Friday, July 31, 2009

Dog issues - red is too interested in chickens

Red, the Airedale in the foreground, is too interested in chickens. I've caught him with chickens in his mouth in the past, but up to yesterday the chickens were cold and dead, and we do have some mortality with 500 chickens on site, as I've discussed previously.

So finding him with a dead chicken isn't an instant foul, so to speak. I check to see if the body is warm, and if it's cold, give him the benefit of a doubt.

But he showed up at the gate with a live australorp hen in his mouth yesterday, and this is a pretty serious problem. We can't have him eating the chickens, and the goal of having the Airedales around is to have them loose while we're not there to watch to deter predators.

he's a young dog, about 1 year old, and is good with the pigs. He enjoys herding them, and is useful in moving the pig herd from paddock to paddock.

Next time he does a chicken in he'll get a chicken necklace in the time-honored farm dog cure for chicken killing dogs, and we'll see if that doesn't snap him out of it.


Kim said...

Yup, I cured a beagle that came to visit and was so happy to kill half my chickens, I took him around to every dead chicken, while scolding him and telling him 'NO!' but when he sensed the chicken hiding in the bush, he let me know he would happily kill that one too, so we went round again to every dead chicken. I put each dead chicken on his head and again scolded him. This time when we came around to the bush with the live chicken he kept his head turned completely away. He never did come back to visit and never lost another chicken to that dog. Simple, effective!

StefRobrts said...

I'll be interested to hear if that works. For a dog with a high prey drive, I can't imagine anything can deter them from the temptation of chasing a flapping, squawking chicken. Every time I've got my dog ignoring them, some idiot chicken escapes and goes running by, triggering his chase instincts and we're right back where we started. Luckily he has the chase instinct, but no follow through to kill. He just corners them and holds them there.

Robin said...

What is a chicken necklace? Have you done it before and does it always work?

Bruce King said...

I haven't tried a chicken necklace before, and I'm curious to see if it works. You tie the dead bird to the dogs collar on the theory that dragging around a stinking dead chicken for a couple of days makes the concept of killing another chicken a bad idea.

Lee said...

Will you have to pen him to prevent your other Airedales from just eating off his necklace for him?

I'm not sure this would work with one of our dogs. His latest obsession is rolling in dead animals and deer poop. Seems like a dead chicken would just be an extra treat.

MMP said...

I have heard of the chicken necklace approach. I have no idea if it works, but some do swear by it.

Another approach I have heard used is to hang a dead chicken on an electric fence. Dog sees chicken. Dog bites chicken. Dog yelps. Dog loses interest in chicken. Not sure if it is really tha simple, but, again, I have heard it works.

Our dog would chase chickens when we first got him. We would get on him immediately for it and we eventually trained him not to do it. He never actually killed a bird. Now, he takes great pleasure in herding escapees back over the chicken fence and occasionally pins them first. But that's a vocation, not an idle past time.