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Adding a dog to the flock?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I've been thinking about this one for the past two days now:

 

Is it a good/bad idea to get a dog to protect your flock of chickens? Here's my scenario: I have a small backyard flock, my backyard is about an acre of flat land with some surrounding trees and I live in a colder area. I had a fox take two 3 month old cockerels back in early October. Before that, I had something sneak into my coop and drag out 10 chickens! I did beef up the coop after that so that no predator can get in (and they haven't gotten in since). I was wondering if it is possible to get a dog to protect the flock, if so, what dog breed would be good for colder temperatures and a good protector yet calm and gentle towards humans? Thanks!

post #2 of 3
Raising a dog correctly then hoping it will protect your flock is a big investment as well as a gamble. It can take 2-3 years for a dog to mature. I love my dogs, but I wouldn't want one out with my chickens. Flock guarding dogs need to bond and live with what they are protecting and are often aloof and not good with people. I think investing in some electric poultry fencing or even so 4 foot tall wire to enclose a larger area would have a more reliable outcome plus larger dogs don't often live past 10 years old, so you would need to keep replacing them.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 3
LGDs are the best predator protection there is. However the puppies take a great deal of experience, time and training. They are great pets too in my opinion, as long as you make the effort to bond them to you and give them socialization off the property, but they are large, loud, and always on duty. Not good dogs if you have close neighbors or a ton of activity right next to your property.

If I (a dog lover) were you, I would look for an adult Great Pyrenees or Anatolian Shepherd who has already worked as a livestock guardian dog and has been around loose chickens. They are definitely out there and available. They will be at least a few hundred $$ though. These dogs have the best genetic basis for being poultry safe and they are very healthy and can deal with all temperatures.

I have no chickens or livestock yet, but I have an Anatolian who just turned a year old. By the time I get my chickens (next spring) he will be over his rowdy adolescent stage and I will train him, first to guard the coop at night and eventually (this will take time) to be out during the day with pastured or free ranging chickens. The hardest thing will probably be getting him to stay outside at night - right now he considers guarding us his only job. Generally, with proper training an adult LGD breed with no livestock experience can still end up being a great LGD.
Edited by animalcule - 4/7/16 at 12:44pm
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