Dog Choice????

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by hjvac25, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. hjvac25

    hjvac25 In the Brooder

    Feb 24, 2012
    Ok, here is my scenario: We moved to 12 acres a year ago (from a small subdivision lot), this year we are going to get a few chickens and give it a whirl. My husband is an anti-dog person but has decided at this point it may be a good idea. We have 3 young children and one more on the way. Any recommendations on a dog that will help protect the chickens (and us), have limited shedding, and be a great dog to have around 4 kids under 6 years old?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. bj taylor

    bj taylor Songster

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    no suggestions here. i hope you end w/a good choice. don't get german shepherds. that's what i have. they shed a pound of fur a day. my female wants to herd everything. that can be hard on chickens. saying that, i also have to say for our situation - they're the best dogs ever.
  3. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Shedding will always be something to contend with. Morgan is a cattle dog cross/mutt. He is very good with the chickens and really does not let anything come around them. Not so much that he is protecting them as he is just keep everything away. He has a pretty good relationship with the rooster too. They will just stand nose to beak and look at each other. Then they turn and go on their merry way. Just a mutt with an excellent personality.
  4. christineavatar

    christineavatar Songster

    May 1, 2011
    Bolinas, CA
    I think it's more a strategy than a breed. We got the dogs first. BIG mistake. As we got the chicks they were fine and once they were big enough to go outside the dogs thought it was so much fun to break into the coop and catch them. Of course, they would kill them. I went through two 25 chick batches before I got rid of the dogs. Now I have 17 full grown hens and am thinking about getting puppies. I figure I will stand a better chance if the dogs are first smaller than the chickens. Let them get to know each other when the dogs are small enough to run from the 'big' birds. I am hoping that it will be the nuance that was missing before.
  5. Tigertrea

    Tigertrea Songster

    Feb 10, 2012
    LaSalle Ontario Canada
    There are definitely some breeds you want to stay away from. Siberian Husky's are a predatory breed. We have had one get loose and run through our sheep, the first time he killed one the second time he killed 8! My Akita took the beak off of a duck who got too close to the dog run she was in. Our old, very old, cat was likely killed by a Husky who he'd lived with for years. We try hard to not sell husky pups to people with small animals.

    Talk to breeders and take your time picking a breed, then breeder, then pup.
  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Wow, and you keep the dogs. Really strange. You don't think much of sheep I see.
  7. Tigertrea

    Tigertrea Songster

    Feb 10, 2012
    LaSalle Ontario Canada
    That dog was euthanized after the second time. The first we thought, maybe, we hadn't closed the dog yards well enough. He killed and started to eat one. So it was not "wanton" killing. The second time he ran through the the flock ripping out throats. He was dead 1hr after my dad found him. The dog yard was 6' fencing with electrified wire on top and bottom, double fenced with 4' between the fences, all gates double, dogs never out of their covered runs or indoor kennel while sheep were out. This one managed to get out of his kennel, out of the building and through/over 2 fences (found out the electric fencer wasn't working the first time, he braved the shocks the second!) all within 2hrs!

    We had the Huskies long before the farm and we have had them long since the farm. We knew the risks and did our best to manage them. That dog was 6yrs old when this happened and had been raised with the animals on our farm.

    To say we didn't think much of the sheep is nasty. We would not have had them if we didn't. I had raised, in my house, in a subdivision many lambs born in the winter.

    At the time we had 1 horse, 30 sheep, 20 cows and 1 goat, 5 turkeys and a gaggle of geese. The Coyotes in the area did much more "damage" to our farm then our dogs ever did!

  8. florida lee

    florida lee Songster

    Apr 6, 2011
    I can recommend German Short Hair Pointers, not too big, easy to train, mine tends to bark a lot. . Also my Great Danes are easy to train, very smart, not a barker. the Danes were fantastic with my son when he was a baby. pictures follow.....[​IMG]
    Here he (Ger. ShortHair Pointer) is watching one of our free range hens, he is very alert as too what is going on around the place.
    Here they (Danes) are escorting our free range hen over to one of the other coops/runs.
    Down side to Danes is their fairly short life span, and meds are based on weight ie:heart worm meds..
    There are many great breeds out there. Do some research for a proper fit to your life style and situation.
    1 person likes this.
  9. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Every breed of dog will kill chickens. They must be trained to leave the chickens alone.

    It's easier to train people oriented breeds to leave the chickens alone, simply because they are easier to train to do anything.

    It's a little unfair on a dog to expect it to put up with the abuse from 4 kids under the age of 6. I hope you intend to train the children to treat the dog with respect and don't expect the dog to tolerate pain and abuse from the children.

    If you want protection from predators, you need a great big dog. Coyotes can and will kill medium sized dogs. Coyotes attacked my neighbor's Rottweiler, so it has to be a very large dog to protect from coyotes.

    I suggest you choose a large breed that has a reputation for tolerating children well and then whatever breed it is, then train it to leave the chickens alone. I think your children are your issue; not your chickens.

    Forget about getting a dog that doesn't shed. Not going to happen.
  10. bnjrob

    bnjrob Crowing

    Dec 31, 2008
    North TX

    Generally when you are looking for dogs to protect animals, they need to be integrated into the animals lives and have more of a relationship with the animals than they do the humans. Guardian dogs live with the animals and basically become one with the animals they protect. If you are wanting a dog to be a housepet - it is not realistic to expect them to be guarding your chickens also.

    It takes a LOT of work to get a dog not to go after prey, especially if you are really wanting a guardian dog. I honestly can't imagine that you have that much time to devote to that, with 4 young'uns under foot and the responsibilities that go along with living in the country as opposed to city life.

    I would recommend that you get a family pet. The pet can let you know when there is an intruder on the property, but YOU can then do the protecting of your flock - think shotgun.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear, but as a dog training instructor and the wife of a veterinarian, I see too many people with unrealistic expectations of dog behavior and unrealistic expectations of the time necessary to train a dog to do basic things like "heel" and "come" - and that's not even asking the dog to be nice to kids and to fight to the death with a chicken predator while not eating the chickens.

    If you are really set on an animal to guard your flock, you might consider a donkey for predator protection. They are good protectors and don't require a lot of your time training them - plus they don't eat chickens.

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