These are very important questions that a German Shepherd owner that wants to set up a backyard poultry farm with chickens should have answers to.
Not all German Shepherds will react the same way to chickens as their behavior mostly depends on their upbringing.
One fact that you should be aware of is that German Shepherds have a very strong tendency towards chasing chickens and other birds. This is because of their herding nature.
In this article, we will give you more details on the relationship between German Shepherds and chickens.
Are German Shepherds Good With Chickens?
German Shepherds are only good with chickens when they are trained and well-socialized. This is going to take some time, regular supervision, and a lot of patience.
Their need for supervision and training is because, just like other dog breeds, German Shepherds have an instinctive prey drive to hunt birds. The training might start with difficulty, but it will eventually change them and stop them from attacking the chickens.
Do German Shepherds Chase Chickens?
Yes, German Shepherds chase chickens, other moving animals, and even moving and squeaky toys. This is because of their instincts which make them triggered by small moving or flying creatures.
Why Do German Shepherds Chase Or Attack Chickens?
There are five major reasons why a German Shepherd will chase or attack chickens whenever they cross their path, they are,
- Lack of Training
- Poor Socialization
German Shepherds are herding dog breeds that were bred to herd big farm animals like sheep and goats. Their instincts drive them to chase or attack birds of all kinds. This includes chickens because of their small size and mostly haphazard movements which are similar to that of prey like rodents.
When a chicken makes sounds, runs, or flies, it triggers the German Shepherd’s prey drive to hunt.
A hungry German Shepherd might see chickens as food when it is hungry. It will chase, kill and devour the live chicken just to satisfy its hunger, especially when it doesn’t get fed regularly.
German Shepherds are high-energy breeds that can get destructive when they are bored. This can make them chase after chickens, with or without the intention to kill them.
As chickens are very fragile animals, they cannot bear the pressure a large dog like the German Shepherd would mount on them. This might make them get severely injured or die.
Lack of Training
A German Shepherd that lacks training will be hard to control and show a lot of disobedient and destructive behavior. This will make it very aggressive to chickens and other animals and ignore commands that its owner gives
A German Shepherd that hasn’t been exposed to chickens from a young age will find it hard to relate properly with them. Poor socialization can make it reactive to Chickens.
How To Stop Your German Shepherd From Attacking Chickens
To know the methods to adopt to stop your German Shepherd from attacking chickens, you must first know the reasons why it attacks them. The reasons can be any of the ones we discussed above. The methods you can use are as follows;
- Adequate feeding
- Give your German Shepherd work to do
This method is the most important to prevent any dog from attacking chickens. Training your German Shepherd will make it obey your commands to stop chasing and attacking the chickens. It will also make them aware that they must protect them from predators.
A German Shepherd that is well-socialized will have a low level of aggression toward chickens. If your dog is used to seeing chickens and relating with them from an early age, it won’t see them as prey as it grows older.
Giving your German Shepherd enough food regularly will prevent it from seeing the chickens as a food source to quench its hunger.
Give Your German Shepherd Work To Do
This method is used to distract the German Shepherd from the presence of the chickens. A busy dog that has work to do or is engaged in an exciting activity will not be bored and will channel its energy into chasing chickens,
German Shepherds And Chickens: Conclusion
Training a German Shepherd and teaching it to socialize from a very young age is very crucial. It determines its relationship with other dogs and animals.
The German Shepherd can be good with Chickens similar to how it plays with toys . However this can only be when it is adequately trained and socialized in order not to see the chickens as prey that should be chased, hunted, or killed.