I have about a 1/4 acre of fenced backyard that houses my chickens, ducks and Nigerian dwarf goats. I’ve had issues with hawks and as of today, a fox. Is there a good breed of dog that will protect them and do well in that small of an area?
There aren't any LGDs that (in my opinion, of course) would do well in that small of an area. We have a few acres that ours have access to and question if it's enough for them. There are good chances they may feel the need to roam off of that size of property and many can scale a 6 ft fence. One of mine (maremma mix) needs hotwire along the bottom of all of our fences or she will go under and go on an off-site adventure. She was rehomed to me for this reason as she was doing the same at her previous home and they were unable to install hotwire.
Another question I would ask is if you have neighbors? We have taken in LGDs from people who didn't want to give up their wonderful dogs, but the neighbors forced that to happen because of the incessant barking. In a suburban or urban setting, there are just so many things for them to bark at and many people underestimate how much they are capable of barking, but it's part of their job and what they need to be able to do. Once they get to my place where the neighbors are some more distant, they bark much less and learn when it's appropriate without the distractions of suburban or urban life.
Do you have or can you use a perimeter hotwire to keep the land predators out? And maybe bird netting over a section of the yard for the birds?
I am not saying it couldn't work, but it would be more challenging to fit them in a box they are not naturally suited to.
I agree. Also training them. The are not all natural guards and may need some training as well. We had dogs in years past but now I depend on my electric wires and have heavy duty netting covering my pens as well as concrete under the gates all due to losses from predators in the past. When we did have dogs they were outside dogs and we didn't have any predator issues but when the last one passed since we are elderly we decided not to get another dog. Here most of the predators roam at night with the exception of late winter, early spring when they are looking for mates or feeding their young and then we may see them now and then during the day. I have several cameras up and see predators roaming most nights on at least one of the cameras. I think the adult predators here teach their young that whatever is on the other side of the hot wires isn't worth getting zapped for and when a breach is attempted once the predator hits the electric wires the breach is aborted. Good luck...
Another thing that a lot of people don't realize is that if you get a puppy, they need a LOT of training and supervision until they're at *least* two years old. And if you get an adult dog, you need to start over as though it was a puppy for as long as it takes it to settle in to your stock and acreage. You need a pen for a pup amongst your livestock and it can't be left alone with them (especially poultry) until it's mature. Factoring in how much you'll spend on routine shots, deworming, flea and tick prevention, food, and spay/neuter (not until after 18 months of age) and whatever modifications you end up having to do to keep the dog contained....... That is a lot of money that you could spend on a solid coop/run and fence options to exclude goat predators.