If you’re a Sheltie owner and you also keep chickens, you may be wondering whether these furry friends can coexist peacefully. After all, Shelties were originally bred for herding purposes. In this discussion, we’ll explore this question and provide you with tips for ensuring that your Sheltie and chickens can live together harmoniously.
Are Shelties good with chickens?
Yes, Shelties are active, alert, intelligent, and strong dogs that can be trained to become livestock guardians and guard chickens. However, this requires proper training, socialization, supervision, and other proven tactics.
While Shelties can live with chickens, it’s important to remember that they are still canines. This means that they require proper training to ensure that they behave appropriately around your feathered friends. Taking incorrect approaches to training can lead to unexpected problems.
In our upcoming discussion, we’ll explore the best ways to train your Sheltie to coexist with chickens and provide you with tips for keeping your furry friend and chickens safe and happy. Don’t miss out on this informative conversation that can help you build a peaceful and harmonious household.
Are Shelties Chicken-Friendly? [An In-depth answer]
Shetland sheepdogs are also known as shelties, are intelligent, active, affectionate, strong, gentle, alert, and responsive dog breed. So, shelties are known for pretty much all kinds of purposes.
I hope you have heard of Border Collies and their herding capabilities. When it comes to shelties, they also pretty much talented in herding animals.
Can you see much appearance difference of comparing them one and another? We clearly know that border collies can live with pretty much any kind of pet or farm animal.
When we think about shelties, they can live with almost any kind of pet. But, they cannot stay with any type of farm animals. Initially, shelties were used for herding purposes until commercial livestock farming needs large breeds.
But, here, our problem is whether shelties are good with chickens. To get a good understanding of this matter, I contacted several poultry farm owners who own shelties.
So their response was as follows.
91.7% for yes. So, we can accept the answer as shelties can live with shelties. 5.6% for no. I was later able to find out what the problem was with these 5.6% owners.
The common problem was as follows.
These owners said that mixing shelties with their chickens just isn’t worked out. They mentioned that their shelties don’t have any tendency to harm chickens whatsoever. But their natural “herding” instinct causes panic in the chickens, and this is not something that can accept.
Because that’s not good for egg production. Moreover, they mentioned that when hens run here and there, they could be caused to break eggs.
So, these owners used to separate their shelties from the poultry. Some owners let their shelties out during the first part of the day while letting the poultry out in the evening.
Obviously, It doesn’t seem like an excellent long-term solution.
Here I wanna emphasize that 91.7% of owners have still been able to keep shelties and chickens together. So, Finally, we can conclude that the shelties are chicken-friendly.
But, I wanna mention here that shelties and chickens cannot keep together without adequate training, socialization, obedience, and several other essential factors. Don’t worry. We gonna discuss that before the end of this article.
Common characteristics of dogs that can guard chickens?
Suppose you wanna raise a dog to guard your poultry. In that case, it’s essential to do some research on that specific breed and its temperament in order to prevent some unexpected issues.
In fact, We can see some common traits and behaviors of dogs that are able to protect chickens and stay at peace with the poultry.
These dogs should be,
- can bear up extreme temperatures
- At least moderately energetic
- Medium-sized or large
- Protective toward the poultry.
- Can even live outside
Besides the above characteristics, these dogs should be able to
- Herd the poultry.
- Should be alerted to the possible disturbances on the farm area.
- Protect the poultry from predators. (An individual dog cannot do this. having several dogs will give unimaginable protection)
Can shelties guard chickens?
Almost all shelties can guard chickens. To answer this problem, I need to consider several things to give a more comprehensive answer to this problem.
If you don’t have much experience with canines and own a sheltie as a first-time dog owner, It will be a little difficult. But, it won’t be as hard as “needy” dogs. So, with the right approaches, your sheltie will adapt to you and your chickens.
You know what? Some percentage of shelties are a little bit hyper, and a little bit tough to calm them down. So, if you own one of them, guess what? You gotta protect the chicken from the sheltie instead of letting the sheltie protect the chickens.
Suppose you are already a poultry owner and looking forward to buying a dog. In that case, I recommend buying a sheltie puppy instead of a somewhat grown sheltie.
Because if you buy a puppy, he cannot harm the chickens whatsoever. In fact, as this sheltie puppy grows over time, he will get used to chickens. That means You don’t need special training to introduce your dog to chickens.
Suppose you already own a dog and chickens and look to buy another dog for extra poultry protection. Just buy a sheltie. Because shelties can easily get along with other dogs.
So, as we discussed earlier, shelties can guard your chickens with good training. But, how to train them? Don’t worry. We will discuss that next.
How to train your sheltie to guard chickens and stay with them?
If you really wanna get a sheltie as a livestock guardian dog, No worries. Because shelties are alert, loyal, strong, trainable, and intelligent dog breeds.
So, training your sheltie to guard chickens is not as difficult as other average dogs. For example, training a Basset hound to guard chickens can be really really hard.
But you gotta be extremely patient with the training process. But to keep your sheltie with chickens, you need to meet a few requirements.
- Basic obedience training.
- Regular vet checkups.
- Adequate nutrition plan.
- Easy access to food and water
- Regular grooming.
- Collar with license and ID tag.
- Clothing or shoes that can withstand low temperatures.
So, it’s time to figure out the method that can be used to train your sheltie to guard chickens and live with them.
Suppose you already own poultry and bought a slightly grown dog or already own a sheltie and decided to start a poultry farm. In both cases, a grown sheltie gonna interact with chickens.
So, you have to be a little more careful here. Because sometimes the sheltie could chase after chickens and Injured them or even kill them. Who knows, worse things can happen.
First, you gotta keep them apart from each other by using a fencing net. Figure out how your sheltie interacts with chickens through the fencing net. If he is not aggressive toward them or really sweet to them, your sheltie will be able to live with chickens without so many problems. (Still need some training)
Check several times if the sheltie shows at least a sign of aggression. If not, you are good to go. Go ahead and let your sheltie go inside the poultry.
But remember, still you have to supervise him. So, ensure to stay close to the dog. After 10-20 minutes, separate the dog.
Suppose your sheltie is still a puppy. In this case, guarding chickens is not a realistic task for him. But, if you can arrange a place nearby the poultry that can be used to stay when he wanted, the Sheltie puppy will get used to chickens pretty much effortlessly.
Now is the time to create an excellent place for your sheltie nearby the place where chickens sleep. But don’t forget to thoroughly chicken-proof the dog’s area. You have to make sure that the chicken cannot access the dog’s place whatsoever.
Why? Because they should not compete for food. If it happens, It may cause bad memories in the dog’s memory with chickens.
In fact, provide all the needs and wants of your dog to bear up the cold.
Suppose now your sheltie is completely friendly with chickens and not showing any kind of aggression toward them. So, you gotta closely check if he spends his time with chickens or sleeping far away from the chickens.
In fact, create an artificial treat to check if the dog investigates the treat by barking or any kind of reaction. If he stays far away from the poultry, just bring him up to the closer and spend some time with him while providing some treats.
So, you can easily make an artificial threat by throwing a small stone. Now take a look at your dog’s behavior. If he starts to bark or any kind of positive behavior (that you will easily understand), appreciate him by giving some treats.
Check if he used to walk away from the chickens and wander throughout the farm. If so, make a small commotion in the poultry and check his behavior.
If the sheltie comes to rescue the chickens right away, nice! He is a good boy!
Please understand that you should always supervise your sheltie as he grows with chickens. Ensure to reward him by giving some tasty puppy treats and motivate him.
Things to be aware of
Now you have a proper understanding of whether shelties are good with chickens. But, this is not enough. There are several other essential things you should be aware of. So, let’s figure out what they are.
- The first thing is first. You need to find out if your sheltie is in good health to stay outside and protect chickens. So, first, consult a vet. In fact, don’t forget regular vet checkups.
- Give proper socialization. Starting good socialization when he turned in at least 12 weeks would be a great thing to do.
- Spend some quality time with him. So, you can play fetch with your sheltie for about 30 minutes and cuddle him just to let him feel that you care about him.
- Always feed on time, do not let him starve. If not, he will be aggressive toward chickens.
Most people love these lovable, affectionate, devoted, furry friends. In fact, most people are curious to know if shelties are good with chickens. So, this entire article is completely dedicated to that curiosity and other related concerns. Hope you found this helps. Have a nice day.