Chicken flock guardians

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Goldenseal, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. Goldenseal

    Goldenseal Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2010
    Central MN
    ..What do you all think of livestock guardian dogs? I am thinking of
    getting a great pyrenees to watch my flock, last spring I had a
    coyote come in to the barn and take my ENTIRE flock of birds
    in one night. ive since replaced them but keep a very close
    eye on them.

    I was wondering if anyone has a livestock guardian dog?
    my bullmastiff cant be bothered to get off the couch and watch a
    chicken.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. GreatPyrLover

    GreatPyrLover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know someone that has two Pyrs that guard his flock and from what I understand they do an excellant job....I have a Great Pyr but he is an inside dog so the only guarding he does is us and the rest of the inside animals....now if he is outside and he hears something going on out of the norm he will surely let us know....he just turned a year old in Sept. They are wonderful dogs!!!!!!!!! You just have to really keep up with their hair and brush them daily so it wont become a matted mess. [​IMG]
     
  3. Goldenseal

    Goldenseal Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2010
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    mmmmmmmmmm there is no way I can do daily brushing....if you see
    rubees hair in the above pic? that is about my speed. [​IMG]
     
  4. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aside from the hair thing, GP`s work best as a team, meaning at least two........Pop
     
  5. cackleberrycoop

    cackleberrycoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a brother sister pair of 3/4 Anatolian shepherd 1/4 Great Pyrenees. We were desperate for a guardian for our free range flock and thought first about the GP but after looking into them we were pretty sure that our little two acre property simply would not be enough to keep one of those dogs happy. We found a whole lot of people who had smaller acreage such as ours who had the Anatolian Shepherds and who all were delighted with them.
    We've had our guys for about a year and as far as being guardian dogs goes....... wow..... simply marvelous! They are much, much friendlier than we had heard the breed is supposed to be, but that may be because I was so nervous about their reported social issues that I had just about every human in the town come over to meet them and greet them and socialize them.
    I'm not sure if it's the 1/4 GP in their blood or what, but we have had issues with them wanting to widen their patrol area to include the neighboring acreages also. It's been far and away more expensive in terms of fencing than we had anticipated, and when they tell you that a four foot fence is tall enough to keep them in, they are lying...... [​IMG]. They didn't cause any trouble when they were getting out - just did their patrol thing and returned to their chickens in about a half hour.
    I can't imagine trying to free range our flock without these two giant darlings. We have a few pics of them up on our web site, under the "fresh eggs for you table" page if you're interested. I'd post them here for you but this is a new computer and I don't have my photos up yet.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  6. cackleberrycoop

    cackleberrycoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:And..... the Anatolian's have shorter hair.....
    That is the cutest photo of your bull mastiff there. Looks like a real tough guy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Great Pyreneese (GP) appear to be standard for guarding poultry although they were not bred for purpose. Most livestock breeding dogs developed to stay out 24/7 year round with four-legged livestock that are often mobile requiring livestock guarding dogs to be imprinted, in part so dogs will stay with flock.

    Most poultry flocks not mobile, as they have ranges anchored to a central roost. Imprinting not as important for poultry guarder but dog ideally not a roamer. GP's and thier like can do this easily although so can other breeds that are suitable for guarding the home. My facility is relatively small and not by choice I have had to use dog breeds not developed for livestock guarding. My guarders were infact dual purpose, most hunting (black and tan hounds) but also had dalmations and border collie that guarded. Dogs had to be given outlet for bred in activities so when on guard duty they are relaxed. Smaller dogs are cheaper in terms of up keep and for us could go from point to point faster when fences present. Speed sometimes important when evicting predator. Any dog with proper mentality and 45 pounds or larger can repell even a large racoon or fox.

    Larger dogs, often in pairs or greater, needed for repelling coyotes or domestic dogs. Coyotes can be pretty smart and as a group can still get birds if just one dog involved, especially if birds spread out.

    I am setting up to use a pair of German shorthair pointers now (male just acquired as pup). Female will be brought in a pup 2 years later. It will be three years before I have good coyote protection but by spring racoons will not be a concern. Imprinting on chickens well underway, despite breed being used to hunt birds. Pointer was not my first choice but studying up on breed has indicated they are very mobile which is desirable when foxes will be doing snatch and grab. Being a pointer will also keep some sight oriented attention on birds of prey. Biggest concern I have with this breed is that it is prone to roam.
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Hi Meagan, like your website:)
     
  9. Goldenseal

    Goldenseal Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2010
    Central MN
    Quote:Interesting thoughts, I tell you, any hunting breed would have been my last choice with birds. Im interested to see how it turns out. It seems like just the birds themselves would trigger prey drive in the dog, but maybe not when imprinted properly.

    Im still mulling it all over. Right now my birds are in the heated barn full time.....I feel like it would be to cold here for any kind of short hair, weim or anything like that outside. I dont necessarily need a guardian now, but when it warms up and I open the door for the birds to begin to free range is when I need something. I figured I would bond the dog and the birds inside the barn this winter and just keep the dog with them come spring. Last year the coyotes came right up and in to the barn horse stall where the birds are and took all of them. we followed a trail of feathers out to the hay fields.

    those are my tentative plans, im just not very trusting of dogs and birds....LOL been on the farm to long I guess.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    On the farm I grew up on, dogs and poultry were hand in hand. Foxes and and coyotes, to be seen, we had to go hunting well away from barnyards.


    If it works on dalmations, any breed can do it. Dogs penned up in dog boxes and away from stock when small can miss critical training / imprinting period. Most dog keepers keep dogs as pets in manner that in my opinion results animals that are constantly in "squirrel, squirrel, squirrel .........where is the squirrel!" mode. My squirrel hunting dogs while hunting squirrel are calmer than that, at least once we got into woods and settled down to business.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010

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