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How Do I Expose My Chicks to House Pets or Other Animals?

by Southern States
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Having your chickens and family pets live happily ever after may take a little work on your part, but it can happen! Take these steps to introduce your dog or cat to your chicks while keeping your feathered friends safe.

Step One:  Expose baby chicks to other animals and pets slowly. Before any official introduction, expose your pet to your chickens' scent by letting your pet smell your hands each time after handling the chicks. By the time your pet sees the chicks for the first time, it will be well accustomed to their scent.

Step Two:  Next, let your pet observe as you interact with the chicks. Choose a time when your pet is the most calm - after play time or after a meal are great times for supervised interaction. Even if your pet seems uninterested in the brooder or the chicks, do not leave your pet unattended. Reprimand your pet for any aggressive behavior towards your chickens such as chasing, snapping, or growling.

Step Three: Once the chickens have been moved outside, your pet should be familiar with them, and, hopefully, tolerate their presence. Let your dog or cat explore the new chicken house before your brood takes over. If your pet is able to get along with your chickens, you should feel comfortable letting them mingle in the yard together. Always be diligent and keep an eye on your pets when they are in the yard with the chickens. Remember, something unexpected could provoke your pet to act aggressively toward your chickens even after your have follows the steps to introduce them.

In many cases, your house pets will begin to see your chickens as part of the family and prove to be loving guardians to the flock and valuable protectors from outside predators. For more information, please see our additional articles on poultry care. You can also check out our Poultry Flock Care video series on YouTube!

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