Blue Heelers & Chickens: These 4 Factors Decide the Outcome

A young Blue Heeler dog wearing a harness and sitting on the grass.

Blue Heelers are working dogs that are often found on ranches and farms where they are used to herd and protect livestock.

While they can be taught to protect chickens, they may have a natural instinct to hunt and kill them. Proper training is necessary if you plan to keep a Blue Heeler around chickens.

Will Blue Heelers kill chickens? Blue Heelers can chase and kill chickens due to their natural drive to chase and hunt small animals. With proper training, Blue Heelers can be taught to tolerate chickens and, in some cases, even protect them as they would other types of livestock. 

If you have a Blue Heeler and are thinking about allowing your dog around your chickens, know that how the dog responds will be dependent on several factors.

Will Blue Heelers Kill Chickens? It Depends on These Factors

Blue Heelers are trained to chase and herd animals. They often push and even nip at them to get them to move where they want them.

This can be too aggressive for chickens and may cause injury and death. Some Blue Heelers will also chase chickens with the pure intent of harming or killing them.

Let’s go over the factors that will decide whether your Australian Cattle Dog will get along with or torture your flock.

If the Dog Was Raised Around Chickens

Dogs that are raised around chickens are less likely to be aggressive toward them. While they may still try to herd them or boss them around, they won’t attack or harm them purposely if they are used to them.

The Level and Quality of Training

Blue Heelers need to have proper training so that they will not harm chickens and will know how to herd and protect them properly.

The more training a Blue Heeler has and the higher the quality of training, the less likely he will be to harm chickens or any other animal

Whether or Not the Chickens Are Confined

If the chickens are in a coop or fenced area, the Blue Heeler won’t be able to access them and will be less likely to kill them.

If the chickens are loose, the Blue Heeler may be more likely to chase and attack them. 

The Individual Temperament of the Dog

Some Blue Heelers are more aggressive than others, and some are naturally more protective. Aggressive dogs are more likely to attack smaller animals and even kill them.

Dogs that are shy and friendly are more likely to tolerate other animals in their space.

An adult Blue Heeler running across the grass.

Will Blue Heelers Protect Chickens?

While Blue Heelers are bred to herd and protect livestock, they do best with larger animals such as cows and sheep.

They may be trained to protect chickens, but their herding techniques may also be too aggressive for the chickens. 

Will Blue Heelers Herd Chickens?

Blue Heelers have a natural drive to herd, and if the chickens are running loose, they will attempt to herd them.

They may run beside them, shove them, and even nip at them to try to keep them together or to move them to a new area.

Why Some Blue Heelers Will Chase and Kill Chickens

Blue Heelers have a natural drive to chase, and they may see chickens as prey.

When chickens run around or if the Blue Heeler has access to the chicken, he may chase, attack, and kill a chicken just out of pure instinct.

How To Train a Blue Heeler To Protect Your Chickens

Blue Heelers can be trained to protect chickens, but the process is different from how they may be trained to herd larger livestock.

The Blue Heeler should be introduced to the chickens at a young age and exposed to them often.

This will help the dog feel closer to the chickens and see them as something he should protect instead of something he should eat. 

The Blue Heeler should also be trained with specific orders and commands. This helps him realize that he has the job of protecting the chickens.

Monitor the dog carefully anytime he is around the chickens until he begins to show signs that he wants to protect them and shows no aggression toward them. 

Be sure to reward all good behavior instantly (these wholesome tidbits are perfect) to positively reinforce the notion that chickens are not to be harmed in any way. 

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Related Questions: 

Are Blue Heelers Good Watchdogs?

Blue Heelers do make good watchdogs. They are naturally alert and protective. They can also be very verbal and bark to let their owners know that someone or something is nearby. 

Are Blue Heelers Good With Cats?

Blue Heelers are good with cats as long as they have been socialized with them. Introducing Blue Heelers to cats at an early age will ensure they are not aggressive toward them.

Conclusion 

Blue Heelers are bred to protect and herd livestock, and while they do best with larger animals, with proper training, they can be taught to protect chickens.

Early introduction and proper socialization to other animals at an early age can help ensure the Blue Heeler will protect the chickens and be less likely to hurt them.

Last update on 2022-09-30 at 04:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API