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Will a dog help deter a fox attack? What type?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hi, this may sound like an ignorant questions, but I have never had a dog.  I like cats, guinea pigs, birds, but never was a huge dog fan. I am thinking that I may need one, because the foxes are very active lately.  1 fox decimated a neighbor's flock, and we see a second fox in the area now.  I live on an acre, and my yard is not fenced in.  I would be interested in a dog that A) will not attack the chickens when free ranging, B) will attack the fox/raccoon or any other 4 legged predator, C) I am gone long hours during the day so this thing would probably live outside most of the time, if the weather isn't bad.  I don't care if it is a barker - my neighbors have a dog that barks incessantly, 2 roosters that crow all hours (I only mind the roosters between 2AM and 5AM - but they aren't that bad), and a parrot that competes with the dog. 

So any ideas or suggestions??
Thanks!
kim

post #2 of 25

My dog chases the fox off my property actively and I think the fox knows the dog is there.  Not sure if the fox knows that I have chickens though!

post #3 of 25

My dogs do a great job detering predators, but some dogs themselves will be your worst enemy as far as attacking the chickens.

If you really are not interested in a dog, you might try other means. Dogs are a big project in themselves sometimes.

If you do decide to get one, make sure the breed and personality are suited to life outdoors guarding livestock. Many would not be happy, be too needy, and would end up being more work for you in the long run because they were bred for other purposes such as hunting, as companions or such.
I'm sure some of the BYC folks will give you suggestions as to breeds. In my group the border collie and the golden retriever are the best dogs with the chickens (I have five dogs) but they are house dogs who would be WAAAAAAY too needy to spend most of their time outdoors.
You would probably want to rule out most breeds with the word "terrier" behind it too because they were originally bred to kill small vermin (but they might keep rats and mice away from your coop!).

I would think an electric fence would be less trouble for you though if you are not interested in dogs, they require quite a bit of time and attention and training, especially when you first get them, or they end up getting in trouble. Since you are gone long hours of the day that sounds like it would be hard to do.  It sounds like you'd have to find JUST the right dog in your situation and it might be a tall order. You generally want to start with a puppy when you are training a livestock guarding dog but puppies need lots of supervision when they are young to come out right, so you'd have to find one already trained that is an adult. New dogs also need to be trained to stay on unfenced property as well.
So I go back to my suggestion of electric fence if you want something easy. Personally, I find nothing so wonderful as a dog.


Edited by savingdogs - 9/16/10 at 9:14am
Movin' to the country, gonna eat alot of peaches!
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Movin' to the country, gonna eat alot of peaches!
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post #4 of 25

My border collie is a chicken lover (shares his bed with a hen) and fox deterrent.

We  did suffer one fox attack at a distance form the house, but any chickens that have been close to the house have always been safe because of him.

If we ask him "Where's the fox?" he runs around the entire house like a mad thing to ensure nothing is around.

Wouldn't be without him or the chickens.

Sandie

You can see him sharing an outside spot on my avatar


Edited by pgpoultry - 9/16/10 at 9:21am
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your suggestions.  BYC members are awesome! 

I agree that it would be a lot of work.  I think dogs are very cute, but big dogs make me nervous, and since i am not here during the day, the dog would be lonely.  I have always felt really bad when someone has a dog and the poor thing is always outside. And I really don't know much about which breeds are better than others for this sort of thing.  Of course I know what a lab is, or german shephard, but a maltese?  I have no idea what it even looks like!  My friend has a greyhound, and he is a big, mushy dog that wants love.  In my head, he would be great with chickens.  My friend says, "What are you, nuts??  They are trained to chase little fluffy things" (he is an ex-racer).  See, I am ignorant about dogs.

I have been looking into electric fences.  It may seem like a big expense up front, but will be cheaper in the long run.  That, and a trip to PA for an air rifle!

post #6 of 25

I've looked into getting this breed myself - an Ovcharka.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_Ovcharka
Ov's were originally bred in Russia to hunt bears and wolves, and protect land and livestock from both predators and thieves. The wiki page has only a shred of info on them, there are many sites for owners and fans, and from what I've read, they're incredible guard dogs. They learn quickly what is 'acceptable' on the property in terms of animals, and will literally remove anything that isn't 'family' to them. They are quiet, and prefer to sit and watch their territory rather than play. Unlike most dogs that bark to repel unwanted guests, Ov's will confront them physically (if your foxes see a 200lb bear-hunter coming towards them, I don't think they'll stick around!) Many owners say that their dogs are nurturing and very tolerant of small children, tugging on tails and ears, etc. Ov's were used by the East German border patrol after WWII, to deter people from escaping to West Germany; their handlers had no need to carry firearms. After the Wall fell, thousands of these dogs were let loose, but instead of becoming vicious pack animals, many of them were adopted by families and adapted well to the family lifestyle. Here's a vid of an Ov playfighting with a dog a fraction of his size: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL9J8_NV530



Another
great guard dog, if you have lots of running space, is the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovakian_Wolfdog It was created in the 50's by breeding Czech German Shepherds with European wolves, to create a very trainable and loyal dog, with the build and stamina of a wolf. Again, they don't like to play much. They are happiest when they are 'working', or accomplishing a task. They won't want to be your lap dog, following you everywhere; they'd prefer to walk the borders of 'their land' and keep an eye on the flock. Here's one enjoying her first snow smilehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_Sygqj_TVA

And
finally, my personal fave and the old standby - get yourself a German Sheperd or a GH cross. They have the weight and size to scare off a fox, they're fantastic around kids, very obedient, can understand a vast vocabulary, playful, and will protect its 'family'. You could even get a pair, as they are pack animals and can coordinate protection of a flock between two dogs. Here's a pretty ballsy chicken attacking a GH, who doesn't really know WHAT is going on lol! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=233VEL8kbY0

Fiancée to a handsome DIY'er, personal assistant to a fat, loveable adopted cat (Rommel), lap nest to 3 little girl rats (Willow, Mouse, and Keebler) and urban farmgirl! I've got one bearded buff laced Polish named Buttercup, one big, brutish White Leghorn named Dolce and one sweet peep of a Barred Plymouth Rock Named Buttons
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Fiancée to a handsome DIY'er, personal assistant to a fat, loveable adopted cat (Rommel), lap nest to 3 little girl rats (Willow, Mouse, and Keebler) and urban farmgirl! I've got one bearded buff laced Polish named Buttercup, one big, brutish White Leghorn named Dolce and one sweet peep of a Barred Plymouth Rock Named Buttons
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post #7 of 25

I personally would go with a Great Pyrenees with foxes or coyotes, or anything you need to be protected from. They are large dogs (80-125lbs) but I believe an acre would be fine for them. You can google them and you'll see there are a few places that have rescues. I know folks that have labs and German Shepherds, but I personally know of folks that have had problems with them and chickens. Good luck.

http://dogtime.com/great-pyrenees.html


Edited by carrlr - 9/16/10 at 10:18am
Married to my highschool sweetheart, 3 children, 4 grand-children, 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 cockatiels, 4 BO, 4 BR, 2 RIRs, 2 Red SL, 2 black SL, 1 White Leghorn
"No unemployment insurance can be compared to an alliance between man and a plot of land." ~ Henry Ford
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Married to my highschool sweetheart, 3 children, 4 grand-children, 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 cockatiels, 4 BO, 4 BR, 2 RIRs, 2 Red SL, 2 black SL, 1 White Leghorn
"No unemployment insurance can be compared to an alliance between man and a plot of land." ~ Henry Ford
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post #8 of 25

I have had a Westie that has done a great job guarding our yard from Raccoons, foxes and rats.  Sadly, he is old and recently got sick and blind.  He has been a great indoor dog with a keen interest in protecting our small yard.  He would spend hours patrolling the yard then come inside.  We have never had raccoon problems though our neighbors have plenty.  The breed would not be good for leaving alone for long periods of time; however.  It would seem too small to defend against foxes and larger problems, but he never knew that.

He is now retired and we are considering what breed to get next.  Thanks for the thread as I am now considering the next pet and one of its duties is to protect the flock.

Because all I can think about now is chickens, I have started designing chicken merchandise at Urban Chicken Merchandise.  Check it out if you like.
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Because all I can think about now is chickens, I have started designing chicken merchandise at Urban Chicken Merchandise.  Check it out if you like.
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post #9 of 25

Do you have friends with dogs?  You could invite them over (when the chickens are ***securely*** in their coop) and let them mark their territory (pee every where).  This will, at least, slow the foxes down.  It could also be your oportunity to get to know some dogs.  You do not have to own one, but you should appreciate the joy of interacting with dogs.  You can also order "Predator Pee" on the internet.

Good luck.

How did I go from 4 to 24 chickens?

"I am but an egg." 
        Valentine Michael Smith in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.
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How did I go from 4 to 24 chickens?

"I am but an egg." 
        Valentine Michael Smith in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.
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post #10 of 25

I suggest looking into live stock guarding breeds.  Surely someone has experience with smaller dog breeds that can serve purpose of wooping fox but not cost too much to feed and house.  We had black and tans raised as puppies in keep with chickens that kept varmints out.  Since you do not have a dog now it opens up option to get pup that can be properly imprinted on birds.  One acre is a small area for a dog to patrol therefore some sort of cofinement such invisble fencing might be needed.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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