Advice needed re guard dog ASAP please!!!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chicknmania, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi

    WE recently lost four chickens in our flock due to a hawk. Today we lost two more and
    signs point to a dog attack. We may have lost more than two. WE had problems
    with dogs this past spring and the dog warden was useless. We are looking to adopt a Great
    Pyrenees or whatever dog is best to protect our flock as our dog has been great but she is old
    now and beyond helping us with much. Today we lost our beautiful Bantam Ameraucauna rooster Pebbles who we have had since 2006 and our Delaware mix rooster Diamond. I cannot handle much more of this. DH has been out with a shotgun but I doubt the dog or dogs will be back; they were here
    and gone in half an hour. NO sign of them. If they do come back they are dead beyond a doubt.

    Please let me know if anyone has had success with the Great Pyrenees as a guard dog for their flock as we may have an opportunity to adopt a two yo female from a shelter. What sort of personality do they have what is their intelligence level etc.

    Thanks
     
  2. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A 2 year old from a shelter may eat the chickens herself! It will take some serious time to train her. A dog may or may not help with the hawks.

    A secure covered run for the birds is going to be a better fix. Then a dog to guard the premises around the pens as backup.
     
  3. emmalynn

    emmalynn Silkies Sebbies OEGBs

    Oct 16, 2008
    Middle TN
    I raise GPs..some are great about birds but my prize male will eat one in a heartbeat.

    Adopting a dog in need is great but do you know anything about her background? Why was she abandoned? Has she been around livestock? Are you prepared for the learning curve- when she eats your birds and you try and break her from it? How long will it take her to get up to speed and protect them? Even if she isn't willing to eat them from the beginning, how do you plan on keeping her at the farm?

    My dogs are super smart and do a great job protecting our goats. They are a breed that will take advantage of an open gate and wander all over my neighbor's fields too. They need to be secured in a good fence. Does that apply to all my dogs...no....but I am prepared. One of the girls is a great bird protector. They literally walk all over her but she will eat any cats she can catch. SIGH.

    What protects my silkies?????

    Fenced and covered run.
     
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    A guardian dog just for chickens requires LOT of training and a LOT of luck.

    A dog won't help much with hawks either.

    Unless you plan to keep the birds and dog CONTAINED , I'd suggest getting a mutt from the pound
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  5. ruffles

    ruffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree cover the chickens, our 28 chickens are in dog kennels, they have about 50 feet each group of space, covered,

    Do not just get a dog from the shelter, you need a proven dog that will not harm the chickens. Try rescue, there is one for Great Pyrennes,

    Also, now, if it is dogs, you best be prepared for a fight, if you get a guard dog .

    Also, have you checked with the Town or City, many like where I reside the Animal Control Officer who is Law Enforcement, they come under Law Enfocement, issue a restraining order on the dogs that are
    killing or harming livestock. If the restraining order is violated, fines are imposed, then, the dog is removed.
     
  6. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adopting an older untrained dog for a job like that is as much if not more trouble than growing a puppy.
    We are in the middle of our second older dog adoption. Both were Black Russian Terriers- a guard dog breed. Cleo , whom we lost last year, was 15 months and an owner surrender to a city pound when we got her. I would say it was 6 months before I trusted her offleash and a full year before she began guarding the home place. The chickens she was fine with because they were MINE and she came at a point where they were still small and in the house. She was an awesome chicken dog and would find lost ones and keep order with roosters.
    Bess has been with us 5 months now. She is 5 yrs old and an owner surrender from a big city apartment. While she was offleash within a month, and is friendly with the chickens, she is not into guarding and may never be. She has to *own* the place before she will start guarding and she doesn't feel she owns it yet. It is still very early in the process.
    Keep in mind both our dogs are inside dogs and geared toward people rather than animals but the instincts are the same and take time to develop.
    Also, the only major loss we had happened with Cleo when we were home and inside the house. Something ( dogs?) attacked and killed a half dozen of our free rangers right at dusk, scattering them over the lawn. Cleo never alerted at all to what must have been a major racket... and this same dog alerted to a silent raccoon outside the house during a sleet storm.

    In your shoes, if you want to go the dog route, I'd find a reliable breeder whose stock is currently guarding chickens and follow their advice to the letter. However, even if you purchased a grown dog I'd think the guarding wouldn't be effective until it felt part of your flock.
     
  7. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adopting a sheltr dog might be great, or it might be a disaster. Its not what id recommend to a novice for this purpose. You need a dog from a good breeder or a rescue who actually has history in this siotuation. Most importantly, you need to get the dog from someone who can act as a mentor to you. They should be willing to give you advice and support after you get the dog. You will need it.
    You MUST have a fenced area. Some will stick around, but more will not. You should never get the dog expecting that, its a nice bonus if your dog is a stay-at-home.
    Some dogs will alert to hawks, some will not. My male and my younger female will, but the older girl could care less. I was showing the male a few years ago at an outdoor show, and he stopped dead in his tracks to woof at one overhead! The baby girl doesn't even like crows in the trees. But, id say maybe half of dogs alert to hawks.
     
  8. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our GP was given to us when she was 10 months old because she killed chickens. Her previous owners also gave her raw eggs in the shell as a treat. [​IMG] We have chickens and they stay behind a fence. She guards the yard. Nothing and I mean nothing sets foot, paw, feather,hide nor hair in our yard. No cats, birds, squirrels, even hawks or buzzards flying overhead she tries to get. She winds up protecting the chickens because they are cooped in "her" yard. She owns the place. I love her, she is different from any other dog I've ever had.

    We have some friends that have a pair of GP's. They live about 40 miles from a major airport. Their GP's take it personal the airplanes fly over "their" farm at night. The dogs lie in wait watching the dark sky. When they see the planes flashing lights moving closer, the dogs are riveted in a fixed gaze. As the planes fly overhead, the dogs go nuts barking and chase the plane away. When the farm is safe once again from the skyborne airplane monsters, the dogs return, crouch down and wait for the next plane. [​IMG]
     
  9. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    hmm. I'm not sure "novice" is exactly what I am. We have a dog I said who has been great about protecting the chickens. She is a Shepherd/ Chow mix. She has been great about protecting them that is except when we first got them; then she did kill one. I trained her NOT to kill them and she learned to protect and befriend them instead. She has been great running off other dogs coons skunks(unfortunately) possums foxes coyotes and yes hawks. But she is old now and deaf and arthritic and sleeps most of the time.

    I have always read about GP's being recommended as flock protectors and that's why I thought to inquire because there is one available. But after reading this I agree that it would probably be better to start with a pup or at least a very young dog.

    Thanks for the input though.
     
  10. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh and by the way...we have a very secure barn at night and I have lost chickens in a secure pen during the day too. In my opinion free ranging is very safe in it's own way; our neighbor lost an entire pen of chickens to their own dogs a few years ago because the dogs broke into the pen. I am sure that if ours had been in a pen we would have lost them all The roosters will target themselves to protect the hens; I have seen it many times in the several years that we have kept a free range flock. And unfortunately I think that's what happened here.

    Just for the record I don't know why I called Pebbles an Ameraucauna; he was an OEGB and a very smart guy.

    RIP Pebbles and Diamond. :-(
     

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