Introducing Dogs to Chickens!

Introducing dogs to chickens

Dogs and cats and chickens and goats, oh my! We are turning into quite the petting zoo on our pocket farm. (I am trying to add a pig to the mix. Just a teeny, tiny one. So far, mom and the hubs are NOT on board. Although, Mom found a tin garden art pig she said she would add. Soooo not what I wanted.)

Anyway, we had the dogs and cats first. Then came Chicken Little followed by 3 goats, and then more chicks. I sought advice regarding dog introductions from friends and family who had already grown their little farms. Did everyone get along? Were there particular challenges to watch out for? Which ones seemed to have the best bond? How did you introduce them? Just, you know, ALL the questions.

*The introductions really need to be gradual, and well controlled. In fact, keeping the dog leashed for this, is probably your best bet. This may take a few weeks and several introductions.

*Observe the behavior of all the animals involved. Plan your integration accordingly.

*It is perfectly fine to keep them separate a tad bit longer than you planned. As long as you consistently keep introducing them until they’re friends!

*Also note: Don’t let the doggos eat chicken poo. It can make them sick.

The dogs were my primary concern. We have 2 little 10 pounder terrier mixes, and 1 lab/wolfhound mix that hits the scales at 115 lbs. I know he sounds scary big, but actually, he is a gentle giant and he RARELY flexes at anything. He can see trouble coming from a mile away though, so he is excellent at protecting. The terriers? They like to be loud and obnoxious but that’s about it. Still, size and/or crazy barking can be stressful for the rest of the farm.

What we did, is individually walk the dogs out to the closed coop run. We took our time walking them out, and let them sniff at chicken through the fencing a bit. Same with the goats. And we did this several times. We are not at the point of turning the dogs loose in the same space as the goats and chickens yet, but we are getting there. The big guy anyway. We’ll see how the terriers behave a bit later down the road.

We’ve got some great tips here for dog intros. As always, we will continue to share info for happy chickens! Maybe with their goat friends…or dogs…and if the chicks (and myself) are lucky, piglet additions.

Happy tendering friends!

Rachel Hutchins
Rachel Hutchins
The Chicken Bawks Copyeditor. Believer. Seeker. Mom. Wife. New Grandma! Crazy Kansas City Chiefs Fan. And of course, Chicken Tender.

June 14, 2023

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