Spanish Mastiffs and Poultry

One of the most common questions I get from prospective buyers is if my Spanish Mastiffs are poultry safe. While there are many out there who offer their versions of “Chicken 101” lessons, and some will even charge a fee just to speak to you on the phone, the fact is LGDs were never bred to guard poultry. HOWEVER, the good news is some will take to it very easily, and most can be taught not to bounce the birds. Still, a few just may never take to it at all. In my experience, the best bet is to start with a breeder who has poultry. This way the puppy has been around poultry from the very start. This is important, because by the time they go to their new homes the novelty has worn off. In addition, most roosters are pretty intolerant of curious puppies invading their hens space and will let the puppy know that becoming too familiar results in an unpleasant experience. Although a great start, with exposure to poultry will put your puppy miles ahead of the game, the reality is, at some point, your now 8 or 9 month old (or younger) puppy who has been a perfect lady or gentleman with your poultry, may decide that a squawking bundle of feathers running around is just too big a temptation to pass up. If you have an aggressive enough rooster, he may put a stop to it, however a boisterous 100 lb. puppy can be too much to handle for your rooster, so it’s best to be prepared. This is where correction and distraction become your best friends. Puppy must not be allowed free access to poultry without supervision;, move him to an area where he can see the birds, but cannot access them. Again, allow him free range with poultry only under your supervision. I’ve found the best time to do this is during the warmest part of the day when everyone is less active. It’s important initially to really watch for any staring or eye contact between puppy and chicken as you must immediately correct your pup when they even look interested. Now that you have their attention, call them to you and at this point I like to give them a raw, meaty bone as both a reward for giving me their attention and to distract away from the poultry. Give lots of positive reinforcement as long as she is not showing interest. This method, if started at the first sign of interest in your poultry will keep both puppy and poultry safe. It’s actually a time consuming, but simple process! Here are some photos and videos of our dogs with their poultry. Some of the photos were taken here and a couple others were taken by our puppy buyers at home.

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Brava de Duelos y Quebrantos calm as always while these new pullets become acclimated….
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I have no idea what this rooster is saying to Lola…
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Jubilee and some of her poultry, courtesy of Bridget Piccione.
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Meeting some new pullets…
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Sele, not sharing her turkey neck!
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Tiles de Abelgas walking his hen…

 

 

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