How to Stop Dogs From Killing Chickens

Chickens who live inside a coop will be safer than those who free range.
Chickens who live inside a coop will be safer than those who free range. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Dogs are naturally inclined to want to chase, play with and even kill chickens, because dogs are predators and chickens are prey. As a responsible dog owner, you can take preventive measures as well as train your dog not to engage in potentially hazardous behaviors. You can provide a relatively safe environment for all of your animals if you stay attentive and work to figure out what the best method is to keep your dog away from the chickens.

Things You'll Need

  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Harness

Block your dog's access to the chicken coop by whatever means or modifications are necessary. This may involve putting a door up, locking a door or gate or even adding onto your current coop so that your dog cannot climb over the fence, go through the fence or dig under it. Your first priority as a chicken owner is to stop predators from reaching your birds.

Train your dog to respond to simple commands such as sit, stay or lie down. Offer your dog a treat or praise every time he performs correctly. Work with him until he responds to you regardless of what other stimuli is in the area.

Introduce your dog to your chickens. Keep him on a leash and allow him to express interest but not chase the chickens or torment them in any way. If your dog tries to engage in predatory behavior, use the commands you have taught him to make him disengage from the chickens and focus on you. If you have trained your dog properly, he should sit, stay or lie down and leave the chickens alone. Praise him when he behaves appropriately.

Tips & Warnings

  • Training takes a significant amount of time, effort and consistency. If you have problems training your dog, get help from a professional dog trainer.
  • In some cases, the use of training aids may make it easier to control your dog around your chickens. Use of specially designed training harnesses that also control your dog's mouth and head may help keep your dog's attention focused on you and your commands. In situations where you believe your dog may attempt to bite your chickens, either because he views them as prey or because he views them as toys, a muzzle may be a good option to help keep everyone safe. Discuss your training tool options with a dog trainer to decide what will work best for you and your dog.
  • Never leave your dog around your chickens unsupervised. Your dog's natural instinct is to chase and possibly kill chickens. Even the best training will not completely overcome this urge in all dogs.

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