The neighbors “adopted”(?) four red chickens about two weeks ago. They usually keep them in a rabbit hutch in the very back corner of their yard, close to the fence that separates our yards. they recently put up a metal fence around the area where they put the hutch to replace the foldable pen they had been using….
The first time that Callie and Shadow saw the chickens, they went “ballistic” – running from one end of the fence to the other, barking their fool heads off – until I was able to rein them in and claim the fence near the spot where the neighbors had the pen set up. (The neighbors, meanwhile, just ignored the dogs mostly because their own two dogs were running along the fence with my two, barking at them. It’s a game the dogs play with each other.) Once the game with the neighbors’ dogs was finished, Callie and Shadow relaxed and went about their business of sniffing out the chipmunk holes in various parts of our yard.
The next time the dogs and I went outside (and several times since), both dogs ran out to the back of the yard by the hutch and sniffed around at the fence and then just walked away. At times, when the neighbors have had the chickens in the pen in the middle of their yard, Callie sits at the fence quietly watching every move. She doesn’t make a sound, she just sits there watching the chickens. The fence is only four feet high, so if she wanted to she could probably jump over it to get to the chickens….then again, she has arthritis in her left hip so maybe she instinctively knows not to try? Prey drive? I’m not sure. I’d be interested to hear what Cesar Millan would have to say about it. I do know, though, that when I put myself between her and the fence, Callie will walk away and go check out whatever Shadow’s doing somewhere else in the yard.
Lately it seems like Callie and Shadow have become used to the idea of the chickens being back there….they run along the fence to the back of the yard, sniff at the fence a few times, and then just walk away if the chickens are in the hutch.