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Can I have a hallelujah? Our hawk problem may be solved!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Fredster, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. Fredster

    Fredster Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    We've been losing chickens to hawks recently, and I've been in a lather trying to figure out how to stop them without breaking the law. Our chickens range over about two acres fenced, so putting up strings and wires is not feasible. I looked a getting geese, turkeys, and guineas, but ultimately didn't.

    Last weekend, on the way home from looking at the aforementioned poultry, we picked up a local classified ad and found something promising: Great Pyrenees pups (4-months) for only $50. I figured they were going to be mongrels, but called the guy to check. Both parents were Pyrs, and the pups had been living with goats, sheep...and chickens.

    I hemmed and hawed, because we're not really "dog" people (10 cats here!) and I worried about taking on new ones. Then, last Sunday morning, I had to spend several minutes trying to run off a persistent hawk that was just flying from tree to tree on our property. Even firing the .22 into the ground didn't scare it off until I kept doing it. That pretty much settled it, and I called the guy with the pups.

    We picked up a pair yesterday, brother and sister. We're calling them George and Gracie:




    They took to us right away, perhaps because they were bottle-raised and grew up very dependent on people.

    After spending the afternoon with them yesterday, I concluded:

    - Gracie definitely herds groups of chickens that get separated from the flock...if I go over near them. She ignores them otherwise, but if I'm walking that way, she goes over and around them, moving them back towards the flock. Once they're headed back for the flock, she stops, watches, and then ignores them again. She did this three times that I saw.

    - George seems to be the more laid back one. He's not jumpy-uppy, just content to stay near me when I'm out there. He's less prone to bark than Gracie, who likes to bark at our black cats (and no others, apparently).

    - They watched the skies. A helicopter went by and they both stopped frolicking to keep an eye on it for several seconds. Then they decided it wasn't a threat (I guess; hopefully I'm not anthromorphizing them) and resumed their play.

    - One of them growled at me when I went out there after dark, and both of them were very alert (I could see them dimly). As soon as I spoke, they both turned into their normal doofy selves. I like that I got growled at when they didn't know it was me.

    - They're respecting the fence so far, which is good, because it's only poultry wire. That's my biggest worry. I ran an electrified line, and Gracie got shocked twice, so I'm hoping that'll help keep her back. She's the more bullheaded, it seems.

    - Gracie discovered the eggs in the coop, and ate 4 or 5. I criss-crossed pieces of wood across the doorway, so the chickens can still get in and out and the dogs can't fit. So far, so good.

    - As soon as I leave the fenced area they settle down and snooze.

    - They love belly rubs.

    But this morning, I witnessed something that thrilled me to my core.

    I was out walking the perimeter with the dogs about an hour ago, and a hawk swooped down into the chicken yard. Without a second's hesitation, Gracie took out after it as soon as she spotted it, barking to beat the band. George stayed with me for about 5 seconds, then went after her, but he didn't bark.

    The hawk LEFT THE PREMISES IMMEDIATELY, and didn't just stop at one of the perimeter trees like they do when I'm trying to shoo them away.

    They got a big bowl of scrambled eggs and cheese, which they more than deserved. [​IMG]

    As someone who thinks of himself as not a "dog person," I'm just blown away after one day with these two.

    If anyone's in the Alabama/Tennessee area, there's a third pup (female) available. Drop me a PM and I'll give you the guy's number.
  2. chickflick

    chickflick Crowing 11 Years

    Mar 10, 2007
    HALLELUJAH!! Great that the dogs worked things out for you. They are so cute! Those two will turn you into a dog person!
  3. birdlover

    birdlover Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Wow!! I am so impressed and YOU are so fortunate to acquire two puppies who already know the ropes!! Fantastic!! They are cute as can be, too. May you all live happily ever after. [​IMG]

  4. Big Red's Mom

    Big Red's Mom Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    Terry, Mississippi
    Great....They are a wonderful breed. Only thing is if you want them to be okay with people coming into the yard to view your flock you will need to have people visit often when they are young. They are VERY protective. You and the chickens will be safe from most anything.

    My uncle had an old girls and a pup when Hurricane Katrina came and they kept the cows all together and as close to their property as possible all day and night until the stormed passed. The morning after they went out to find the old girl had passed and the puppy was standing guard. All the cows safe and standing together. They are great workers and loyal friends. They will also protect each other.
    One may stand over the other as it sleeps. I have seen a pair take turns doing this to protect the other while sleeping.

    Glad to hear you solved the problem with such a great pair of fuzz balls.

  5. Fredster

    Fredster Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    Big Red's Mom :

    One may stand over the other as it sleeps. I have seen a pair take turns doing this to protect the other while sleeping.

    Funny you should mention this. This is what they're doing right this second:

  6. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    WOW! Wonderful luck to get two trained puppies!
  7. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    Yep that is what Pyrs do, stand over each other. It's been almost a year now that I lost JoJo, I wish someone would have Pyr pups for 50 here!
  8. Fredster

    Fredster Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    I've been out building a cover for them to get out of when it rains, if they want to (they're totally ignoring the $200 doghouse, which is going back to the store). A hawk went over really high up while I was working, but the dogs either didn't see it or were ignoring it.

    Until I called Gracie over and pointed it out to her. It was easily 250 up, little more than a speck, but she watched and followed until it wasn't over the chicken yard any more.

    I feel like I got the deal of a lifetime (after one day, anyway).
  9. sandypaws

    sandypaws Songster

    Nov 12, 2008
    desert of calif
    great pyrn.....just make sure to brush them.. groom them..possibly shave them in the summer time... if not they become maggot dogs very easy..
  10. How wonderful to get two Pyr pups from a working line, who have already been started! [​IMG] I know you will continue to enjoy them; they are really amazing dogs.

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