Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dog + Chickens

While we haven't yet committed money nor signed a contract with her breeder, it's pretty certain that we're keeping Rosemary.

How do you deny a face like this?

Or resist this stubby little body?

Rosemary is fantastic with the chickens, all things considered.  She's a very sensitive dog and has been very well trained.  It takes very little correction to stop her from chasing or even really looking at the chickens.  I take her with me every time I go into the run to let the girls out of the coop or lock them up for the night.  She's on a short leash, of course, but it's going well. 

The chickens are starting to trust that she's not going to eviscerate them, though the Polish are still easily spooked due to their limited vision.  Overall the girls have really relaxed when she's nearby.

Here are a few of them watching Rosemary last weekend.  They're alert - you can see that several of them have their necks are slightly extended - but not freaked out.  Some of them pretty much ignore her, which is what we want.

Here's Dozer, our barred Plymouth Rock, watching Rosemary explore the yard. 

They definitely give Rosemary lots of space.  If she moves too fast or in an unpredictable manner they're pretty quick to get away.  In this pic she was more interested in eating the grass than getting after the chickens.

Last weekend she pushed the gate (pictured above) open while I was cleaning the chickens' waterer.  Granted, Beaker was able to push the gate open when she was broody, hence the bungee in all the pics.  I turned around to see her in with the girls, just hanging out.  Gah!  I shooed her out as fast as I could without scaring the girls and any potential crisis was averted.
We'll continue to monitor the chicken-dog interactions very closely so that we don't get complacent.  As good as she is with the chickens so far, she has still shown interest a number of times in chasing them when they spook.  That could simply be her herding instinct - corgis are herding dogs, believe it or not - but she hasn't earned our trust with the girls yet. 

In time we'd like Rosemary to help guard the hens and keep them in their area of the yard.  But for now the interactions are strictly monitored.  Chickens, who don't tend to flock in the same way that waterfowl do, might drive a herding dog bonkers.

For now I'll be happy if I can get her to stop eating the chickens' crap!  I've never had a dog who is so interested in other animals' fecal matter. She's either eating it or rolling in it.  Bleh!

But she's still pretty darn cute and she's a pretty darn good dog.

1 comment:

  1. I swear, Corgi butts are the CUTEST things in the world! Glad to hear it's working out!