Cheapest Dogs For Protecting Chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ravenvalor, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2008
    Hello My Fine Feathered Friends,

    I switched from free range to chicken tractor over a year ago and I am ready to return to free range or a combination of both. Can someone please recommend the best dogs for protecting my flock? Marimmas are popular here in central North Carolina but I find them a little too expensive to feed. Are they actually expensive to feed or do they get alot of their sustenance from the chicken droppings?

    Thank you so much !!!

  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  3. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2008
    Thank you for the helpful advice chooks4life. I am trying to make an expense list of free ranging chickens. If I have 2 - dogs to watch a flock of chickens there has to be a point where the expense of feeding the dogs plus the chickens is equal to or greater than the income and food received from the chickens. Maybe if I have a couple of pigs in the lot with the dogs and the chickens I may strike some sort of an expense equilibrium where I am not digging myself a financial grave. I agree that dogs need quality food. Right now we are paying $2/LB for Nutro-Ultra dog food.
  4. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 9, 2009
    You need to bear in mind that Veterinarian fees can be expensive...the larger the dog...the more expensive for the de-wormer and you should also have the dog(s) annually vaccinated...
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you are looking to turn a profit and pay for the chicken food as well as care and food for 2 dogs you are probably looking at the reality of needing 100s of birds and a steady market for their eggs and meat...

    Just the simple math, a 'larger' active dog will eat about a 1lb of decent food a day, you want 2 dogs that means 2lbs of food a day... You say you are paying $2/lb so to feed two dogs you are looking at about $4 a day or $120 a month... Consider vet bills, and vaccinations as well as incidentals and I would budget closer to $150 a month just to be safe...

    Now if you want to recoup that $150 a month just to feed the dogs, lets say at $3 dozen for eggs you will need to sell about 50 dozen a month or about 12 dozen a week... To get that many eggs you will need about 200 laying chickens... Now that is just to pay for the dog food, you now need to factor in what the chickens cost to feed, even free ranging they are likely going to need supplemental food... See where this is heading?

    Now of course I was playing it more on the safe side, you can pinch pennies and what not but you are really setting yourself up for disaster if you do...

    My advice is if you don't have the financial means to pay and care for the dogs with an outside income you probably should not be getting a dog at this time...
    3 people like this.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    This very sound advice. I use two dogs not of the LGD type for guarding poultry. Fencing also needs to be taken into consideration and that might greatly reduce the need for large sized dogs. Ignore the high breeding bunk; look into a mix that has at least one parent with guarding tendencies. Dog will need to guard location, not the birds directly. You can train if so inclined to get dogs to drive off predators indicated by chickens.

    I have seen some Blue Healer crossed with typical LGD's that are more than up to task you would put on it.

    I run a good number of birds and have the opinion you need considerably more than 200 birds per dog to make economic sense. If you operate like a barnyard where other animals launder nutrients for a smaller flock not directly fed then you are bringing down the operating cost some.
    1 person likes this.
  7. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Can you locate a more affordable feed?
    I feed Diamond Beef and Rice and we get ours for $25 for a 40 pound bag.
  8. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2008
    Superbly to the point, thanks.
  9. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2008
    Great info, do you mind telling me what LGD means? Also, please explain 'launder nutrients'?
  10. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    LGD is Livestock Guardian Dog -- and "laundering nutrients" seems to refer to the flock picking feed from the feces of other barnyard animals - the undigested grains passed through horses, cows, etc. The economic benefit being that the feed that would be wasted by those larger animals is consumed by your flock and the overall waste is cut, if not all out eliminated (depending on the digestibility of those feeds for poultry being passed through the larger animals)
    1 person likes this.

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