Getting chickens and a dog for the first time!

(13 Posts)
castlelough Sun 28-Oct-12 10:05:08

We are still renting, while we slowly build our house. But I'm hoping that by May we should be in it, and the first thing I'd like to do is get some chickens and also a dog!
So I'm just looking for a little advice...
Would it be better to have the chickens established BEFORE getting a puppy, from the point of view of the puppy and how it will behave around chickens?
Do you think there are some breeds of dogs that aren't safe/trustworthy around hens?

I would love to get some ex-batt hens. Is it okay to get some and keep them together with other non-ex-batt hens or would they be
bullied?

Are ex-batt hens best left to experienced owners?

Hope someone can advise!

I think it depends entirely on the dog's nature so some breeds may be better than others. We had chickens before we got the puppy but she's a 'chaser' so we can't let chickens roam in the garden any more. She also likes running at the chicken run to make them flap about which we can't seem to train out of her. The chickens don't mind her just being there though, it's the running at them they don't like. If she puts her nose to the fence they will on occasion come and peck her which is quite amusing. I think though if you can get the timing to work out I'd get the chickens before you get the puppy then you can start the training immediately (not that it helped us).

Can't help with ex-batt hens though but someone will come along who can smile

mummymeister Sun 28-Oct-12 22:38:18

tbh you have to be very lucky to get a breed of dog/ an individual dog that can be fully trusted around chickens. you just never can tell and sometimes when they get a bit excited they will chase and distress the chickens to such a point that they will not lay which rather defeats the point of having them!! I think that you have to perhaps get the dog first and let it settle to see what it is like around other animals but be prepared not to have both.

hmc Sun 28-Oct-12 22:46:17

My Bernese Mountain Dog - a very placid and sloppy, loving dog around people, happily separated our cockerel's head from it's body

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Sun 28-Oct-12 22:50:34

shock

Dunno. My spaniel would love some chickens. He is not having any.

Ex battery chickens would be happy to be anywhere probably.

I think if you want ex-batts you should probably get them first and allow them to recover before getting 'normal' hens - ex-batts are pretty oven ready and need time to recover, regrow feathers and generally learn to be a chicken again.

Hens have to establish a pecking order, and ex-batts are unlikely to be friends even if they come from the same farm. Ex-batts are pretty feisty - theyve had to survive a lot. Adding young nervous point of lay chooks to ex-batts still settling down would be pretty stressful for all parties.

We had ex batts first then introduced a couple of point of lay hybrids after 6 months, and it was fine.

Alternatively you could have two coops and then introduce the two flocks gradually.

No idea on dogs, sorry, but the chickens keep my cats in ordergrin

RonettePulaski Sun 28-Oct-12 22:55:07

Our ex batts terrorise our dog, they've ganged up and attacked her a few times and she's had to be hoiked out if the melee

She is very small though, a minature dachshund. She takes off after deer but ex batts are thugs and she's no match for them

We were first time chicken keepers when we got them. They were in a pretty sorry state and its just wonderful to see them blossom. It was a bit hairy to start with while they established their pecking order, having no feathers they damaged each other but we got through it and noe they are fat and happy. It's great to see. Look on the British hen welfare trust site for more info. I'm happy to tell you more but must b to bed now smile

castlelough Mon 29-Oct-12 12:00:49

Thanks for all the replies!
It seems it might be a good idea to get the hens first (or at least while the dog is still a puppy!).
Ronette that sounds very rewarding! I will look up their website! :-)

marmiteandhoney Thu 10-Jan-13 20:49:35

We don't have the dog out while the chickens are out. The dog goes out in the garden first thing, then is lured back in with the promise of breakfast. Then I let out the chooks. They have the run of the garden for the day, then are lured back to their run with the promise of layers pellets. The dog then gets the garden again.

Seems to work!

On the odd occasion it's broken down, the dog chases the chickens all over the place. I'm not convinced it would really go further (the chickens would probably gang up and peck her into submission), but I'm not about to risk it.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Thu 10-Jan-13 20:57:44

When I was training my dog a friend of mine took us to a chicken farm. (Free range, btw). We opened the barn door and went in, dog on lead, and sat him up amongst about five hundred chickens. He just froze. He had never seen so many birds in his life and just did not know what to do. He has never attempted to chase one, ever. Came in useful, we pick up on pheasant shoots, and I think so many birds just scared him off them. Wil pick up a dead one no problem but completely ignores live birds. Probably afraid they're suddenly going to multiply and he'd drown in a sea of birds. grin

LittleB Sat 12-Jan-13 20:10:44

My retriever was fine when the chickens were out of their run, although I never left him alone with them, but when I went in their run with them to feed them and handle them he used to get jealous and jump about barking - I think its because I used the same voice with them as I did him! I just wouldn't leave them alone together. Probably depends how feisty your hens are too, if they'll chase off a dog that'll help, but if they run away they're bound to get chased!

BinarySolo Mon 25-Feb-13 08:44:55

I've got 2 springers and 3 ducks. I trust one of the dogs with the ducks but not the other. My ducks have a large heras fencing run at the top of our garden. Both dogs have been up there and surprisingly, both ignored the ducks. I still wouldn't leave them alone together tho.

We did go to one place where they used a jack Russell to help heard the ducks, so I don't think breed can be any guarantee of safety or aggression. I've seen collies herding ducks but I wouldn't let my friends well trained collies anywhere near my ducks!

We got out hens about 6 months ago. Our dog is a 2 yr old lurcher, i.e. the sort of dog you might think would be a chaser and worry the hens. Not a bit of it, she takes little notice of them. Quite a few of my friends have hens so I was fairly certain she she would be ok with them as she'd never bothered any of my friends hens either (whereas soppy soft Labrador of another friend has been known to kill the odd chicken). What I'm saying is its hard to tell. You might be best to get the chickens first. I think dogs are fine with most things that are part of their life from puppyhood - our dog and cat are best friends. Hens certainly terrorise the poor cat....

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