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Is It Safe For Dog Owners To Keep Chickens?

Posted by Steve Whitney on

Keeping chickens is so rewarding because they make great pets and you get lots of nice fresh eggs. But if you are a dog owner, it can be quite tricky. Your dog doesn’t understand that these chickens are part of the family too. They see them as prey that they can eat, and they may even think that they are helping you by bringing you a dead chicken. That doesn’t mean you can’t own chickens if you have a dog, but it does mean that you have to be careful and prepare your home and your pet in the right way before introducing chickens into the mix. These are some of the top tips to help you safely keep chickens if you have a dog.

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Make Sure Your Dog Is Well Trained

When you first introduce chickens, it’s likely that your dog will go for them. It’s important that your dog is well trained and they respond to the sit and wait command immediately, even in situations where they are distracted by something else. If you have trouble keeping them under control and they don’t listen to your commands, getting chickens may not be the best idea right now. Spend more time training them and making sure that they are well-behaved before getting some chickens or you will find it impossible to control them.

Build A Secure Coop

You will need a secure coop to stop your chickens from escaping and to stop your dog from getting at them. This great article will show you how to build a chicken coop out of pallets and you’ll need some fencing too, so your chickens have a safe area to roam around outside. Remember, dogs can be quite tenacious, so consider adding a few layers of fencing and make it tall, so the chickens can’t get out.

Introduce Them Gradually

Whenever you introduce a dog to new animals, whether it’s a cat or some chickens, you need to take it slowly. Your dog probably hasn’t seen chickens before so they will be very excitable. The chickens will be scared too and if they start flapping around, this can startle the dog and cause it to attack. So, make sure that you keep your dog on a very short lead and take them out into the garden with the chickens. Spend 10 minutes or so out there, reassuring your dog constantly. When they are quiet and calm around the chickens, give them a reward. If they get too overexcited, take them away for a while and try again later.

If you repeat this process a few times, your dog will become more relaxed around the chickens and they will soon lose interest in them. When you are confident that they can be around them without getting aggressive or overexcited, you can start letting them off the lead. Just make sure you monitor them closely.

If you follow these steps, it is possible to keep chickens in the garden when you have a dog. However, you need to take it slowly to avoid any disasters. 

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