• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

dog eating chicken  RSS feed

 
trinda storey
Posts: 128
Location: kent, washington
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hello
i got a 1 yr old border collie blue healer mix about 5 months ago, he has seemed to do well with chickens. just herding them into their pin and watching them, however today my husband found him eating one of our chickens when he got home.

anyone out there had experience with this? is there hope or will he always be after my chickens. once they taste blood?
 
Drew Moffatt
Posts: 129
Location: New Zealand
6
food preservation goat hunting
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I discourage my hunting and sheep dogs from even looking at any animal that isn't their specialty, pig dogs get a hiding as pups when they touch sheep as I can't afford for them to go killing someone's sheep or wild goats or even chasing deer. It starts as curiosity, then a little chase and maybe a nip then biting and finally after a while they kill the toy. Got to nip it in the bud.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1273
138
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes unfortunately we have had had this issue. the answer for us was simple, the dog was shot on the spot and I say so now without apologies. We are a commercial farm and cannot afford livestock losses or injuries.

Myself I do not give problematic animals away to others. This applies to rams that like to ram us, donkeys gone wild, or roosters that chase. I just won't do it. Injuries are just too expensive to heal up from hospitalizations, and so a $150 sheep, or even $600 dog pales in comparison to $37,000 knee surgery. I am not going to pass that on to someone else. Now granted a dog is a bit different in that for some they are pets and some people do not have livestock so they can do well, but can you ever really trust them around people if they cannot control themselves around livestock. It is a huge liability I do not want.

Some people like me can put their own animals down, and some cannot. I fault no one for that, but dead is dead and it does not bother me. If it does however, there are vets that will do it for a fee and like a gunshot, is humane. The key is being humane about it.

 
Belinda Roadley
Posts: 23
Location: Southern NSW Australia
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My mum grew up on a farm that had a big pack of farm dogs. The pack typically ignored the poultry (at the time, chickens, turkeys, and a few geese). In fact, not a single bird was lost to the dogs for years. One day, mum comes home to find the dogs have murdered every bird in sight, and chomping away happily. Thankfully, the birds weren't their main income. They didn't have birds after that.

Even the most well behaved dog can go after chooks. All it takes is for them to be stimulated or in prey mode at the same time a bird gets startled and freaks out over something. It's possible that your dog was already on the verge to going after those chickens (watching intently, herding behaviour, etc). Perhaps a low-flying bird spooked the chickens and set puppy over the edge.

My dog is okay around my adult chickens (because, frankly, the birds are bigger than her), but I wouldn't trust her unsupervised. As long as the birds are calm, she's fine, but if they get spooked, she instantly wants to get them (she's taken out a wild bird in the past). I'd recommend you keep a fence of some description between your dog and your chickens, and only let them get closer when you're present to praise (when he ignores) or stop (when he pays too much attention) behaviour.

Of course, if you're not attached to your dog, maybe he could move on to a new family? It's a lot easier to prevent an incident when they haven't discovered how great those fluffy toys taste.
 
Annie Sires
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We cull for attitude. I've trained the dogs to not touch the birds but I never let them loose to try it.  Dogs are predators.  The reason herding dogs work so well is they have high prey drive... the instinct to hunt certain types of prey.  My German Shepherd Dog, my Bassett and my Rat Terrier all have high predatory drive.  They aren't let alone ... ever... with the stock unless the stock is securely fenced away from them.  I'm in an area that backs up to a Native American property with lots of predators.  As far as I'm concerned, dogs are better than coyotes but have many of the same drives.  I have lost many birds to predators and many animals to dogs.  We had a neighbor that had two big dogs, a lab and a pit bull (yes, I know that's not the actual breed) and we lost several animals to them... until I told them that I was sorry, but the next time I saw their dogs I was going to shoot the dog because they were killing small animals and harassing the larger livestock.  I was very sorry, but that was the way it had to be.  Livestock are a protected commodity in the US for the most part. 

You make a choice:  Train and don't trust, or don't have in order to eat what is much healthier than what's in the store.
 
John Weiland
Posts: 940
Location: RRV of da Nort
43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just another view.  We have 5 dogs now with another having passed on recently.  Four of them are Anatolian shepherds, one was advertised as such but clearly is a Plott hound 'junk-yawd-dawg', and the other is a little 'doggy of divorce' terrier that we took in cuz those separating couldn't be bothered.   The free ranging chickens have waxed and waned in numbers with the years, seasons, and the vagaries of the local predators, including which phase of development any of the dogs are in.  So during their early years, all of the Anatolians seemed to snack on chickies....not adults, just eggs and "post-eggs".  But like many Anatolians in their native land, they are not left unattended for anything more than a few hours each week....would not really want to test that.  In the meantime, with training and aging, all of these dogs have out-grown their chicken palate.  The Plottie and the terrier were a quick study from our reprimands that chickies/chickens were off-limits.  The benefit of those dogs in chasing away anything from coyote, fox, and raccoon to even raptors has been almost too strong--the chicken population boomed and now it's of no consequence to lose a bird or two that wanders past the perimeter fence.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Depends on the dog probably. We have one that's never stopped the killing. Another that killed a disabled bird once and hasn't touched any others. I've never been able to cure the one. I just don't let him around the birds.
 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
Posts: 1346
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
94
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tie the carcass around the dog's collar, and let the dog suffer with that form of scolding for a few days.  That is often enough to get the point across.  When I saw your thread title, I was wondering what sort of chicken breed you had that it was eating dogs.  Ha Ha.
 
Annie Sires
Posts: 15
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Roberto pokachinni wrote:Tie the carcass around the dog's collar, and let the dog suffer with that form of scolding for a few days.  That is often enough to get the point across.  When I saw your thread title, I was wondering what sort of chicken breed you had that it was eating dogs.  Ha Ha.


As a dog trainer with 30 years of experience... this really is an ineffective way to train a dog.  If you want to attempt to train a dog that has eaten a bird, you must make the reward stronger than the reward of killing/eating the chicken.  So, yes, you can train a dog to not kill chickens, but you have to repeat and repeat 4000 times (study showing how long it takes a dog to really get it... and no I don't have the study right in front of me).  You will have to start simple and then add distance and distraction.  Most people aren't willing to do the work involved in order to train the dog to be 100% safe around birds.

That being said, if you want more specific advice on the training, moose me and I will talk to you off line.
 
Wes Hunter
Posts: 314
Location: Missouri Ozarks
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A dog eating a chicken isn't necessarily a problem; the problem is a dog killing a chicken.  I'm assuming you don't know if the dog killed the chicken or just feasted on an already dead bird.  If the bird was already dead, there's no reason to assume the dog will have developed some sort of blood lust.  Our dog eats dead chickens (predator kills), but she doesn't kill them.

That said, she used to kill chickens.  I broke her of it after following her around and shooting her with a BB gun whenever she started going after the birds.  She learned quickly.  I had previously tried all manner of tying/wiring the dead birds to her, beating her with the dead birds, and she didn't care a bit.  But getting stung a handful of times with the BB gun did the trick.

Dogs tend to kill multiple birds at once, out of fun primarily, so the fact that your dog was eating a single chicken leads me to believe that the bird was already dead, and the dog merely took advantage.  Keep an eye on him, make sure he knows those are "your" chickens, and you may be just fine.  But even if he did kill it, the problem can be fixed quite quickly.
 
Annie Sires
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a dog trainer I have to say that shooting a dog is not on my recommended list of training tools... Just sayin'.
 
Wes Hunter
Posts: 314
Location: Missouri Ozarks
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Annie Sires wrote:As a dog trainer I have to say that shooting a dog is not on my recommended list of training tools... Just sayin'.


Doubtless it isn't, but it worked a charm.  I'm not even necessarily recommending it, just reporting something that worked.
 
C. Hunter
Posts: 118
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you're going to use the 'follow around and correct every time the dog makes a bad move', an e-collar is a MUCH safer option. (And the method will work, it's just a matter of doing it long enough to make it stick, honestly.)
 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
Posts: 1346
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
94
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a dog trainer with 30 years of experience... this really is an ineffective way to train a dog.  
  Not so.  It was quite effective for friends of mine.  It might not be the most friendly, but neither is the dog going after the family's food chickens, which it never did again.  The dog/human relationship is wounded for the short term of the carcass being around the dogs neck and the initial scolding, but if the owner and the dog have a real relationship in the first place, the dog and the human will heal this wound, and go on in trust.
 
C. Hunter
Posts: 118
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How does having it's own personal source of disgusting rotting necklace make a dog reconsider it's relationship with humans? Most dogs would consider this a benefit, not a deterrent?
 
Virginia Ratliff
Posts: 43
Location: Bartow County GA
2
chicken duck rabbit
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have 2 blue heelers and a dalmation/lab mix, they are all over 2 years old. I have rabbits and ducks and chickens...I have lost one rabbit and 2 ducks to the dogs...they "play" them to death. The rabbit got loose and the dalmation brought her to me...after it was played to death...my immediate reaction was pretty much blood curdling...she dropped that rabbit and hasn't "caught" another one (It was a favorite rabbit...and a human had left the door to its cage open.) My male heeler given a chance chases the smaller birds and holds them down...I have lost 2 ducks to him. The chickens are pretty aggressive and I haven't lost any of them. In my experience...even the best trained dog will go after perceived prey if the motivation and the mood are just right. So, I pretty much do not leave my dogs unattended with the birds. Because a dog is a prey animal and a bird can be fun to chase! Even if they do not eat them...they can "play" them to death. I wish you luck...and IMHO...tying a dead animal around the neck for days could set you up for some pretty disgusting infestations around the decomposition of that body. And, my dogs would just LOVE to be rolled in dead rotten stuff! They roll around in every foul smelling pile of everything they can find now.
 
Wes Hunter
Posts: 314
Location: Missouri Ozarks
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
C. Hunter wrote:How does having it's own personal source of disgusting rotting necklace make a dog reconsider it's relationship with humans? Most dogs would consider this a benefit, not a deterrent?


Benefit, indeed.  We tried multiple iterations of the dead-chicken-on-the-neck thing, and she only ever saw it as a treat, a handy snack.  Putting the carcass in a plastic sack didn't work.  Wrapping it in wire (to prevent it being eaten) didn't work.  Trying to attach it to her collar so that it stayed behind her head, rather than drooping under her jaw, didn't work.

I question the usefulness of this technique, even if it did work.  Assuming the dead bird can be left uneaten long enough to get rotten, and assuming this would turn the dog off (both big assumptions), wouldn't the dog just learn to dislike dead chickens?  I don't see how this would deter a dog from killing a chicken, since an undead chicken is decidedly different than a dead one, and a dog afraid of a dead chicken has no particular reason to be afraid of a squawking, flapping one (until the dog catches it and kills it).

Besides, we don't want our dog to fear or avoid chickens, living or dead.  We want, rather, our dog to fear chasing and attacking chickens, to know that doing so results in unpleasant consequences (such as getting stung by a BB).  It isn't the chickens themselves that are off limits, it's the behavior that leads to dead chickens.  I can't remember how long we struggled with intermittent chicken killings, but it was a while.  Within a week of starting the BB treatment, she was cured.  She'll still chase birds around occasionally, but it's always playful, never aggressive, and we haven't had a dog-killed chicken in probably two years.  A shock collar would surely work just as well, but the BB gun was cheaper (and we had it already, anyway).
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!