I don't know if I misread the post but I didn't see where Zoe said her dog
killed a chicken (only a lasagna noodle LOL). Just that she appears to want
to snap at the chicks, a response well within the realm of normal - poultry
seem to illicit this response even in farmcollies. Dogs need to be taught
how to respond.
We raise meat chicks every year (as well as free range poultry) and I don't
worry about my dogs. I do what Rini described and hold a chick and sweet
talk to it in the dogs presence. I tell the dog this is a *baby* and to be
nice. As long as they show gentle interest they are allowed to sniff and
are praised, if they are too rough or show predatory behavior, I correct
them with a hard stare and a strong AAAGGHH! and remove access to the chick
by standing up or turning my back. Repeat as necessary with each dog
seperately giving them lots of opportunities to get it right. Several
sessions a day is good. I go through this routine of introductions with
each new batch of chicks (or any new animal coming on the farm) even if the
dog is old and reliable. The old reliable ones just nod and smile LOL.
I just got 50 meat chicks last week. I took my 18 month old ES to pick them
up. This a dog with a pretty high drive who is death on varmints but who
also has a good nurturing nature lurking underneath that tough exterior. She
also has a strong desire to please and acknowledges me as the leader. She
had exposure to chicks last year as well. I did the intro. routine in the
car and noting her reaction (gentle interest bordering on calm and blase)
decided I would leave her and the box of chicks in the car while I stopped
at the grocery store. Part of me wondered if I would come out to a tragedy,
but I didn't LOL. She was curled up on the seat and the chicks were peeping
in the box. Good girl. BTW, this dog had a learning curve and killed a
chicken in the youthful passion of adolescence but she's most certainly not
a hopeless case ;-)
So much of it is about management and proper supervision; not setting your
dog up to fail but giving them ways to succeed so you can mold their
behavior and teach them what is acceptable. And helping your dog understand
through everyday training that you are the leader of the pack. I have
another post on the subject of corrections in regards to poutry/dogs that I
will send shortly.
Good Shepherd Farm
[log in to unmask]
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rini" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:46 PM
Subject: Re: [FARMCOLLIE] Introducing ES to chicks
> Does anyone have any hints on how best to introduce a
> ES to chicks or chickens? We have a 1 1/2 year old
> ES, who was raised around chickens, but seems to have
> forgotten, and I started with baby chicks thinking
> that would be easier. She appears ready to swallow
> them whole.
> YIKES! You have a problem, indeed.
> You have to convince the dog that 1) you are alpha and they are under you
> in status, and 2) those are *your* chicks and not to be touched.
> Start using NILIF - nothing in life is free. You eat in front of the dog
> and only then do they get anything. And they have to do a trick or
> thing before they get anything. They have to earn their dinner, earn going
> through a door, and you go first through the door. Don't let them get away
> with anything. Take their food bowl up while they are still eating, and if
> you get a growl call in the Marines and let the dog know they are half a
> second away from a horrible death. You must be the Boss! Then let them
> finish their dinner when *you* feel like it.
> With the chicks, put the dog on a leash (preferably someone else holding
> it). Hold a chick, pet it, croon to it "Good chickie, good chickie" and
> the dog sniff it. If the dogs gives a snap, a predator stare or a lunge,
> correct him. Hard if need be. The dog has to think if he even looks
> cross-eyed at the chick he will immediately die horribly.
> He's tasted blood and has gotten away with this, so it's going to be
> It may be you can't fix this, and the dog either stays inside with you or
> outside on a leash with you or in a pen. Or find a new home for him
> small animals). She must stay restrained until she proves she won't hurt
> chicks or even stare at them.
> Let us know how things go, and good luck.
> No virus found in this outgoing message.
> Checked by AVG.
> Version: 7.5.524 / Virus Database: 269.23.5/1400 - Release Date: 4/27/2008
> 9:39 AM