This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Charley and the chickens

charley and coop IMG_9959

That's my chicken coop behind my inquisitive and always "up-for-the-chase" five month old puppy. Charley caught one of my chickens the other day. The pretty black one I call Penny. Prey instinct kicked in. He chased and caught her, held her for several seconds in his jaw before my husband got there and pulled him off. Penny was scared but fortunately no damage done. Now we don't let Charley out when the chickens are out. It's one or the other. I don't know if this is just a puppy thing. We'll see.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, that wasn't very good! Hopefully with all the training you are doing, Charlie will get better with the chickens. Good luck. DebS.

January 25, 2017 6:16 PM

Blogger Connie said...

It's hard, they can't help their natural instincts. I guess it's all in the timing for you now . . . chicken playtime and puppy playtime :)
Good luck with that.
Connie :)

January 25, 2017 8:16 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Yes. I'm doing a lot of training, but after all, he's a dog. Some dogs have more prey instinct than others. Skippy was older when I got the chickens. He like to give them a good run, and I could see the only reason he didn't catch them was because he knew I didn't want him to. We were pretty close. Suzie doesn't have a prey drive at all for the chickens (now raccoons are another thing...) But Charley is so young, enthusiastic, and full of drive to catch chickens. I'll work with him on things where I have more chance of success. He's really good at recalls, even from way across a field where he's having lots of fun. I like that.

January 25, 2017 9:13 PM

Blogger Farmer Liz said...

Both our dogs have learnt not to chase chickens. We use "don't touch" as s command. We don't leave them alone with the chickens but they are all ok when we're home.

January 25, 2017 10:25 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Well, I can work a bit with Charley on a leash. I'll give it a try. I haven't done any work on this yet. I always feel the dogs are good protection against the hawks when we're all out together. He knows the " leave it!" command. That should work (theoretically).

January 26, 2017 10:18 AM

Anonymous JustGail said...

Poor Penny! I wonder if it was retriever drive that kicked in? It seems like Penny might have had a worse experience if it were truly prey drive. I think once Charley catches on that the chickens are not toys or food, they may have an excellent protector.

January 31, 2017 2:21 PM

Blogger Ralph said...

I'm sorry about this. The same thing happened to me. As a favor to a woman who was undergoing an eye operation, I was taking care of her Irish terrier and, in an unguarded moment, it attacked one of our geese and a running duck. Blood flowed, but I managed to rescue both animals and calm down the terrier.

Nature, at times, may be "red in tooth and claw," but as noted above, the answer is patient training.

February 01, 2017 4:26 AM

Blogger kathy said...

He hasn't taken much notice of them recently. Of course they're in their coop but he used to run at the coop and get them to scatter. Maybe he's growing out of it. A phase?

February 01, 2017 4:47 AM


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