keeping chickens out of dog food : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Here's a challenge for you. What can dogs and cats do that chickens can't? That's what I've been asking myself lately as I try to figure out a way to keep food out for the dogs and cats but keep the chickens from eating it all. We have the food on our sun porch with a dog door cut into the wall. Every day when the chickens get let out they immediately make a mad dash for the doggie door, and I have to spend the rest of the day chasing them off the porch. (what a mess they make!) I've tried closing off the dog door with a piece of plywood that is too heavy for the chickens but light enough for the rest of the animals to move, no dice. Either the kittens get stuck in or out or the chickens piggyback on the cats as they enter. They are very determined!

I'm waiting with bated breath for the answers to this one!

Merry Christmas,

-- chuck in md (, December 24, 2001


How about those magnetic pet doors? Maybe while the dogs and cats could push hard enough with their heads to open it, the chickens couldn't?

I am pretty sure I have also seen pet doors with which the animals had to wear the "right" collar in order to get thru...


-- Tracy (, December 25, 2001.

Taking a deep breath... answering gently.

Why 'leave food out' for the animals? Put breakfast down. If they don't eat it in a reasonably short amount of time, pick it up. Same with dinner. They will learn quickly, and this will eliminate the lure for the chickens.

Or.... a small chicken fence that keeps the clucks away from the area.

Or.... a chicken yard that keeps them safe from predators and off areas where humans normally traverse. Thus eliminating chicken poo on shoes, cars, outdoor furniture, etc.

-- Rose (, December 25, 2001.

That's the right answer, I think. Dogs and cats don't need food available all the time. They will learn in one or two days, without suffering, to come as soon as you call, eat their food, and wait for next feeding.

-- Dianne Wood (, December 25, 2001.

Dang Chuck, a cute face like yours and "bat" breath? What a shame! Vicki :)

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, December 25, 2001.

Not every animal does well with being fed once or twice a day. We used to have a dog that would never eat more than a few bites at a time regardless of how hungry she was. We tried putting up the food for a few hours at a time, but she would get so hungry she would eat rocks and make herself sick- just because she did not have access to the food dish for only a few hours! We finally gave up after a few weeks. For the dog we have now, we put out a proper sized meal, and when it's gone it's gone. Not every dog is alike, just like not every person is alike. You probably wouldn't want to fuss over livestock in this manner, but most dogs and cats are companion animals even if they are also usefull.

My own dog chases the rabbits out of the vegetable garden, digs up and kill the moles, keeps the racoons from bothering the poultry (The people behind us lost most of three flocks in 10 years, we rarely lose more than two birds a year), and will go out and find any lost birds when I ask him to but his primary job is to allow the kids to fuss over him and to keep me company. He is a busy animal, and I don't want him to be uncomfortable because he doesn't want eat a full days meal in one sitting. This is not a matter for "deep breathing", people do things for their friends- two footed or four footed- that they will not do for their livestock. If chuck in md wishes to keep food out for his cats and kittens, that is his choice. He just wants to feed his chickens a cheaper and better balanced diet than cat food!

-- Terri (, December 25, 2001.

"...deep breath" ?...hmmmmm when my flock was free ranging during the summer and chasing hoppers I finally just had to shut the door to keep a persistent rooster out of the house. my house animals eat free choice but do so inside. I vote for the magnetic door idea Tracy mentioned. I had one of those when we lived in town and it worked great. The critter with a key (magnet on the collar)comes and goes at will but others are left in the cold. others in my case were big tom cats and a gang of raccoons. downside is the doors are pricey. I'm still watching for the answer to your original question: dogs can-chickens can't? and the on-the- cheap homestead solution.

-- B. Lackie (, December 26, 2001.

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