Absolute BEST protection for chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Cdpauling, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. Cdpauling

    Cdpauling New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2014
    Hello All,

    I have free-ranging chickens on ten acres that have an excellent predator proof coop. My problem is when they are free-ranging. I actually lost my favorite turkey to a coyote in the middle of the day. It is a random thing that occurs, not a daily or even weekly occurrence. We had gotten an Anatolian shepherd and at 4 months old he ate four chickens in one day. We had to give him to a farm with large animals because he would not stop eating our birds. Now we are trying to decide what to do, we have not lost a bird in a couple of months but we know it is coming. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!!!
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    First get the dog back as you had not even reached the point where real training begins. Start setting up perimeters that keep you dog in and provide coyotes with an easy to not boundary dog needs to only reinforce. Then start working on cover patches that birds can concentrate their activities around within area dog can get to and protect. Cover patches can provide time for birds until dog gets their. A rooster or two can help with hawk issues again buying time for dog to get there. Red fox will be biggest headache once you get the dog as those buggers will still try to come in even under dog's nose. Fox will use fencing against dog. Two dogs better than one and think speed rather than fighting ability for second dog. Fence will keep fighting needs out.
     
  3. Cdpauling

    Cdpauling New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2014
    We kept the Anatolian for quite some time actually, we just recently gave him up. I should have state that at 4 months old he BEGAN eating chickens. I will not go that route again. We have the ten acres fenced in and I plan on buying bushes/shrubs this spring to plant around the coop and in some open areas considering we do have red-tailed hawks as well. I have heard several suggestions as far as trapping or killing predators. I will not do this as I am a wildlife biologist and I just can not do that for so many reasons, the biggest being how pointless it is. Anyways, small rant there, sorry. I am not sure why the Anatolian never learned, I have owned several dogs and was always able to train. Hell, I can even train Reindeer! I was not able to train him. The other dogs I have can not handle weather as well or are small in comparison to the healthy coyotes we have here. Do you have a specific dog breed you prefer?
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    2 years is when I polish dogs for poultry. Every last one of my dogs that proved worth a crap killed a bird or two at least before being broken in. They also tended to consume the birds as well. That same behavior helps dogs learn alarms and transitions to attentions towards the real bad guys later.

    I use German Pointers for protecting free-range birds. Next dog will be an Akbash as has good speed and may be more trainable than most LGD breeds. From that point on I will be fielding at least one of each breed. The LGD is the power and pointer is the speed and smarts, especially when it is hot. Pointers have access to house which is centrally located relative to free-range flocks during the growing season. Dogs also keep me in the loop as some problems dogs alert me to no dog can fix.

    I am a zoologist and also avoid kiling wildlife where practical which is most of time. I can train but have not been formally trained in such myself.
     
  5. Cdpauling

    Cdpauling New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2014
    Ah, it is nice to meet a fellow biologist!!! Thank you for the information, I am finding it very useful. I did not wait 2 years for the Anatolian that we had. He was close but not there yet. He just went on a murderous rampage at least once a week and it was eating away at my flock and pocket book. It was awful. I absolutely hate getting an animal and then giving it away. That is a problem with most domestic animals and the fact that I contributed to it still bothers me. The Akbash may be a good consideration though!
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    My approach is to treat even the LGD as a hunting dog. It need not even be imprinted in the birds. Rather dog needs to think chickens are simply on the do not molest list or trash list. The difference is where hunting dogs are trained to target one species only, with the poultry guarding use the dogs are trained go after a broader range of targets but not chickens. No real training other than looking at bad guy and saying get him. Hawks and owls still fair game and encouraged and chickens help with former.

    Look into poultry netting that is electrified. Even when not hot it stops a lot of bad guys, especially when it encompasses a bramble patch or tall prairie patch. Making so you have a mixed sex flocks also goes a long way towards protecting birds.
     
  7. Cdpauling

    Cdpauling New Egg

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    Awesome, thank you for the advice! I do have a mixed sex flock. I actually have a Rhode Island Red rooster and Jersey Giant rooster. We have a breeding pair of Toulouse Geese, as well as a breeding pair of Red Bourbon and Blue Slate turkeys. We have males out and about every day and surprisingly they all get along well. Our Rhode Island Red ( we call him Elvis because he acts like the king ) is excellent at alerting when he sees a hawk or other predator near by.
     
  8. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Training. Set up a large secure dog kennel with dog house in an area where the free ranging chickens will be constantly around it. This is where your young dog will spend all his unsupervised time and sleep.let him out and make corrections for any chasing behavior etc.he will pick it up quick this way but May still not be fully trustworthy until he is 8 months to a year depending on breed,individual temperament etc. Once you let a young dog kill a chicken,it will be an uphill battle.some will say you can never trust them again.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    From cover you may find your rooster does more than warn of hawks. Mine will actively take them on and hawks will have nothing of a fight when a rooster is able to run circles around them in the bush.

    You can also manage vegetation to direct flocks of chickens at least to areas easy to supply of protect. The chickens like edges providing wind protection and when cold sun exposure.
     
  10. 19disbre

    19disbre Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am a trapper, why do you think trapping is pointless? If you really are a wildlife biologist you would understand that trapping is necessary. Not trying to argue but you could also live trap and release them. But that is 99% likely not to be the solution because I'm not saying you can't do it but you can't it takes more dedication and research and will take probably 2 or 3 years maybe more until you can catch enough consistently to make a difference.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015

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