Many of you know that I have backyard chickens and dogs. People all over the country are jumping on the backyard chicken bandwagon. It’s crazy! I didn’t begin this journey with the intention of getting chickens. I didn’t. They were a cruel prank.
A friend brought over a baby chick while we were out. I fell in love. The rest, as they say, is history. But how did we handle the backyard chickens and dogs?
I was a little terrified, to be honest. Flash and Patches love to hunt and kill rodents. They zero in on anything that moves. The chickens fascinated them. I could see the blood lust in their eyes.
But when it came down to the safety of the backyard chickens, I was pleased that my dogs were so easy to train. We kept a fence between them and were outside with all of them for long stretches, reprimanding the dogs any time they got close or looked to be stalking the chickens. Eventually we let them out together, me with the backyard chickens cradled in my arms or next to me on the ground. I’m pretty sure Hunny stood ready with the hose, squirting and saying no. It was a success.
I can now leave the dogs out with the girls for hours, no harm at all. But then we got Chewy.
I thought I knew everything. I thought training the dog to stay away from my backyard chickens would be a snap, especially such a brilliant dog as little Chewy. But I made all the classic mistakes. So I’m here to warn you – don’t think you know everything until you do.
First mistake – thinking Chewy was playing with Jimmy the Duck. He probably was, but it escalated. Jimmy being such an ornery duck, biting Chewy every chance he got, probably didn’t help any.
Mistake two, thinking Chewy wouldn’t bother the backyard chickens, since they didn’t bite back the way Jimmy did. Heh. Nope. Chewy thought they were so much fun to chase!
Mistake three, thinking Chewy was just playing this whole time, that he wouldn’t hurt the chickens. *sigh* I’m a special kind of stupid, you know?
So the moral of this story about backyard chickens and dogs is this –
Keep the chickens and dogs separate from the start.
Begin training from day one.
Take your time training and trusting.
And DOGS ARE DOGS. If it looks like they’re playing, too bad. Don’t trust them.
Oh, one other thing? If you’re thinking of getting your own backyard chickens, or already have them, they really do like meat. My girls love Jones Chicken Taffy. It’s one of their favorite treats. Seriously.
Until I write again …