PDA

View Full Version : Great Pyrenees and Chickens



Rocky Red
04-20-2011, 12:05 PM
This past weekend we brought home our 13 week old GP puppy. We purchased him to guard our alpacas, who are not arriving for a few more weeks, and also our free range chickens who range in the same field as the alpacas. Currently, we are keeping the dog in the barn with the chickens, but in a 10 x 8 foot kennel while we are not there so that he can see the chickens, but not harm them. When we are in the barn he is free to romp around freely. Yesterday I noticed him chasing a chicken in play. I stood between him and the chicken, told him "no" and he stopped. I recently read on a website that if you want to train a dog to guard poultry you should have them moving freely with the birds and not in a kennel. I'm afraid with us gone, he may harm the birds. What is the best approach?

Davey Benson
04-20-2011, 01:44 PM
I've got birds. (about 50 of them) They aren't free range birds, but they are cage free. They have a hen house and a large hen yard. I can't have them free range in this area, too many preditors. Every one of my neighbors who have ever tried letting them free range has always lost them eventually.

My pyrs (18 months old) just ignore the birds now at their age. They aren't in the hen yard with them, but they have always lived within eye shot and ear shot of the yard, so they know what the birds are, they just dis-reguard them as part of their surroundings like the plants.

When they were younger, they were intersted and fascinated by them. If I would have put them in the pen with the chickens, they surely would have had a great time playing with them, chasing them, batting them with their paws, chewing on them..... (a squeeky toy? Oh no wait... a sqwaky toy!)

I would recomend either just keeping them apart from the birds untill they are a little older and less interested in the birds, or always being around to supervise at their young age.

vin63
04-20-2011, 02:16 PM
This past weekend we brought home our 13 week old GP puppy. We purchased him to guard our alpacas, who are not arriving for a few more weeks, and also our free range chickens who range in the same field as the alpacas. Currently, we are keeping the dog in the barn with the chickens, but in a 10 x 8 foot kennel while we are not there so that he can see the chickens, but not harm them. When we are in the barn he is free to romp around freely. Yesterday I noticed him chasing a chicken in play. I stood between him and the chicken, told him "no" and he stopped. I recently read on a website that if you want to train a dog to guard poultry you should have them moving freely with the birds and not in a kennel. I'm afraid with us gone, he may harm the birds. What is the best approach?

I think you might find the Alpacas are pretty good flock guardians in of themselves. I would also keep the Pyr separate from the chickens until it is older and less interested.

pyr haven
04-20-2011, 07:04 PM
sorry not much advice but just to share
we had 1 chicken that was adopted by my mother goat (no kidding).
Chicken died recently, of viral infection.
my pyrs did eye Chicken like a soft toy as davey mentioned.

now, wit my gaggle of geese, i spent a lot of time supervising the pups, and never once left unsupervised until they learnt to ignore
but whenever we get gooselings we keep the geese and pyrs separate
(gooseling fatalities is usually by being stepped on, like by their father)
the pyrs will eventually chase the young geese too

mulewagon
04-20-2011, 07:33 PM
We got our Pyr mix, Badger, especially to guard the chickens - his mother guards goats.

The man we bought him from (at 6 weeks) said we should just put him in the chicken pen and he would bond with them, but I couldn't bring myself to let a puppy gorge himself on laying pellets, table scraps, and chicken poop. :D

Also, by 7 or 8 weeks he wanted to play with the chickens. He's actually pretty gentle for such a large dog, but chickens are far too fragile to be played with!

I take him into the chicken pen on a leash when I feed them. We practice "sit" and "heel" while doing that. I also carry treats and we practice "off" and "take it" with chickens running nearby.

Sometimes I let the chickens out close to sundown, and sit or walk with Badger on-leash. If he shows excitement, we practice "sit" and "off". Sometimes I sit with him by his food dish, and handfeed him with the chickens running past.

But some folks on a chicken board I visit say they have been successful putting purebred Pyr puppies in with chickens. Some are evidently calm at a young age - you just have to try them. Other folks say they can train any breed of dog to be safe with chickens - it's mainly necessary to teach them the "leave it" or "off" command.

Rocky Red
04-21-2011, 08:43 AM
Thank you for all of the wonderful information. It appears that we are doing exactly what we should be doing. We have him in a large (8 ft x 10 ft) kennel in the barn with the chickens. He can see them, get used to them but not touch. He is allowed out when we are in the barn, for lots of gallumping and exercise. I have only seen him chase a chicken once, and he was corrected. I think as he grows older he will loose interest. The alpacas will be arriving in 3 weeks and he will then be transferred out to their pasture. The chickens will be around, but hopefully by then he will view them as things that 'belong' and ignore them.

Terry
04-21-2011, 11:00 AM
hope he doesnt get playing tug of war :eek: :D




http://i976.photobucket.com/albums/ae243/loon20009/spr10_tug-0-war.jpg

its just a stuffed toy.....

Terry

Sasha1/2
07-30-2012, 11:05 PM
Is there a danger of our dogs eating chicken poo that gets kicked out of the run?

mulewagon
07-31-2012, 03:44 AM
Is there a danger of our dogs eating chicken poo that gets kicked out of the run?

Oh, they'll definitely eat it! Dogs regard chickens as little fuzzy vending machines. It won't do them any harm, but you need to give them monthly worm meds. Chickens can carry all sorts of worms. We give Badger a monthly dose of feed store ivermectin, and he's never had worms, though he gorges on the "chicken snacks".

Badger has been off-leash with the chickens for months now. I don't leave him alone with them yet, but he goes with me into the pen and runs through the yard while they're free-ranging. He's still a little too interested in the broody hens - they poop copiously when they come off the nest, and he tries to follow them around with his nose up their butts, which upsets them. So I have to call him off.

And we did have an incident a couple of weeks ago when I was feeding him and the chickens table scraps together. The birds were snatching food out from under him, and he suddenly had enough and started barking and snapping as though he was surrounded by wolves. It was the first time he's ever shown any kind of aggression about food. So we've gone back a few steps - when I feed them together I make him sit and only take what I hand him, and drop the chickens' share right in front of him, with the "off" command. He's just fine with that, since it's a routine he understands.

pyr haven
08-01-2012, 07:13 PM
He's still a little too interested in the broody hens - they poop copiously when they come off the nest, and he tries to follow them around with his nose up their butts, which upsets them. So I have to call him off.


tat's exactly wat my female pyr does wit the goats! Usually she zones on the newly-borns as they are still naive n innocent :) otherwise she will have to dodge the constant buttings

Sasha1/2
08-02-2012, 06:27 AM
Thanks for the info. This thread has been very helpful. Sasha doesn't seem to be chasing the pullets, but she is very interested in cleaning up after them and does try to get into the run with them; she could damage the fence. Our Pit Bull who is older frequently tattles on her. He has no interest in the birds, just in keeping Sasha in line. I'll start deworming both of them more often now that we have chickens.

Espinay
08-02-2012, 07:33 PM
Yes, supervision and separation are the keys when they are puppies through to teenagers. At this age they will often be tempted to play and you need to be around to nip it in the bud straight away. If they chase and you are not there to correct it they learn the game is fun and rewarding. You want to be there to teach them it is NOT. I have the dogs living side by side with the chickens. In fact I currently have an 11 week old pup in a run on her own for part of the day with chickens for company in the run next door to her. She also currently goes on lead with me into the pens just to look and be around the birds. When they get a little older, they are supervised off lead. Here is a good article: http://www.anatoliandog.org/poultry.htm
Oh yes, and eating bird poo is a given LOL!