dogs that protect chickens? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I've heard of plenty of dogs that will protect sheep, but what about chickens?

Considering some of the other threads here about how to protect your poultry (and other animals) from neighbor dogs or coyotes, I think this could be a good solution.

I suspect a mix of breeds and some special training would be a big part.

Amazon lists a book on the subject, but it's out of print.

-- Paul Wheaton (, January 28, 2001


Great pyrenees have been used to guard both chickens and sheep. But bear in mind that they do like to have a large area to patrol, so if one has neighbors close by or hunters in area, the LGD (livestock guard dog) could be someones target. I believe they need about 6 acres to keep them at home. I did read recently, about a women raising guinea hens from chicks with her sheep and chickens. They bonded with the sheep and chickens, stayed with them on the pasture, came in with them at night, and were great early warning signs if anything came around. Occasionaly she would lose one or two. Kate in New York

-- kate henderson (, January 28, 2001.

My father-in-law had an Australian Shepherd/Collie mix that he raised around his chickens and that dog was the best chicken protector. When Rusty was a puppy, some big old hens that had chicks grabbed ahold of him and let him have it when they thought he was a bit too close to their babies. When Rusty was older, he became the protector of the chicks. Don't you dare get too close to those babies! He seemed to think that if anything happened to those chicks, those old hens would come after him again! LOL! He would lay in the chicken yard and let them hop all over him! This protection didn't stop when the chicks grew up to be adult chickens. If he saw two roosters fighting, he would run right between them to break it up. Pretty comical sight it was when they were mating and he thought they were fighting!

I've heard of other dogs being chicken protectors and if I remember right, they were all Australian Shepherds, collies or a similar "herding" breed of dog.

-- Wingnut (, January 28, 2001.

I have Aussies, and wish I could brag about their chicken-protecting talents, but I think this is a training thing. Rusty was taught at an early age, I'm sure, by that big red hen! My dogs, and most herding dogs, have natural instincts to move things around, and if it flaps, squawks, runs, etc, it's fair game. Even border collies working sheep are using their natural predator instincts. It's just been refined to the point that they can be called off the potential "kill" at the right time. Some dogs, no particular breed, will protect chickens within their territory, but might kill the same chickens the next day. Some dogs just aren't stimulated by the movement and noise, some are. It really depends on the individual and your training and patience.

-- melina b. (, January 28, 2001.

I can't brag about the breed as a whole but my male great pyr does protect the chickens. When one of my hen's hatches out a batch he follows them around and drives the poor mother crazy. We raise sheep and he is totally devoted to new lambs but is almost as devoted to the chicks. We laugh as he follows the mother around and acts like their protector. The mom's get so annoyed! Kim

-- kim (, January 28, 2001.

We use our Pyrenees to protect all of our poultry. They look out for chickens, guineas, ducks and geese. In addition they also watch our goats and cattle. As someone had stated earlier that this may not be for the whole breed. It would be important to work with your dog and get them used to the poultry as early as possible. It may help try to get a dog from working parents rather than show parents also.

-- Trisha-MN (, January 28, 2001.

We are sharing our farm with our second GP and I'm still not certain about the chicken thing. Our first one was a male whom we lost last year (another story.....we think he was poisoned). He was wonderful at helping me move my pasture poultry pens every day...seemed to know just how to scoot em up so they wouldnt get crushed.....and enjoyed the work. He'd also chase the hens (and guineas) into the barn at night when, according to his opinion, they werent paying attention to the coming darkness. So it appeared he was caring for them. However, there were lots of other times when I could never be sure what his real intentions were. Although I never ever actually caught him killing a bird, I many times happened on a suspicious situation.

Upon the evenings that we set aside to catch chickens and put them in crates in preparation for their final morning journey, he was always at hand. Oftentimes, as the art of chicken catching even within pasture poultry pens is wrought with unavoidable escapes, he was an escaped chicken catcher with no peer pun intended.....:).....

He caught the sucker in three seconds flat, and held it there betwixt his great front feet, never hurting a feather, and waited till we came to take it thankfully from him.

BUT...there were sometimes when I wondered if he wouldn't have loved to eat the dang thing if only we would go away. For instance, as we placed each chicken in the holding cages, he would often sorta snap at their legs. I can remember when loading lambs that he would exhibit a similar behaviour. If he got entry to the barn, he would delight in chasing the chickens relentlessly until he devined our scolding was serious. So I never truly trusted him with my animals, although he never really deserved my distrust.

The female we have now also loves to chase the birds in the barn,and will not stop until scolded. She exhibits the same snappy demeanor when we are loading birds, and although I have never actually seen her kill a chicken, I have on several occassions caught her with one between her paws that was in a state of shock, feathers wet and hopelessly ruffled.

JUst my experiences with my dear sweet Pyrs......I really do love them...

-- Earthmama (, January 28, 2001.

I've had lots of dogs of many different breeds, mixed and pure,the real secret to a dog protecting other animals is: 1st the dog does not see the animal as prey, such as having been raised with them, [including children] 2nd the dog recognizes the masters desire concerning the animals, as in lots of time/interaction with master. Many breeds have a natural protective drive, even little ones, herding dogs need reinforcement to not injure, when well brought up the instinct to "please master" is stronger than to "grab prey" the best training is to raise your puppy by taking it with you every where from the earliest age possible and lots of interaction with many types of animals watching and correcting any behavor that could cause injury [esp. the cute puppy stuff] if you seem pleased at cute behavor the puppy learns it is good to do, if an adult dog should not do it you must teach the puppy not to do it. and protect your puppy from any thing that frightens it just like mom would, all of mine [even some of my cats] would run to me in any kind of trouble, this works better than just barking at the problem.

-- Thumper (, January 29, 2001.

We just have a mixed breed dog who has been taught not to go after chickens. I wouldn't say that he protects them, but I think his presence in the yard deters most predators. We've lived at this location about 1 1/2 years now, our chickens are free range, and we have not lost one to predators (they are not even locked up at night).

Nancy in WV

-- Nancy in WV (, January 29, 2001.

I just read an article about using Anatolian Shepherds to guard poultry. Here's a link:

In case it's not hot, the address is

Go down the page to poultry and waterfowl resources and you'll see a link for Anatolian Shepherds.

Good Luck!

-- Kristin, in Central Alabama (, January 30, 2001.

Working farm collies can be chicken protectors, though, like any dog, they will need to be taught not to kill them, even if just from playing too rough. And, by the way, they are a herding breed as well as a protection breed, but don't seem to herd from a prey drive. It seems to be more a thing of knowing where those animals belong, and wanting to make sure that they stay there, or go back in there, or whatever. They are great at putting escapees back on their own, but don't harrass livestock if unsupervised (this may not apply to pups, but should apply to the adults). Since they are a dual-purpose breed (actually triple purpose, as they will usually also hunt), they can be very handy on a small farm. Behavior is like that described for the Aussie/collie cross mentioned above -- a good cross, by the way, to mellow the Aussie or Border Collie a little, and sharpen up the Collie.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, February 01, 2001.

It's a good thing I'm not a serious chook breeder. My border collie carries protection a bit far ~ when she hears a hen scream, she chases the roosters off the hen's backs!! -LOL-

-- ~Rogo (, February 02, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ