Al­low new neigh­bours to in­tro­duce dog to chick­ens on a lead

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QNew peo­ple have moved in next door and they have a large dog. Should I worry about my chick­ens when they are in our gar­den?

AAnne Perdeaux says: Dog own­ers can some­times be sur­prised by their pet’s be­hav­iour when con­fronted with other an­i­mals, so you are right to be con­cerned. Firstly, it would be wise to en­sure that your gar­den fencing is chicken proof. If the chick­ens es­cape next door, the dog may see them as in­vad­ing its ter­ri­tory and couldn’t be blamed for re­act­ing ac­cord­ingly. It is not so easy to make a gar­den com­pletely dog or fox-proof, but you may be able to make ac­cess more dif­fi­cult — or con­sider us­ing elec­tric poul­try net­ting to safe­guard your flock. As ran­dom dog and fox at­tacks on chick­ens are com­mon, these would be sen­si­ble pre­cau­tions.

As you don’t want to risk up­set­ting the new neigh­bours by ap­pear­ing to mis­trust their pet, you could ask them round with the dog (on a lead) and see how it re­acts when ap­proach­ing the chicken run. This ex­per­i­ment could be rather trau­matic for your chick­ens, but at least you will know if there is a risk, and so will the dog’s own­ers. Treat your chick­ens for any stress with ap­ple cider vine­gar in their wa­ter (20ml per litre of wa­ter in a plas­tic drinker).

Af­ter the chick­ens meet the new dog next door, treat them for stress with ap­ple cider vine­gar

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