eggs into Katie's bowl, over her dog food. Of course, she loves this!
But then, a few weeks ago, we noticed that we were getting fewer eggs, and NO eggs in any of the spots on the ground. All at once, and not during a cold snap. Hmmmm.... Winter lay off?
The next day, my wife happened to look out, and she saw Katie head toward the gray box, that usually has 2 eggs in it every day. A moment later, she reappeared, and my wife called her. Katie came, but with a guilty look. "What are you doing?" my wife asked. Katie leaned down and placed a big brown egg at her feet. She had been hiding it in her mouth!
My wife was stunned! It was warm and completely undamaged. She wasn't sure if she should scold Katie or praise her. A real head-scratcher! I told her to praise her for bringing it inside. The next day, she watched Katie, and sure enough, she did it again. Now we are keeping her inside for the mornings, until we collect the eggs from the lower locations.
Last week, I found several dozen frozen, old eggs way up underneath a storage trailer. I dug them all out, and saved the good ones. I left the big pile out in the open, curious of what would happen.
That night, she ate about a dozen. The next night, she ate all the rest, except for one. WOW, that dog can suck down some eggs!
So it's official. We have an egg sucker. We know it's our fault for giving her raw eggs, but it is what it is.
Any suggestions of how to break her of this? I don't care about the eggs so much, but I don't want her to start getting a taste for the SOURCE of the eggs! A chicken-killing dog is very hard or even impossible to break, I already know from hard experience as a youth.