Are Great Pyrenees Good With Chickens? Read This First!

Great Pyrenees are known for their large size and gentle temperament. Bred to be livestock guardians, many Pyrenees spend their days protecting larger animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats.

Because of that, many new Pyrenees owners wonder if their new puppy will be good with chickens. So…

Do Great Pyrenees Protect Chickens?

The simple answer is YES! Great Pyrenees can and do protect chickens from hawks, coyotes, and other predators.

Great Pyrenees are natural protectors. In fact, a recent study, which was conducted by researchers at Auburn University, looked at the behavior of Great Pyrenees dogs when they were left alone with chickens.

The results showed that the majority of dogs did in fact stay close to the chickens and displayed behaviors that indicated they were protecting them from potential threats.

Even So, Your Great Pyrenees Can Still Kill Your Chickens

If you have a Great Pyrenees dog, you may be under the impression that he or she would never hurt a chicken. After all, these dogs are gentle giants and are well known for being a common livestock guardian breed.

However, even though your Great Pyrenees is unlikely to kill a chicken on purpose, it’s still important to take precautions to protect your feathered friends.

Especially when they’re puppies, there’s always the possibility that your Pyrenees could catch and kill one of your chickens while they’re playing. Supervised chicken visits are a MUST with your new Pyrenees puppy – never leave them together without you.

How To Introduce Your Pyrenees to Your Chickens

When you bring home your Pyrenees, the first thing you should do is introduce them to your chickens. This is important because the Pyrenees will need to learn that the chickens are not a threat.

To do this, put your puppy on a leash and take him or her to where the chickens are. Allow your dog to get close to the chickens and watch how they react.

If your dog shows interest in chasing or harming the chickens, you will need to correct this behavior. Continue this until your Pyrenees starts ignoring your chickens, which is the desired reaction from your puppy.

A rod or long stick with a rag tied to the end is a great training tool for puppies. When they begin acting up, hitting the ground in front of them will let them know their action wasn’t correct.

Warning Signs To Watch Out for in Your Pyrenees

Typically, the first action of your new puppy won’t be killing a chicken. There are several warning signs your dog will show first, some of which include –

Stalking Your Chickens

Whether it’s for play or for prey, stalking chickens is something you need to stop immediately, as this behavior always leads to more dangerous actions.

In order to best protect your chickens, it is important to keep your dog properly supervised when it is in the backyard and make sure that it knows that the chickens are off-limits.

Chasing Your Chickens

It may seem funny at first when your new puppy runs through a group of chickens, but this action can be very dangerous for your chickens long-term.

Even though it’s not as strong as other breeds, the chicken commotion caused by chasing can engage your puppy’s predator instincts and cause them to start hunting your birds.

As they grow, your Pyrenees may see your chickens as an easy target whenever they get hungry.

Aggression/Roughness Towards Smaller Pets

Great Pyrenees are known for being gentle and sweet with children, but sometimes they can be rough with smaller pets.

For instance, our Great Pyrenees will nip at our smaller indoor dog occasionally when she’s put outside to use the bathroom. When our Pyrenees is like this, we seem to have issues with her and our chickens on those days too.

What Is the Best Age for a Pyrenees To Begin Training With Chickens?

There is no definitive answer to this question as some Pyrenees are great with chickens immediately, while others will have issues for months or years.

However, many experts agree that the minimum age for a Pyrenees to be trusted with chickens full-time is six months old. More commonly, most Pyrenees are ready when they’re between one and two years old.

This allows the dog enough time to mature and learn how to properly interact with the chickens without all of the excess puppy energy.

What Are Some Good Places To Find a “Chicken Guarding” Pyrenees?

Great Pyrenees are fiercely loyal to their families and their protective instincts make them perfect for guarding flocks of chickens.

If you want a working puppy, it’s important that you get them from working parents. This means that they have been around chickens and other livestock as guardian dogs.

The best places to check are Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace as these will connect you with the families directly. You will know if the puppies were born on a farm, or if they live in-town in a subdivision.

If you’re willing to work through some potential behavioral issues, animal rescues can also be a good place to check too. Keep in mind that dogs you find there may be there because they weren’t able to be trusted around livestock.

You will want to avoid pet stores and professional breeders entirely where you can’t get a complete backstory on the puppy and its parents.

In conclusion, the Pyrenees dog is a great protector for chickens, but typically not without some training.

Without proper training, they may intentionally or unintentionally hurt your chickens. If you love your chickens and your new Pyrenees puppy, proper training is a must!

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