When we moved to Salt Spring 2 (plus) years ago we brought along our two city springer spaniels. Our male was always a little “on edge” in the city, but as soon as he had space to run, he started to find his balance.
And then we got chickens, and that kind of threw him off a bit.
I had admired how friends of ours had their dog & chickens coexisting, and was desperate for the same, but our city hound just couldn’t deal with the flapping, scratching and “food” supply at the ready.
He would run to the coop, barking at the fencing, chasing back and forth in a frenzy. We rarely let the chickens range freely on the property in fear of our “wolf” munching them.
When we moved to the new property, and the “chicken yard” was smaller, we knew it was time to get the dog chicken friendly.
Months of work, keeping him on lead, and then verbally by our side and eventually just trusting him, we have a spaniel who doesn’t give two toots about these fussy fowl.
Tossing him the occasional egg from the coop probably helped him understand their benefit as well 🙂
When the hens get extra excited we notice the dog “look away” and can almost read his mind as he tells himself “Don’t eat them, don’t eat them”
Our roosters are still aware of his presence and will warn the ladies when he comes bounding down the hill, but I also truly believe that animals (especially prey animals like chickens) can sense danger. And after watching one of our old brown hens muscle in on a broken egg the dog was eating, I am thinking that he is no threat at all.
Having him among the fowl helps keep the real predators at bay, and is a much better way to spend his day than being locked inside while the hens range on the property.
It took months of work, and ALOT of trust, but we are thrilled with our city turned farm dog. And as my daughter says, he is like Edward, the Vampire, coexisting with humans! Our pup has found a way to hang around a “food source” without having to take a bite.