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Blogger Elle Pugsley from the south of England shares how to serve chicken and dogs.
It is likely that chickens rescued from industrial farms have not met many animals of different species. If you have other animals, you will need to introduce them all slowly and safely.
Three dogs and three new chickens
I have three big dogs who love to watch chickens. If birds are free-range, dogs are watching from behind our back door. When the chickens are in their coop, and the dogs are walking in the garden, they are still fascinated by gazing at the girls from outside the coop. The dogs were very interested in the chickens after they rescued the three new girls. But once they saw, sniffed, and accepted the new birds as new members of the family, the dogs returned to their normal, mild interest.
Before getting any chickens, I wanted to know how my dogs would react. Fortunately, the neighbor from whom I bought the original four Bantams invited me to bring the dogs into her garden and get them used to the birds before I took any home with me.
Free range chickens and your dogs
If you want to safely release pasture chickens with your dogs, it will require training. The bantams were here before my third dog came so he took in great as a puppy but I still wouldn’t leave him alone with them unsupervised. Even if you don’t plan on sharing space with birds and dogs simultaneously, it’s best to train dogs to leave chickens alone in case of accidents: such as closing the back door properly. Once this happened and all three dogs ran off, saw the chickens, realized she wasn’t supposed to go out with them and turned right back inside.
When it came to getting the dogs used to the birds, I used a large cage on the grass to introduce the dogs to the idea of sharing space with the hens inside the cage. All 3 of my dogs know the “leave” command and respond to it to get food, things like toys, and our pet mice when mice run around on the couch. I told them to leave the caged birds alone and continued to work for days like this until they had little interest. I followed this up with walking the dogs on lead in the garden with the free hens, first each dog individually, then in pairs, then all three together, telling them to let go of the chickens if they were disturbed. They are allowed to sniff them but no more than that, and over time I repeated this without sutures. Keep in mind my dog is not a breed of livestock that is meant to be a protector of chickens and is never left alone with chickens, I went through this training in order for chickens to be safe if dogs are allowed out with them as I do we have a huge garden and they have to share space.
Hey Pugsley She started growing her own food last year, and it went so well that the next natural step was to get chickens. She started with four bantams who fell in love and quickly became a crazy chicken lady. Now she has opened her coop to three former commercial free-range chickens to rehabilitate them and provide them with a forever home.