Have you ever wondered if Australian shepherds are good with chickens? It’s a reasonable concern because these dogs were initially bred as livestock guarding dogs, especially as a herding breed. So, let’s figure out this concern and other related problems.
Since Australian Shepherds are active, medium-sized, protective, alert, affectionate, intelligent, highly trainable dogs, they can be trained to guard and do well with chickens. It can be done with patience, close supervision, obedience training, positive reinforcement techniques, and socialization.
Even though Aussies can be trained to live with chickens, you got to understand that they are still canines. So, it’s crucial to provide proper training with several other important tactics to be with chickens. Keep in mind that taking the wrong approaches would lead to some unexpected problems.
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Are Australian shepherds chicken-friendly? [An In-depth answer]
Australian shepherds are also known as Aussies, are intelligent, protective, active, affectionate, and good-natured dog breed. Aussies were initially used as herding dogs.
They can also be used as hearing dogs, eye dogs, search and rescue dogs, drug-sniffing dogs. Since they have a relatively high energy level, they are pretty much suited for a wide variety of jobs.
Most people tend to mistaken these dogs for Border collies. Because their appearance is pretty much the same as Border collies. Like them, Australian shepherds can also live with pretty much any kind of farm animal or pet.
But the point here though is it cannot be done without proper training, socialization, positive reinforcement techniques with some proven tactics.
So, as my experience goes, Australian shepherds can do well with chickens. But the main obstacle is their natural herding instinct. Since chickens are way different creatures from sheep, herding is not gonna work out for them.
But, don’t get me wrong. They don’t have any kind of tendency to harm chickens whatsoever.
But you will see a lot of commotions throughout the day from the poultry. So, this is not called a chicken-friendly dog.
The next biggest problem here is these frequent commotions among the poultry aren’t good for egg production. So, if you are about to buy an Aussie to protect your chickens, that’s a huge problem you should address over time.
When I do my research about Aussies, I found that several owners were failed to adopt their Aussies with their poultry. Most of them used to let the chickens out during the first half of the day and dogs out the second part of the day or vice versa.
But, the main problem with those owners was wrong approaches. Every single dog should be adequately trained if we wanted to them to do something.
But, don’t worry. We gonna figure out everything through this article.
But when we consider their level of intelligence, trainability, sociability, affection, protectiveness, I would like to say that Australian shepherds are a chicken-friendly dog breed.
In fact, having an Australian shepherd that has off-leash capabilities can give the dog extra qualification to be with chickens.
Common characteristics of dogs that can guard chickens?
If you are a poultry owner and looking forward to buying a dog, getting a dog that can guard chickens would be killing two birds with one stone.
But before that, you got to consider a few factors. Because every dog cannot guard chickens or be friendly with them. So, let’s figure out what are the common characteristics of dogs that can guard chickens.
- Outside living capabilities
- Can bear up extreme temperatures.
- Having a large or medium-size body.
- Being at least moderately energetic.
- Protectiveness toward the poultry
So, these characteristics are crucial for a dog that can guard chickens. Besides them, the dog should be able to,
- Herd the chickens,
- The dog should be able to alert you if there any disturbances in or near the farm.
- The capability of protecting Chickens from predators. Foxes, coyotes, raccoons, dogs are one of the common predators that are tempted to hunt chickens. Having more than one dog would give ultimate protection.
Can Australian shepherds guard chickens?
Okay, guys. Now you have a good idea about the dogs that can guard chickens. But can Australian shepherds really protect chickens? It’s time to figure it out.
Almost any Australian shepherd can guard chickens. But, we do need to look into several considerations in order to get a comprehensive answer to this matter.
Usually, Aussies have pretty much every trai9t that we have discussed above. So, I can give you a big “YES” if you really struggle to figure out if Australian shepherds can guard chickens.
Because they are muscular and medium-sized dogs. They are brave enough to engage with a threat. But, I would like to say that they are more alert dogs than protective dogs. They can engage with small predators and won’t think twice to destroy or chase off them.
In fact, having two or three Australian shepherds could give ultimate protection to your poultry, and you can have a good night sleeping without worrying about anything whatsoever.
Furthermore, Aussies are active and have the capabilities of living outside, and are extremely active dog breeds. Since Aussies have a thick double coat, they can do just fine with lower temperatures.
The only obstacle is that they cannot survive in high temperatures. I think this is a commonly applicable fact to pretty much every dog. But, sufficient grooming during the summer could help them.
When we think about their protectiveness, usually, these dogs are extremely protective of their family and loved ones. When your Australian shepherd is getting used to chickens, he will start to love them. That means we can expect massive protection to the poultry from him.
Besides the above considerations, Aussies are high energetic and won’t be satisfied with 30 minutes of the walking session. So, this high energy promises us that they can protect chickens. In fact, their trustworthiness is insane.
So, when you buy a new Aussie to guard the poultry, I recommend you to buy a puppy instead of getting a grown one. Don’t be rush to get a grown one in order to protect the chickens. If you do so, you will have to regret it since training a grown dog is really difficult.
In fact, there is a high chance of getting killed by your Chickens by that grown dog. But, if you buy a puppy, you don’t wanna give him specific training to be friendly with chickens. Because it’s just a pup, and he cannot do anything harmful to chickens.
Read this to understand why do Aussies howl.
How to train your Australian shepherd to guard chickens and stay with them?
Now, you have proper knowledge Aussies can be with chickens or guard them. But, that’s not sufficient at all. Awareness of training them to be with chickens and guard them is a crucial fact.
Since these dogs are really smart creatures, this training won’t be hard as when a basset hound training to guard chickens.
Being extremely patient is key to success in this process. In order to train your Aussie to be with chickens, you gotta meet several requirements for him.
Here are they,
- Proper socialization.
- Proper nutation plan.
- Basic obedience training.
- Get a comfortable collar with the license and Id tag of the dog.
- Having regular vet checkups.
- Sufficient grooming.
- Provide pure water and food with easy access.
- Dog clothing and shoes will help him to withstand the cold (If needed)
For your convenience, I will divide this training into 4 steps.
If you get an Aussie puppy, let it walk and run here and there through chickens. Don’t limit his freedom. Let him interact with chickens. This is the first step, and you should allow the dog to properly socialize with chickens.
Suppose you got a slightly grown Aussie. Now the situation is somewhat different. Because you don’t know what’s gonna happen or how he will respond to the poultry.
Since these dogs have a strong prey drive, he could chase after chickens and possibly kill them.
It’s better if you can let the new Australian shepherd and interact through a fencing net. But, if you don’t have a closed fenced net, this can be done with the chicken’s coop.
So, let the dog interact with the poultry through the net of the coop and let him be familiar with the smells, sounds, sights, and everything. In the meantime, you can promise the security of chickens. So, it’s a great way to introduce them to each other.
Here, you should closely observe his body language. Try to figure out if he is in a situation where it has some kind of aggression toward chickens or doesn’t care about them whatsoever.
Try this again the next day. If he exhibits the signs of friendliness, let him mix with the poultry under your supervision. Keeping him a little bit long leash would be great. So, you can hold him up in an abnormal situation. If you use a long lead, don’t forget to use a harness.
It’s better if you can arrange a place nearby the chicken coop for your Aussie that he can easily see and feel chickens. If you bring a puppy, let him stay at this particular place for the most time.
Now you got to make sure that chickens don’t have access to the dog’s place whatsoever. Because we shouldn’t let them compete with each other for food. But if it’s happening, The dog will have some bad memories with the chickens.
In fact, provide bedding and everything to help him bear up the cold while giving excellent comfort.
Suppose now your dog is completely friendly with the poultry and doesn’t exhibit any kind of aggression toward chickens whatsoever.
Now check if he sleeps far away from the poultry or spends his time with chickens. If he stays far away from chickens, you got to bring him close to the chickens and provide some treats while cuddling him. Spend some quality time with him. So, this whenever he sleeps away from the poultry.
Suppose your Australian shepherd stays among chickens throughout the day. Now we wanna understand if he investigates possible threats.
So, you can create an artificial threat by throwing a small stone toward the woods. Then look at his behavior. If he barks or tries to engage with it, encourage him with encouraging verbal sounds.
If he used to walk away from the farm and wander, make a small commotion inside the poultry. If he shows some positive signs on both occasions, praise him with nice words and reward him with tasty puppy treats.
Things to be aware of.
Okay, now you have a good understanding if Australian shepherds can live with chickens. But note that this information is not sufficient in order to keep Aussies and Chickens together. There are several important things you wanna be aware of. So, let’s figure out what they are.
Basic obedience: Providing proper basic obedience training at his young age is crucial.
Note that they are high jumpers: You know what, Australian shepherds are excellent jumpers and they can get over 6 feet fence straightforwardly. So, you might want an excellent fenced yard in order to keep him in the yard.
Proper socialization: Providing proper socialization at his young age crucial fact in preventing some unnecessary problems.
Feeding: You should make sure that the dog has food right on time. Don’t let him starve. Because it would lead to shows some signs of aggression toward chickens.
Vet checkups: Guys, this is huge. Being an Aussie is not sufficient to protect chickens. He should have proper health status to be outside. So, regular vet checkups are a must.
Most people love to own these lovable, devoted, active, furry friends. In fact, most poultry owners love to own Aussies as they are good herding dogs. So, most people are curious to know if Australian shepherds are good with chickens. Here, we have discussed the answer to that particular question in detail. Hope you found this helpful. Have a nice day.