Border Collies are popular herding dogs known for their intelligence, agility, and trainability.
They were originally bred for herding sheep in Scotland, and as a result, many farm owners who own cattle and chickens, wonder if Border Collies are good with chickens.
Are Border Collies Good With Chickens? The answer is yes. Collies can be good with chickens, as long as it’s well trained. They have a strong herding instinct, which means they may try to herd chickens if given the opportunity (and might even harm them) but with proper training both can peacefully coexist.
In fact, some Border Collies are even trained to protect chickens from predators like foxes and feral cats.
In this article, we’ll be looking into answering the question of whether or not Border Collies are good with chicken, we’ll be going through the dynamics between them, and give you some tips on how to train your Collie to deal with chicken the right way.
Let’s take a look.
Understanding Border Collies
Border Collies are a energetic, high intensity and amazingly loyal breed of dog, often used as working dogs, (particularly as herders) due to their herding traits, which have been genetically hand selected.
The breed of Border Collie is believed to have originated in the border region between Scotland and England in the 19th century, and were originally used to herd sheep and other livestock.
In todays day and age, Border Collies are the top most intelligent breed of dog, and they are known for their ability to learn quickly.
They’re often used as family pets too, due to their friendly and affectionate nature.
As a herding dog, they require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.
They’re also great at problem-solving, are often used in agility competitions, and can even work as service dogs.
Overall, Border Collies are a breed of dog that is well-suited to active and energetic owners, and are great at doing farm work, and dealing with livestock. They need a job, and can do a lot of them very well.
Behavior and Temperament
Border Collies are highly trainable and excel in lots of jobs that require a lot of mental and physical stimulation.
They are sensitive dogs that can become bored easily, which can lead to destructive behavior if they are not given enough attention or stimulation.
When it comes to chickens, with proper socialization and training, Border Collies can be great at dealing with chickens.
Everything from herding chicken, to protecting and keeping them safe in one place, is something that any Border Collie can learn.
Border Collies are generally not aggressive dogs, but if not properly trained, they can become aggressive towards chickens, seeing them as prey and food, which is something we don’t want.
Physical Needs of Border Collies
Border Collies are highly energetic and athletic dogs that require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.
They have a lot of energy to burn and need a lot of space to run and play.
Physical exercise is crucial for Border Collies, and they need at least 60 to 90 minutes of intense exercise every day.
A brisk walk or jog on a leash might not be enough for these dogs. They need to run, play fetch, and engage in other high-energy activities to stay fit and healthy.
In addition to physical exercise, Border Collies also need mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.
These dogs thrive on learning and problem-solving activities, so having them learn how to herd chickens, can be a great idea.
Border Collies and Livestock
Border Collies are a breed of herding dogs that are known for their exceptional herding instincts and intelligence.
This breed has been bred for centuries to work with livestock in particular, and they excel at it. Which is why they’re very often used to herd livestock such as sheep, goats, and cattle.
They’re simply one of the best breeds available for the job.
They can effortlessly and efficiently move and control livestock and, because of their protective nature, can protect their flock of chickens or sheep from predators such as their fox cousins and other predators.
It’s important to note that while Border Collies are naturally great at herding and protecting livestock, they still need proper training to do so correctly.
Yes, training your Border Collie might be easier than you think, but you still need to train it, to keep it sharp and alert.
In summary, Border Collies are good with livestock and have both herding and protective capacities.
They’re a great breed for those who have cattle, sheep, ducks or a flock of chickens and want a dog that can help protect and manage them.
But… proper training is necessary to ensure that they behave appropriately around livestock.
Border Collies and Chickens
So as we’ve established throughout this article, yes Border Collies can be good with chicken. However, how well everything turns out, depends on the individual dog and how well they’re trained.
When introducing a Border Collie to chickens, it’s important to have the basic obedience training established.
Your dog should know commands such as sit, stay, come, down, heel, and leave it.
This will help it understand what’s expected of it and how it should behave around the chickens.
It’s also important to supervise the interaction between the Border Collie and the chickens.
This can be done by keeping the dog on a leash or by having a secure chicken coop or free-range area, which will prevent the dog from accidentally harming the chickens or chasing them.
Some Border Collies may have a strong prey drive and may not be suitable for living with chickens.
However, for the most part this can be fixed. With patience and consistent training, many Border Collies can learn to coexist peacefully with chickens.
Training Border Collies
Training a Border Collie to coexist with chickens requires patience, consistency, and proper socialization.
Border Collies have a strong herding instinct, which can make them inclined to chase and harm chickens. However, with proper training, they can learn to protect the birds and to not harm them.
Let’s look at some of the main things to keep in mind when teaching your Border Collies to take care of chicken.
Basic Commands and Obedience
Training should begin with basic commands such as sit, stay, and come.
These are the bare minimum and basics that are needed before even considering having your dog work with livestock.
If your dog doesn’t have perfect recall and likes to challenge your authority, you run the risk of potential injuries and loss of livestock, and with bigger animals like cows, even your dog might get hurt in the process.
Make sure your dog has all the basic commands covered before dealing with animals.
When in doubt, use a leash during the training process to ensure the dog’s safety and to prevent any aggressive behavior towards the birds.
Positive reinforcement is the backbone of most training when it comes to dogs in general, including the basic commands and obedience training.
The idea behind positive reinforcement is to reward good behavior with treats or praise that in turn, encourages the dog to continue exhibiting that behavior.
This way, you can teach your dog to:
- Close in on cattle, sheep or chicken.
- Go counter clockwise.
- Go clockwise.
- Stop and lay down.
Correcting negative behavior should be done calmly and consistently.
Commands for Herding Chickens
Commands such as “walk-up”, “away” and “lie down” can be used to train a Border Collie to herd chickens.
You can also use non-verbal commands, like whistles to herd chicken, although those are usually used for bigger areas and bigger livestock like goats and sheep.
Regardless, these commands should be introduced gradually and with positive reinforcement.
It’s important to monitor the dog’s behavior closely during training and to correct any negative behavior before it becomes a bad habit.
Overall, training a Border Collie to coexist with chickens is possible, but it requires patience and consistency and cannot be taught overnight.
Are Border Collies Good With Chickens? Conclusion
In conclusion, to answer the question “are Border Collies good with chicken” the answer is: Yes, Border Collies can be excellent with chickens as long as they’re trained properly.
They are highly intelligent and trainable dogs that can learn to respect and protect their feathered friends, but it’s important to know the behavioral characteristics of Border Collies before introducing them to chickens.
For this reason, it’s important to supervise the interaction between Border Collies and chickens, from the get-go and to train the dog to behave appropriately around them.
Some Border Collies may have a higher prey drive than others and may be more prone to chasing or attacking chickens.
Therefore, it’s important to:
- Choose a Border Collie that has been bred for a low prey drive.
- Socialize the dog with chickens from a young age.
- If your dog is already an adult, you’ll want to gradually get them accustomed to chickens, before having them work with them.
Overall, Border Collies can be good with chickens if they are properly trained, socialized, and supervised.