costing out dog feeding

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am designing an experiment which will have eight free-ranging flocks. Each flock will have a livestock guarding dog with both dog and birds confined by electrified poulty netting. Previously I was considering use of Great Prynees or similar large breed but feed cost appears to be too high so now considering use of a smaller breed such as English Collie. Anyone kept records of annual dog feed bills? Or have experienced based reccomendations on cost effective feeds?
     
  2. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:How much do you think a Great Pyrenees eats? Furthermore, I feed my GP the dead chickens, rejected eggs, and processing waste. I buy a 40 pound of Diamond Large Breed dog food per month.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:How much do you think a Great Pyrenees eats? Furthermore, I feed my GP the dead chickens, rejected eggs, and processing waste. I buy a 40 pound of Diamond Large Breed dog food per month.

    Estimate was 1.5 lbs / day. We will not have enough dead chickens to make a dent in meeting feed needs. Reject eggs might be a better supplement.
     
  4. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, that's the farmer's dilemma. Sounds as if you need to increase your stocking density to cover the costs of the dog.

    My feelings are a smaller breed such as an english collie wouldn't be much of a deterrent for coyotes and wolves.
     
  5. frostbite

    frostbite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You say this is an experiment. What is the hypothetical question you are testing for? If you get 8 similar dogs to guard your 8 runs, you'll come up with an average maintenance cost for that type of dog, as well as an average effectiveness based on predator losses. If you get four of the large breed and four of the smaller breed, which will predictably eat less (there should be preexisting data on the amount dogs need to eat based on their weight) you can compare the results, and maybe be able to make a recommendation based on your results, whether the dogs effectiveness is balanced by the cost of upkeep.

    If this isn't really an experiment, and you are just hoping to enhance the cost-effectiveness of your operation, you're going to just have to see if there's any existing research about the cost effectiveness of guard dogs versus stoutly built structural and mechanical barriers to predation.

    Balancing the intangibles, like the joy of dog ownership, is a completely subjective issue, which you are at liberty to decide as you wish, regardless of experimental outcomes.

    Good luck to you.
     
  6. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I have an adult Anatolian shepherd. She has full run of 11 fenced acres and keeps the coyotes and mountain lions from jumping our fence. She works A LOT!


    In the summer, she is offered 4 cups of food a day. Sometimes she eats all 4 cups, sometimes just a cup or two.


    Now that winter is here, our temps dip down to single digits and even into negative ones. (Since I have been here, the worst I have seen is -17 but records are to -30s) She is offered 6 cups of food daily. There are times she cleans the bowl and times she leaves half.


    When available I do feed extra cockerels to her. She get a de-headed and plucked bird (plucked because it has weirded me out to see the dogs eating a feathered bird) that generally weighs about 1.5 pounds. These are her favorite - she gets so, so, so excited when she sees the chicken bucket being brought out for her. She prefers her eating chickens to have "aged" for atleast 24 hours after being processed.


    She is loose with the chickens, ducks and geese and would not think to harm the live ones.



    We have 3 dogs - a border collie (2 cups per day), cane corso (4 cups per day) and the anatolian. We go thru a 50# of Diamond dog food a month. Our anatolian is fine with our inside dogs (bc and corso) and intensely dislikes any other dog, even our neighbors' dogs.



    I also do not think that an english collie would do much to deter coyotes. Before the anatolian, the coyotes would jump the fence and then leave when the other two dogs rushed it. Now the coyotes don't even walk next to our fence. [​IMG]
     
  7. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    A coyote will just eat your English Collie.

    If you want something smaller, a Farm Airedale will put up a heck of a fight before the coyotes kill it. Maybe if there is tons of easy food in the area, the coyotes won't think it is worth fighting the dog in order to get chickens. The cost of that vet bill would have fed an Anatolian for a couple of years, though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:You have some mighty tough coyotes. Losses ofdogs to coyotes in my area very rare indeed. We have lost no sheep or goats to my knowledge to coyotes. Standerd size donkeys working perimeter of enclosures may be available to tackle our 35 lb coyotes. Collie more for repelling red foxes and raptors which are more likely to be significant concerns.

    I should have written English Sheperd which is somewhat larger.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  9. Bauer in Montana

    Bauer in Montana Out Of The Brooder

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