Best dog breed to protect chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by cochinator, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. cochinator

    cochinator Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been wasting a lot of time dealing with hawks, coons and other despicable beasts and I need to get a good dog. I want a dog that will kill the beasts, not just run them off. By my understanding of the migratory bird act if it happens in nature it is not illegal, so if a hawk attacked my chicken and then my dog attacked the hawk, it would be a viable means to dispose of these nefarious and vile predators.

    Any recommendations on the best breed for this? I am assuming a bird dog wouldn't be a good choice.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  2. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The most common livestock guardian dogs are Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds, but these are dedicated working dogs, and you need to know how to raise one as such. They are also very large - 100-150 lbs is common. But many large dogs make good protectors. I grew up with a black lab that would not allow any other living animal inside her fenced in yard. Raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, opposums etc were all killed or chased off if they entered the yard. It really depends on the personality of the dog.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. cochinator

    cochinator Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the info I'll start looking, I may have to go with the lab option out of necessity.
     
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Having a dog around may deter a hawk from attacking, but I think it would be difficult for a dog to catch a hawk, even if it is on the ground. The hawk will see the dog coming and fly away.

    Are your chickens locked in a coop at night? How big of an area do you want a dog to guard?

    Many dogs can be trained not to chase chickens but run off or kill other animals.

    Here are a couple of threads about dogs.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/628452/what-kind-of-livestock-guard-dog

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/696876/best-chicken-guard-dog
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  5. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is a video of a German Shepherd with chickens.




    And another one.

     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Realize that it can take up to 2 years for a dog to be properly trained to be trustworthy to protect livestock.
    It can be a great solution, but it is not a quick one....and you might lose a few birds to the dog in the process.
    Best of Luck!
     
    TexasGirl0523 likes this.
  7. I do not know about the best breed, but I have Red Heeler. The dog has been around my chickens since it was a puppy, learned to herd them by 12 weeks age. Had some minor issues with it in the early year because it misunderstand because of my playing tactics and though I wanted it to bring me the chicken. (Funny and not so funny at the same time....chicken is ok and still laying) The dog will now run off deer that get near the run, runs in circles around the run when there are birds, will kill small creatures that come near when it can get them, and alerts me when one of the chickens flys the coop. They are a sheep dog, but I have no idea how it would handle coyotes or the such, we don't have them nearby yet.
     
  8. So true, nearly lost one of mine in the training process. Almost 2 years later and if I don't respond to his alert fast enough that a chicken has escaped and the chicken tries to go too far, he will try to bring it back.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I use dogs (bird dogs) very effectively to protect highly vulnerable juvenile birds during growing season. Principle threats are Red Fox and Coopers Hawks. Dogs do take two years to get into working shape when starting from pups which I think is best. They are the best system, especially when used in concert with other measures, but also the most expensive. To justify the use of dogs I need to have at least 100 birds needing protection in a free-range system. Otherwise the electrified poultry netting coupled with lots of cover and mixed flock (adult roosters in mix) required to rear juveniles with minimal losses to predation. Shooting / poisoning / trapping predators without fencing kills a lot but does not provide good control over losses to predators. The dog route is also the long-term route in that dog will be around for many years although the larger LGD's do not seem to last as long before needing replacement.
     
  10. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Red Heeler and Blue Heeler are just different colors of Australian Cattle Dog. As the name suggests, they were bred to heard cattle.

    I am sure your dog would chase away a coyote. A coyote usually weighs about 30 pounds or so. Maybe if it was a big coyote it might try to take on your dog, but not likely.
     
    mEGGieS likes this.

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