Dog and chicken question.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Surveyorwill, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Surveyorwill

    Surveyorwill Active Member

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    My DW has a Boarder Collie, he’s about 6 months old, been a great dog until Saturday.

    I got up to make coffee, looked out the kitchen widow and saw him dragging something through the yard, didn’t think much of it but went to the door to call him and say good morning. Then I noticed he had a chicken by the wing, I yelled at him he dropped it I spanked him told him NO and put him in with the other dogs. The chicken was ok, so later in the day we went out and our son stayed home, we told him to keep an eye on the dog. Sure enough, the dog got out and caught one of our bantams. Plucked a few feathers but the chick seems to be fine. I fixed the fence so dog can’t get out, DW calls me at work this morning and says he got out again, caught the other bantam, just about plucked her clean, and she probably won’t live.

    I know the remedies to try to cure a dog from going after the chickens, my question is: Is this common with Boarder Collies? Everything we have read suggest that they will herd the chickens not eat them or play with them to death. We wanted the dog to help in rounding them up, so is there any hope here, or do I need to make him never want anything to do with a chicken again?

    Thanks for your input, in advance.
     
  2. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    You need to train him. Period.

    Right now, he's doing what his instincts tell him to do- catch things and play with them. He's not TRYING to kill them, he just doesn't have a clue. You've got a puppy, not an adult dog, and I'm not sure if you've realized that what you read applies to trained dogs- not something they do naturally. (I swear dogs don't grow brains or a bit of sense until they're at least a year old...)

    Go back to basic obedience, work REALLY hard on sits and downs- especially downs. Get them to the point that you can yell DOWN and he'll down instantly, wherever he is. He's a border collie- this is WELL within his capability to learn, you just gotta teach it. Consistancy and patience will go a LONG way. BCs are NOT the easiest dogs to train despite their high intelligence.

    In the mean time, take him with you on a long-line, and allow him to move the chickens, but give a good hard correction if he starts to mouth 'em.

    I'm not an expert- I think ForMyACDs might be more help- bht that's what I'd do.


    Cait+ corgis
     

  3. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    I have two Australian Shepherds which are very similar in nature to Border Collies. Border Collies are a bit more high strung though, I have had one before. Puppies are especially energetic. With these herding breeds, the dogs have a very strong instinctual drive to nip and chase and perform their herding duties. They don't know the boundaries though of this behavior until it is taught. They are a very intelligent breed. The advice about the long leash is excellent. If the dog lunges out at the chickens, give the dog a tug that will flip him over. It won't damage the dog and will teach a valuble lesson. Be consistant. Dogs like Border Collies and Australian Shephers really need jobs. Mine are constantly watching the yard fence and making sure the cows don't graze too close, they watch the sky for buzzards and hawks and gladly and enthusiastically run them off. They make sure only the right cars turn in over our cattleguard. They are after varmints constantly. But they have learned to leave the livestock alone unless I direct them to herd or load something. It didn't happen overnight. If your pup keeps messing with the chicken, he may become a chicken killer and then there may be no turning back. Also, make sure the dog gets PLENTY of exercise each day. Mine run free and exhaust themselves each day. I have 2 Great Pyrenees pups, 4 months old, that are already body blocking the Aussies if they make a move towards chasing the Guineas (one Aussie enjoys doing this...just to see them fly but doesn't hurt them). My Aussies leave the chickens and ducks alone unless the poultry are fighting, then the male dog breaks up the fight gently and walks away with the birds unharmed. Good luck with your dog. You have an intelligent animal. Work with him.
     
  4. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a border collie. Herding behavior is modified stalking behavior. Given the chance, a collie will run every animal on the farm into the ground.

    You have a dog that was bred to work WITH you, not be kenneled all the time. He needs to be exercised both mentally and physically. You have provided both in the way of chickens.

    Take him to obedience classes, one that uses positive reinforcements, not choke chains. He needs to learn the command, "leave it". I worked on leave it the first day I had my puppy home, at 12 weeks of age. He put his nose on the coffee table, I said "leave it" in a normal tone of voice while placing my hand between his nose and the table. Treat when he looked at me. When he went to investigate the trash he discovered a paper towel doused in apple cider vinegar and me saying, leave it. Treat for looking away from trash. You get the idea. Another way of teaching leave it is to show him a treat in your hand and say, "take". Repeat this over and over. Then, show him the treat and say leave it as you close your hand. Open your other hand and give him a treat. You get the idea. Always use a normal tone of voice.

    Each morning, take him out on the long line. I prefer to use a harness as it won't come off and pulls better than a collar. Walk about fifty feet, then turn and walk in a different direction. Walk another fifty feet or so and walk in a different direction. Walk in triangles, rectangles, zig zags, whatever works for you. All this time, you are ignoring the dog, just zipping along as though he wasn't there. This teaches him to pay attention to you and gives him (and you) much needed exercise. After a week of this, start incorporating lessons into the long line work. When he shows interest in something, tell him "Rover, leave it" in a normal tone of voice, praise. Call him to you to heel, have him sit, etc. Always praise. Remember he's just a silly puppy. Repeat this in the evening. That's right, twice a day. Border collies have been bred to be able to work long hours. A tired dog is a good dog.

    Remember that dogs do not generalize. He doesn't know that "sit" in the living room means "sit" in the kitchen or the yard. Everywhere you go, rework him on the commands he knows.

    You shouldn't need to shout at your dog. They have excellent hearing, and a soft voice works well. Border collies are obedient dogs, but yours will be entering adolesence soon and will need to test you. Don't get angy.

    A Buster Cube or similar device will occupy his mind.
     
  5. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    We have a Catahoula Leopard Hound which is somewhat like a Border Collie to the nth degree :D Work 'em. Discipline 'em. Keep 'em busy. Don't let your collie get away with anything you do not find acceptable. I was at my wits end when my girl decided she was going to run my pigs cause it felt good to her. I read on a Catahoula site to shoot 'em with a pellet gun (she wouldn't respond to her electronic collar). Since I shot her -harmlessly- a couple of times to reinforce my commands she has been a much more companionable dog and she is helpful with the pigs - on command - once again. These dogs have a drive that is impossible to understand until you see them actually working. They are born to work. You have to channel that energy or that energy will channel you.
     
  6. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Border collies need a lot of time and training.
    I don't understand why you need chickens herded. I don't think I would trust any dog at that. It's easy to teach your chickens to come when called. And once they are used to roosting in a coop, they will return there at dusk. All you have to do is go close them up.
    mary
     
  7. cathyharrell

    cathyharrell Well-Known Member

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    I have had to teach every new dog I got, especially a puppy, not to bother the chickens. I just watched them all the time and fussed at them if they started to bother the chickens. They finally catch on that they aren't supposed to bother the chickens. You just have to stay on top of it all the time. I have sometimes popped them with a rolled up newspaper but never anything that would hurt them.
     
  8. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Training is essential and takes work EVERY day. Spend time with the dog on leash. This dog is too young and untrained to be outside to do its business alone without getting into trouble.

    Why not house the chickens? If your dog can chase them, others will too. Not to mention the coons, etc. that prey on chickens. If you don't want to lose a chicken then they need protected from all predators.
     
  9. My dog, a year and a half German Shepard started to kill my chickens. With the first one, I gave her a few swats and told her NO! She fully knew what she did was not acceptable.

    With the second one, she killed the chicken in the day and hid it in the woods untill we went to bed. Then she took it out and trashed the thing for a good part of the night. The next day I found the dead chicken in the back yard. She got a good wipping for that one.

    The third chicken was the end of the line. Same trick, kill the chicken and hide it untill night. I brought the dog to the dead chicken ( and she did not want to go there ) and gave her a good beating. Three of them actually, spaced about half an hour apart. Then I took the chicken and hung it from a tree with a bare copper wire twisted tightly around it's neck. I connected the other end of the wire to the electric fence for my pigs, and turned the fence up to maximum. I also left the hose running under the hanging chicken for a few hours and watered the ground stakes for a few more.

    That night my dog tried to pick off the dead chicken. She screamed like castrated pig.

    That was the last time my dog ever touched a chicken.

    Dogs will not kill your chickens if the result is painful enough.

    Some may say this is cruel. I say the other option for my dog was lead poisoning.
     
  10. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I have to say that the reason the dog gave up chickens was not because you beat the poor thing half to death.. but because she now associates chickens with a jolt of electricity. Dogs can't make the connection between being beaten for something and that something unless you catch them mid act and make the correction then.

    And, of course, you might have simply rehomed your dog to a home that didn't have chicken issues rather than kill her. I mean, really... it is nice and macho to beat the dog and threaten to shoot it, but you really need to work on your imagination. There are other solutions to your problems. Like wiring the chicken to emit a powerful negative reinforcement. Bite chicken=bad shock!

    That said.. the person with the border also needs to give some serious thought to whether or not this is the right dog for their home. These dogs are extremely high energy, very intelligent, and they need a job to do, or they'll make a job to do. And chances are you won't appreciate their idea of gainful employment. To whit.. de-feathering chickens. If you realize you've acquired the wrong dog, or you don't have the skills to work with this dog, take steps NOW to correct the situation. Either get the training you need, or start working with a Rescue, your pup's breeder, your local humane society, Agricultural agencies, anyone who can help you get this dog into a more appropriate home if you've decided your home isn't it.

    I've been doing Rescue for 10 years, over 100 dogs rehomed, and with a few rare (vicious) exceptions, every dog was a great pet when they found the right home. Just some dogs and some homes are not made for each other. Strong people know when to do what's right.

    T
     
  11. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    I like useing a shock collar, I have very stubborn blueheelers and I use max power on them, I have used the same collar on our horse that was trying to kill the goats, and it worked wonders at low power, I don't ever have to "the Bad guy" now, I don't have to yell or hit them, I don't have to put myself in danger to correct behavoir, I get to be the hero that comforts them after a shock, ~After those evil mean chickens bite them~ ."...Ohhh, poor baby, are you ok, what happened to you!?!?" .... everyone but the rabbits run loose and get along fine.
     
  12. rkintn

    rkintn mean people suck

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    All my research about Border Collies came back to a couple of basic principles: train, train and then train some more; lots of work/exercise; and be careful with the discipline. BC's are highly intelligent and high strung and they will not forgive/forget a beating easily. Keep him busy and keep him away from the chickens would probably be your best bet. Also, if you keep him penned, watch closely for how he is getting out--they are master escape artists. The female we had could squeeze out of pen made out of 4"x4" welded wire panels. She was like a mouse, once her head got thru then the rest wasn't far behind. Also, she discovered cars--that is not a discovery you want your puppy to make, so please be careful.
     
  13. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    TexCountryWoman tell me more about your Aussie. We want to get into raising them. We hope to get a few females and breed to our neighbor's BMM.
     
  14. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I was a kid we got a year old English Springer Spaniel. When she killed a chicken my Dad tied the dead chicken around her neck. It stayed for about two weeks...until it was so rotted it fell off. She wouldn't even LOOK at a chicken after that.

    I have two Border Collies (but no chickens...yet). One is almost two-years-old and one is four-months-old. You have to work with them, give them LOTS of attention. I've never owned a dog that had as much energy (or intelligence) as a Border Collie. We love ours so much! I'm not sure the cats feel the same...they get tired of being herded!
     
  15. Surveyorwill

    Surveyorwill Active Member

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    Thanks for all your comments. :)

    There is just a little twist to the whole thing. After I got home the other night, I did a little more investigating into what happened, we were still not convinced that the dog was trying to hurt the chicken because the skin was not broken just plucked. When DW had found the chick, it was on the other side of the house from the coop down by the driveway, this didn’t make a lot of sense, and nowhere that we looked did we find any signs of the feathers that were plucked :confused: . Well, the pigs are over on the other side of the driveway, down from where she found the chick, so we are starting to wonder if he had taken the chick down to the pigpen for some reason :confused: and the pigs may have plucked it and of course ate the feathers in the process. This is of course speculation but it kind of fits with the evidence or lack thereof that we found.
     
  16. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Effective, but illegal.

    There SHOULD NOT be your neighbors kids in your yard, but kids seem to go everywhere anyways. And, kids have been killed by similar traps that were meant for dogs. So these were made illegal.

    Just thought you would like to know.
     
  17. My neighbours kids do not belong in my backyard....

    The electric fence would not kill my neighbours kids....

    If my neighbours kids come in MY backyard and get shocked by MY electic fence they deserved what they got.

    Secondly...

    A dog can be disciplined for a crime after the fact. I have come home and could tell by the way my dog was behaving that she had done something wrong, such as chew the seat off my kids bike or tear apart some object. If I held up the object in question, the dog acted as if she would be disciplined. If I held up another object the dog acted completly normal.

    My dog can count to three. I have proof for it. In general humans do not give dogs enough credit, and as a result to not demand enough from them. My dog has a job to do. My chickens have a job to do. The two had better learn to get along.

    A dog that kills chickens has a far bigger problem then killing chickens. It is unwilling to submit it's will to it's master's will. To ship a dog like that off to another home is doing a favor to nobody. The problem will simply manifest itself in a different way.

    Why is it that a dog can learn not to eat an infant but not learn the same lesson about a eight pound chicken?

    Pete
     
  18. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    Pete, I would like to shake your hand, I agree 100% with your post, I just shortened it to save space.

    I have been told over and over again how certain animals can't be expected to get along, well, I am the boss here and they do. If I can't get through to them I don't believe anyone else will either.
     
  19. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I sure am glad the animals on my farm get along without having to be beat into submission. :yeeha: :(

    Now, if the neighbor's grandson tears up our barnlot again with his four wheeler I may be tempted to hook him up to an electric fence. ;) :eek:
     
  20. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    AH!

    I did not read carefully enough! My apologies! I did not notice the part about it being attached to an electric FENCE!

    In the cases where the kids were killed, the various people had plugged it into an electric outlet. Small children were killed this way. And, yes, the kids should NOT have been getting into the garbage, but kids do not always do what they should. :( But, an electric fence sounds much safer.

    As for your puppy, different puppies learn at different rates. I did not trust my puppy until he was 8 months. Before that, he was too impulsive and excitable.

    Kind of like how an 11 year old child can be trusted to not eat the chocolate candy on the table, but a 4 year old WILL eat it if he is left unattended. My dog could not be left unattended until he was 8 months old. Such is life.