The Integration of Chickens and Dogs...and Cat


We have three dogs, two Dachshunds and one Chocolate Lab, and they have three extremely different personalities. So, when we decided to begin the adventure of backyard chickens, one of the first questions my wife asked was, “How are we going to introduce the dogs to the chickens?” and my response was, “Well, until we got Frasier (our 2 year old cat), the dogs had never even seen a cat, and they’re all buddies now, I’m sure it will be the same with the chickens.” Good response, right? Consider this one of the few times that my wife asked me a question, I answered it, and the answer wasn’t followed by eight more questions.  She was happy with my response, I was happy not to be further questioned, and the pets will be happy to include a few more members of the family. Everyone was happy; fast forward a few weeks……not everyone is as happy anymore.

When the chicks were in the brooder, life was pretty easy. We kept them in a large aquarium, with a wire top, in a spare bedroom, and just kept the door shut pretty much all the time. Occasionally, we would let our Lab, Hershel, in to take a look; and sometimes when I was replacing water or feed, the cat would sneak in and immediately jump on the screen top, sending everyone into a hysterical panic. But, no big deal, I would grab Frasier, throw him out of the room, and order would immediately be restored. The chicks would calm down, having just been saved from the giant beast hovering above, licking his lips at the site of a hearty lunch; and Frasier would go back to the drawing board to plot a new plan for ‘Operation: Thanksgiving in June.’ 


The two Dachshunds, meanwhile, weren’t sure what was going on. All they knew was that there was something in that room Frasier was obsessed with, and that was enough for them. They would wait by the door, occasionally let out a little whimper, as if they were saying, “Hey! We NEED to find out what the heck is in there that’s so interesting to the cat!” After a few minutes though, Brownford, the older and more relaxed Dachshund, would go crawl in bed for a nap, and Freddie, the younger and typically out of control Dachshund, would go back to looking out the window. Thankfully the three of them never thought to combine forces and work together; they probably could have caused some damage. But, of course, the cat is too prideful to work with the dogs, and the dogs are too dumb to think about working with the cat.

9/24/2013 9:36:15 PM

Benjamin, oh, the drama on the homestead. Animals put together in an un natural culture can indeed pose some issues. They can learn to tolerate each other but very few ever become buddies. Good luck with integrating your menagerie together. Have a great homestead day.

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