Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chicken Guardian Dog

Morgan is just the best ever little caretaker of our chickens. She is part Border Collie and part Australian Shepherd. I think she shows more of the Australian Shepherd part of her heritage.

Kristine bought Morgan when she was a puppy and Morgan was introduced to the chickens when she was very young. In fact I think the chickens scared her because the hens would cluck at her and try and peck her.

We always kept Morgan on a leash when she was around the chickens and never let her chase the hens, try to play with them, bark, or show any aggression.

Morgan learned from the beginning that the chickens were to be watched, but not messed with. In fact, I used the word "watch" as my command word when I would take Morgan out to see the chickens and I would have Morgan sit or down and we would watch the chickens together.

Morgan does run around the chickens or through them at times, but I have noticed that she only seems to do that when I'm out feeding treats and the chickens are excited. Then Morgan gets excited too.

I think there are some breeds of dogs that would be very difficult or impossible to train to guard chickens or even to just leave them alone. But, there are many dogs who just need proper training to become good farm dogs.

I have read about dog breeds that have been bred especially as guardian dogs for hundreds of year. The predator instinct has been bred very low and they have been used to guard livestock and poultry.

And I have read that herding dogs like Morgan are not suitable as poultry guardians. I have even read that some herding dogs are not left alone with livestock because they can not be trusted. I'm very glad that we have Morgan!

I finally found the photo of the mossy rocks I was going to post with the mossy trees yesterday.

It is supposed to be sunny tomorrow so I hope to get outside and rake up the area around these rocks. The water feature on the rocks has still not happened. I made a little dry stream bed by the rocks.

(February 27, 2009)

[6 eggs today]



Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

hey Callie,
We got Max the border Collie around Christmas. He hearded chickens before we got him.We have never let our chickens roam but today it will be sunny and 60 degrees and we are going to let them out. here's hoping Max will herd them back in without incident!

Toni aka irishlas said...

I know my dogs which are herding dogs have a strong prey instinct for small animals. Even the 14 year old will run like the wind if he sees a rabbit or mole! I've heard about Anatolian shepherds being great guard dogs.. I guess if you raise your dog around livestock when it is young, it would help.
Great post! I love the one picture on the link of the sheepdogs sitting and watching the peeps cross the sidewalk!

Melodie said...

You are lucky to have a dog lucky Morgan! Hubby has two Heelers,that are not allowed around any of my farm animals as they are not trustworthy. They stay in the big fenced in yard around the house and make excellent guard dogs and with me and The Boy being alone for long stretches of time I guess they are kind of useful....I am still debating on that!

~Kim~ said...

Your Morgan sounds like a pretty smart dog--Being mixed with Border Collie and Australian Shepherd, how could she not be? It's great that you can trust her too and it's truly a tribute to your training and dedication to her that you are able too!! A couple of our dogs are really in touch with their prey drive, and anything is fair game to them, others could care less!!

Hope the sun comes out--I loved your moss & rocks! :-)

Becky's Barnyard said...

Morgan is such a pretty dog and you are lucky to have such a good guard dog. I love the mossy trees and rocks.
My sisters cats live out at the barn and only have to put up with Oscar every now and then.

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Morgan you are so sweet to watch those chickens. Mom is right us 3 fit into the probably not good at guarding chickens. We get all excited when the sheep run so probably if the chickens did we would try to herd them..
Morgan you can come herding with us anytime..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Kateri said...

Cool. I didn't realize that dogs could be taught to guard chickens. Morgan sounds like a great dog!

Nancy K. said...

I think the key is the right temperament in the dog AND introducing them to livestock (be it chickens or sheep or anything else) when they are very young. My Sable seems to take it for granted that the sheep and the chickens are part of the famiily. It is so nice to know that you can trust your dog not to harm your other animals!

Plus, Morgan is beautiful!


Leigh said...

Border Collies are such nice dogs!

Tanya said...

You would not want Choco around your chickens...