Dogs eating chicken faeces isn’t abnormal
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