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Tips for Raising Chickens with Dogs so Everyone Live Harmoniously
Having chickens is a great way to save on buying eggs at the grocery store while having them cleaning up table scraps from large dinners. However, there are some challenges when keeping other animals, especially dogs, around chickens. Some dogs like to chase small animals around while others can coexist easily with them. Knowing your pet is extremely important before diving into the world of chicken husbandry, along with training and safety if you decide to take the leap. You also have to consider the well-being of your chickens and how to keep them happy and healthy.
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Let’s take a look at a few things to consider when introducing chickens onto the property with a dog in the family.
Breed Type and Personality
Knowing your dog’s breed and personality is key. Some breeds, such as the Great Pyrenees or the Anatolian Shepherd, were made specifically to be livestock guardians. Their prey drive is little to nonexistent while they are very protective of whatever herd or flock they were tasked to look after.
On the flip side, breeds with high prey drives, the Beagle or any type of terrier, are not suited for an amicable life with chickens without lots of training. They were trained to hunt down prey for their owners by injuring it and keeping it cornered until the humans could get to it. Some dogs are just territorial and do not want any new animals in their space.
By evaluating the personality and breed of your pooch, you can follow the necessary steps of either being very cautious or more relaxed when introducing chickens into their lives.
Exposure and Introductions
Despite knowing your dog’s personality, the true test is to have them around chickens for the first time. Get in touch with your local farmers or neighbors to see if you can introduce your companion, on leash, to their animals.
First, you will want the chickens to be separated from you by a fence, preferably in their pen. Having your dog sniff around and observe in the beginning is good so they can understand these new friends. After a few moments, get the attention of your pet with treats and have them do a few tricks with their back to the chickens. If your dog is constantly distracted by the chickens, more exposure and time is needed for them to be relaxed around them.
Another thing to note is when commotion happens in the chicken coop. Have the owner of the chickens rile up the girls in their coop so you can see the reaction of your dog. If they want to give chase, your dog would not be suited to have roaming chickens outside the coop. If they are alert but stay where they are, future chickens should be safe with them to have them around the yard.
General Rules and Safety
While we might know our pets, we can never truly predict how they will react in certain situations. Having a closed-off coop for your chickens is necessary when keeping chickens for the first time with your dog. Not only does it prevent your canine companion from getting to them, but it also keeps other unwanted predators, such as foxes or badgers, from getting into the coop. A high fence is very important; there are multiple stories of dogs jumping and climbing fences to get to the chickens. With a high fence, you need some ground protection as well so your pup doesn’t dig their way into the coop.
As a general rule, your dog should not be allowed in the coop at all. This clear distinction keeps accidents from happening when you are not looking and allows the chickens to have a space of their own. When chickens are stressed, they do not lay eggs which is against the whole point of keeping these birds. Keeping your dog out of the coop also prevents sickness. Salmonella is found in the chickens’ feces and we all know how dogs love to eat poop; this also keeps our companions from bringing in the dirt and grossness from the coop indoors.
If you do have a dog that is comfortable around the chickens, letting them mingle together in the yard is a tricky situation. Letting chickens roam around the yard outside the coop has its advantages, they eat all sorts of bugs, including ticks! However, a bunch of things can go wrong if you are not paying attention to body language. Hackles raised, intense staring, and slow, deliberate movements from your dog are all signs that they might pounce on one of the birds. If you see any of these signs, immediately remove the dog from the area and gather the chickens back into their coop.
Like said earlier, chickens will not lay eggs if they feel threatened or stressed in any way. It will take some time for them to get used to living next door to a big, toothy animal that may or may not eat them, so it will take time for them to relax. Feeding them while having the dog in the yard, distracted by a toy or bone, is a good way to get them used to seeing your dog and associate being fed when they are around.
The same principle can be used with your canine companion. Giving them treats for ignoring the chickens teaches them that the birds are not the most interesting thing in their environment. Reinforcement and consistency is key to teaching your dog the rules of having these new animals around.At the end of the day, it is really up to you if you think having chickens on your property with a dog is a good idea or not. While this article was to teach the importance of saving the chickens from your dog, these birds are known to stand their ground as well. A smaller or shyer dog can easily be bullied by a flock of naughty chickens that will chase them around and peck at their bottoms!
The right ways to cook chicken for your dog
Dogs with dental issues, sensitive digestive systems, or special dietary needs can benefit from a chicken-based diet. Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein, omega 6, and glucosamine. Feeding your dog a fresh, human-grade diet can lead to a shinier coat, hydrated skin, and healthy bones. While there are plenty of dog foods that contain chicken-based ingredients, nothing quite beats the taste or nutrition of fresh, homemade dog food.
That being said, you might be curious about where to start or how to make sure you prepare fresh chicken correctly for your pup. Let’s dive into the right ways to cook chicken for your dog to enjoy its nutritional benefits and delicious flavor.
Although chicken has a reputation for its mildness, you may be surprised to know there are some possible risks associated with this meat:
- Avoid salmonella or other bacterial infections by cooking chicken thoroughly before feeding it to your dog.
- Plain chicken is best for your pooch. Don’t add any seasoning, onions, or garlic when cooking your dog’s chicken at home.
- Chicken is the third most prevalent food allergy for dogs. If you think your furry friend may be suffering from a chicken allergy, remove the ingredient from their diet and contact your vet right away.
- Keep bones out of your dog’s plate. They are a choking hazard and can even puncture your pup’s stomach and intestines.
- Stick to the chicken breast, which is low in fat and healthier for your dog. Fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.
Unlike their pet parents, dogs love plain boiled chicken. Their tummies don’t do well with seasoning and their palates actually prefer the natural flavors of chicken. Here’s an easy step-by-step process for you to whip up a dish that your pup will love:
- Place chicken breasts in a medium-size pot with water.
- Cover the pot and bring the water to boil.
- Boil the chicken for 12 minutes over high heat or until completely cooked.
- Shred the cooked chicken and let it cool off to avoid burns.
- Feed your dog a small portion and store leftovers for up to four days.
Chicken and rice is a popular recipe that helps dogs that suffer from upset stomachs. Simply prepare white rice without any seasonings and mix it with your dog’s boiled chicken to calm his sensitive stomach.
Keep in mind that brown rice is harder for dogs to digest, so white rice is the best way to go. Also, be sure to leave out any onions or garlic. These plants are toxic to dogs and shouldn’t be fed raw, cooked, fried, or powdered.
To enhance Fido’s diet, you can add other ingredients that make meals more filling and nutritional. Here are some ideas:
- Plain yogurt: Use it to boost your dog’s protein and calcium intake.
- Canned pumpkin: This is a great source of vitamin A and helps with digestion.
- Cooked veggies: Green beans, carrots, and broccoli add fiber to your pup’s diet. Just keep it under 10% to avoid digestive issues.
- Dog food: Mix the fresh chicken with wet or dry food for a tasty treat and extra flavor.
- Vitamin supplements: Sprinkle powdered dog vitamins on your pooch’s meals to make sure they get all the nutrients they need.
Foodie dog parents may want to get more creative in their pup’s meal prep. If you love the health benefits of chicken but want to change things up for your dog, consider baking his chicken. Just place the chicken in an oven-safe container with a little oil to avoid sticking and cook the meat thoroughly at 400º F for 20-30 minutes.
Chicken breasts are excellent for dogs that need extra protein in their diets – especially if the chicken is free of additives, hormones, or other potentially harmful ingredients. If you don’t want your dog to feed exclusively on chicken or end up rejecting other types of food, limit their chicken meals to once or twice per week.
Chicken is a favorite of most dogs. If you’re looking to give your pup a special treat, this healthy source of protein is sure to leave your furry friend licking their whiskers. Pair it with some rice or veggies and watch your pooch devour!
Just remember to consult with your dog’s vet before making any drastic changes to their diet, especially if you’re concerned about stomach issues or the nutritional balance of your dog’s food.
If you’re cooking chicken for your dog as opposed to feeding them dry dog food, they will be just as thrilled as you are to be treated to such a nutritious, delicious meal. In their eyes, you’ll definitely be pet parent of the year!