Monday, March 10, 2014

Turning a Suburban Dog into a Chicken Lover

For those of you who have not met our 8-year-old yellow labrador, Kramer, he is as sweet as dogs come.   Just like his namesake, Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld, he is goofy, clumsy and not at all intimidating.  We didn't have much anxiety about him meeting and getting along with the Goldhen Girls because he truly gets along with any person or animal he meets. The chickens ganging up on him is much more likely to happen than him going after the chickens. 

We introduced Kramer to his new feathered friends the day after we brought them home.  We weren't sure how he would react to birds in his garage so for the initial meeting my husband held tight to Kramer as the girls and I watched over the chickens.  As soon as he took notice to the chicks he went on high alert. He stood paralyzed with his ears perked forward looking like a hunting dog who was waiting for the command from his master to retrieve the bird he just shot.  After a few minutes of calmly talking to Kramer and allowing him to sniff the chicks a bit, we wrote it off as a successful meet-and-greet and ushered him back inside the house.

We have made sure that Kramer spends time with our Goldhen Girls every day since they have been home and he has relaxed quite a bit.  Now when he  comes to see the chicks he moseys on over to the brooder box, sticks his head in, sniffs a few times and then loses interest quickly.  To be honest, I think he only pays them a visit now because he thinks he may be able to swipe some of their food. Typical labrador.

Now with all that being said, I just recently read an article called Even Good Farm Dogs Make Mistakes from the Backyard Poultry Magazine that really made me think about how we will successfully integrate Kramer with our chickens once they are in the backyard.  As good as he is, there may come a time when he gives in to his animals instincts and attacks or plays too rough with the chickens.  We won't take that chance and will be supervising them when they are roaming freely together.  

The bottom line: We like our chickens very much, but are definitely looking out for Kramer.  We will make sure he isn't totally kicked out of his backyard once the girls move outside which is approaching quickly.

Thanks for reading!

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