How to keep dogs and chickens simultaneously

Meet the latest additions to the family: Chiye, Fumiko, and Mayumi!

Newest additions (chickens)
Chiye, Fumiko, and Mayumi, the Japanese bantams.

These are three Japanese bantam chickens we acquired from friends who could no longer care for them. We have installed them in our garden, which is fenced off from the rest of the yard (where the dogs roam), and positioned their coop behind the shed. This means that the dogs can’t clearly see the chickens when they’re in the yard, and I hope it will give the hens some peace, too.

Newest additions (chickens)
The coop, situated behind the shed in the fenced-off garden.

Our plan is to let the chickens roam free in the garden fence when the dogs are inside. They are bantams, so they are very small, and I think they could easily squeeze through the fence slats if they were so inclined. We know that chickens are susceptible to a variety of predators, but we’d prefer that their deaths were not caused by our dogs.

Newest additions (chickens)

The dogs have been VERY interested in the sounds coming from the garden, but they haven’t made any attempts to jump the fence. And even if they did, I don’t think they could actually get to the chickens in the coop. (They’re not feisty terrier types, who may be inclined to dig under.) So, I think the chickens are safe from the dogs, but we’re not planning on any meetings between the species.

Newest additions (chickens)
What are those tantalizing poultry sounds I hear?

I think Eden would potentially scare a chicken to death, or play with it too roughly, but I have no doubt that Pyrrha would go in for the kill. She is a dedicated huntress, and she has a very strong prey drive/stalking mechanism when it comes to small creatures.

Newest additions (chickens)
Let me at ’em!

We are excited to expand on our urban farm with the chickens and have hopes that they will thrive and survive.

Newest additions (chickens)
Mayumi and Fumiko.

Do you keep chickens? If so, what do your dogs think of them?

9 thoughts on “How to keep dogs and chickens simultaneously

  1. Ah, congrats on the chickens! I always thought I’d love to keep chickens, but it just isn’t realistic for us. I can’t wait to see how the dogs continue to do with their new friends.

  2. Japanese Bantams are one of my favourite breeds of chickens, I would love to have some one day 🙂

    My parents have chickens so I’ve introduced Kasper and my Aunt’s old dog to them before. Both had very high prey drive and were very interested! Kasper would most certainly kill and eat a chicken; Zoey I have no idea.

  3. We love chickens! We raised 4 from chicks several years ago alongside Bear who was 10 at the time, and Scooter too. It was quite interesting having the hens around a large gsd/border mix (Bear) and Scooter who they were bigger than! The chickens were always respectful of Bear, but never hesitated to let him know if he got too close. They would just push Scooter out of the way 🙂

    We fostered around 10 dogs with chickens, and never had an issue with any of them!

  4. I grew up on a farm with dogs and chickens, along with sheep and horses. I inherited the chickens in fourth grade after we hatched chickens in class in an incubator. It was a year after my parents’ divorce and my teacher knew my did lived on a farm. Anyway, our dogs were always very good with the chickens. The first dog we had when the chickens arrived was actually killed by some other dogs who kept coming to the farm during the day while my dad was at work and killing the chickens. After that, it became war with my dad. At night, the chickens were sent to sleep in the barn with the sheep so nothing could get in and get them. When we got our next dog, he was a puppy and the chickens were just a fact of life for him. He learned early on to respect them, because those roosters can be mean. Heck, my sister and I had a healthy respect for them, too. As the years went by, we finally got to the point where we just had one lone rooster left. The other chickens were either killed or died of natural causes, but the old bird became a bit of a pet. He waited by the back door for us each morning and walked out with us to feed the horses, where he’d get some grain that they spilled, too. He started sleeping in the dog house with the dog and they were good companions. As a matter of fact, after that dog died, we waited a year and a half to get a new one because we didn’t think a new dog would share the dog house with him!

  5. No chickens within my city limits, currently (though there are people petitioning for that law to change). Elka takes specific joy in chasing squirrels from within our fence, but is fascinated by all things birdy and fly-y, and watches them intently. I think she might be inclined to stalk a chicken, if permitted, at least once but would be TOTALLY FREAKED OUT by the resulting chicken freakout and never do it again. Much like how she’s scared of the baby gate, because of how often it’s fallen over.

  6. I feel like such a failure as a yuppie–I don’t really like chickens. Which is a good thing, because Silas, who normally leaves birds alone, was very excited by some chickens we saw one day.

  7. Congratulations! You are going to love having chickens! I have both, but my dogs are never allowed access to the chickens. my chickens free range in the afternoon/evenings, and my dogs are always behind a fence.

  8. J wants to get chickens, but our dogs don’t have a good track record with small animals so I’ve held him off. But we should try something like you have. We have a shed and there’s a perfect area next to the shed, behind our fruit trees.

    Thanks for the idea! We need eggs 🙂

    By the way, do they lay eggs year around?

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