Dog to protect my flock! Help):

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by owlett5, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. owlett5

    owlett5 In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2007
    Turner, Maine
    Hey everyone, after my lifelong dream of getting a home in the country, and getting chickens, I've had Nothing but issues keeping them alive!!

    First it was raccoons. Finally caught two in the act of raiding my coop and turned them into vulture chow. Then weeks later, my neighbors miniature pinchers attacked and killed four of my flock and mauled a turkey. Months of having their dogs jump the fence have led to nothing. Now I have FOX issues!!

    Once a week a bird went missing. Thought it was the neighbors dog, but those crap dogs leave chewed bodies. Then it snowed last week. Just yesterday my yard was mess of feathers and fox tracks all over.

    I've had it. I've lost over twenty birds the past year. So I'm thinking about getting a dog. The chickens will stay in their run forever more and no more free ranging. But I can't have a fox digging up the fence or climbing over it. I need help. I'm ready to train a dog, but I only have an acre, so a big dog like a pyr, much as I'd love one, probably won't work, would it? What about a corgi with a dog door into the barn to keep out of the cold Maine winters?

    Help please!
  2. nchls school

    nchls school Songster

    Apr 22, 2015
    My mother had a corgi until she went into a home; beautiful, smart, and easy to train, but hair everywhere all the time. A dog that needed a lot of grooming. We have two little mixed breeds and they are great watchdogs; good around the birds too.

  3. owlett5

    owlett5 In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2007
    Turner, Maine
    That's good to know. Hair isn't an issue haha. I also have angora rabbits, and 2 cats so I'm pretty uh, hairy all the time.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You have to ask yourself, do you have the skills(clear and consistent communication...... and patience) to train a dog?
    Are you willing to work and wait for up to 2 full years for dog to be trained to the point you can trust it 100% to count on it 24/7 without direct supervision?
    Is your one acre fully fenced to keep your dog at home where it belongs?
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Your first priority is to predator-roof your coop and run. Many of us have learned the hard way about predators and chickens; it's a tough learning curve for the chickens! A trained adult dog can be helpful, but as aart mentioned, there's a lot of time and $$$ involved in reaching that goal, and meanwhile your flock needs that coop and run upgrade. Do that first! I also learned that spreading feed and treats outside of the run and coop attracted varmits that weren't welcome, so feeding everything in the coop and run is the best idea. Your neighbors are responsible financially for any damage their dogs cause. Look at electric fencing too. premier1supplies has great products and information; check out the website and get their catalogs. My coop is now very safe, at least until the bears move here; then I'll add electric. Mary[​IMG] It's not pretty, not stained yet, and the junk not picked up, but love it!


  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Work on your exclosure approach first. Get that coop / chicken house predator resistant first. Then work on keeping chickens where they are supposed to be if free-ranged. One acre will be tight unless flock size kept small and plantings and feeding areas keep chickens away from perimeter where they might challenge it. Dog can come last and can have a range of benefits although the cost and time investment issues are not to be ignored. A smaller dog can do a lot of what you want so long are larger predators are excluded by you outer perimeter. Be considerate of dog by selecting one suited for you climate. Breed not all that important and mutts work fine. Even during stages where dog itself is threat to your birds it can still provide benefits as an alarm and by working synergestically with your hen house / coop and perimeter to keep bad guys out.
  7. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chirping

    Jan 2, 2016
    Northern California
    I would come at it from the coop/ enclosure angle. The dog thing is a toss up. You might just end up with one more animal that wants to eat your chickens. Dog to dog that drive can be variable and unpredictably strong. I would be very picky if I were in a position to choose a dog specifically to protect my other animals. Namely wanting to know intimately the natures and histories of the parent dogs. Ideally I would want a puppy out of a dog that was already farm friendly.

    My boy so long as he doesn't have direct access to the chickens - so long as they don't fly a fence and land in his yard hasn't had any chicken KILLING incidents and he doesn't have a taste for chickens, and in the past when they have gotten in the wrong space he'll corner them and he'll bruise them, their movement freaks him out and he's squeamish, so they make it home bruised and freaked out, but alive.

    He's more of an alarm system than a guard. Unless he's really kicking up a fuss - and sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't, the chances of me getting out of bed because he's barking (same intensity for a squirrel a a coyote - and hawks... he's useless) are low. I've been desensitized by his habit of barking at anything that moves in the yard at night. Be it leaf or frog or squirrel. He's there to persuade large predators that we're too much trouble to get any closer. Which I suppose is the most a dog can do. The dog that will kill a fox will also kill something else that moves. Actually, I don't think my dog could catch a fox. He's not the type to pick a fight if he isn't sure he can win it, and he doesn't see them as food, so they're just invaders.

    Rabbits on the other hand he's passionate about. He got SIGHT of them through a fence and we had to completely redo the fence line to get it dig proof on the side it butts up to the yard.

    He's never tasted them either, but just the sight was enough to drive him mindlessly bonkers for about two months till he forgot about them. Meantime, I had to dig, frame and stake the fences on the bottom and bring in fill dirt on the other side to another foot deep. About three days of work. Hecka lot of work, done to preserve the friendship.

    Our female dog (a rescue) cannot be trusted period. She'd killed smaller mammals before we got her (gee thanks for not telling us till after the fact rehoming person) and even the goats aren't safe around her. There is no degree of training that will help that. She is the doggy version of an animal serial killer, long ingrained before we got her. Because we can keep her alive, whereas someone with less property couldn't, we do. She's doing life on dog food.

    Dogs are a whole nother set of headaches.

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