Dogs eat­ing chicken fae­ces isn’t ab­nor­mal

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

Q I have a three-month-old puppy who I take on a lead to see my free-rang­ing chick­ens twice a day. Al­though she is very good around the chick­ens and watches them qui­etly, she has a dis­gust­ing habit of eat­ing the chicken poo. Is this nor­mal be­haviour and is there any­thing I can do about it?

A Julie Moore says: Al­though a re­volt­ing habit, it is per­fectly nor­mal for dogs to eat fae­ces — the sci­en­tific term is co­propha­gia. Dogs eat fae­ces for a num­ber of rea­sons: for ex­am­ple, as a sur­vival mech­a­nism a mother dog will eat the fae­ces of her lit­ter to cover their tracks and pre­vent preda­tors hunt­ing them down.

One rea­son your puppy may be eat­ing chicken poo is be­cause it is a rich source of pro­tein, en­zymes, B vi­ta­mins and a host of other nu­tri­tional fac­tors. If she is be­ing fed a com­mer­cial, pro­cessed dry food diet, it is likely that she is seek­ing out other sources of nutri­tion that she is lack­ing in the dry food.

It is not prac­ti­cal or real­is­tic to clear up poo from free rang­ing chick­ens, es­pe­cially if you have a large rang­ing area. When you take your puppy into the range, you should start to teach her to ‘leave’ when she goes in to eat. Con­sider chang­ing her diet to one that is more nutri­tious. Your vet will be able to ad­vise you fur­ther.

Dogs eat chicken fae­ces for a num­ber of rea­sons

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