English Shepherd as Poultry Guardian

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Ben's thinking around electric fences still needs work. He still get zapped a lot. Lucy seems to get entertainment out of watching him blunder into the wires. Chickens are not better.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    This has been kept under wraps until I figured out what has been going on. I lost two juvenile games free-ranging in yard around house over last week. Yesterday we lost last as we consumed breakfast and dogs tried to beg our eat. Today I went out about the time disturbances have been taking place over last week and yesterday. I patrolled yard with rifle expecting to see a Red Fox probing for dogs being away from exposed juveniles. Hens were keeping tight to house and being extra vigilant. I have five cocks in pens at end of yard that gave the first heads the trouble maker was about. I kept scanning weed-line expecting to see a fox face looking back but nothing. To my side the hens with juvenile offspring drifted to the cars which would provide no protection from fox. Then I saw the bugger but it is not a fox, rather an adult female Coopers Hawk. They have not caused me trouble for years but this critter is very much into my juveniles that no longer inclined to run to momma when threatened and are still small enough for Coopers Hawk to snatch up without landing. Best medication for controlling that is a harem master but I cannot let any run loose because of penned birds.

    I will have to put rifle away and pen juveniles up.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hawk mentioned in post #46 is the same one that appears to be taking juvenile games. Primary target for hawk is migratory songbirds that stack up hedge to north each day to refuel before leaving after dark. Forage and cover is exceptional for the small birds but not good enough to keep hawk from trying. The hawk appears to have made many attempts of chickens as well but most efforts excepting two have not succeeded. Lucy may have had some role in that although hens almost certainly did the bulk of the work. The problem is the juveniles flush too easily getting away from the protective umbrella provided by hens.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    We lost some chickens to a dog in the yard today. One of the pens was attacked. I though pup had a role in it but not so sure now. Pen was attacked from below by a dog trying ram its way through the bottom. Neighbor with three pit bulls came over to visit for first time ever and behaved somewhat odd when seeing the bodies I policed up. Pup had an interest in them but is not yet big enough to get into pens as done today. I expect pup to cause some problems but not where he would attack a pen. Neighbor was a bit nervous with lots of chicken stories. I hope it was Ben as that is an easier problem to work through. I let more birds out although Ben paid them no mind. He did find another carcass and proceeded to eat it until my daughter tried to steal it. We shall work through this as core still protected except from GHO. Carcasses will be used to continue GHO observations. Pup can also eat them but he must leave live birds alone.
     
  5. scottcaddy

    scottcaddy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Does said neighbor seem like he has control of his dogs?
    Good luck dealing with 3 Pit's if not!
    Can you shoot dogs when they are after your livestock on your land like we can here in NC?
    Scott
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am aware of options with dogs going after livestock and done it and notified owner after the fact. The pit bulls are not controlled well in my opinion and are a threat to children. They bark at me through fence when I walk lane to get mail or take out trash. Lucy can not take them by herself. One on one she can bluff them. Normally they are confined but they have gotten out and I think they may have gotten into their owners chickens in a bad way. My gut feeling about this is not good. It would be so much better if Ben did it.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Looks like I am going to have to place rifle near front porch. My "trap crop" (poorly defended chickens at northeast property boundary did serve role of helping me detect problem before it reached cash crop in core poultry yard. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) terms used. My dogs will be confined and pens shored up a bit. No warnings to owner will be given as owner knows what happened and did not fess up. All the offending dogs need to do is walk onto property and make penned birds nervous. Then I switch from monitoring to employment of pesticide. This part of problem to be expected when you can not repel dogs not yours as realized by loss of my male.
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I finally had a chance to sit down and catch up on Ben's thread. Sounds like he's coming along quite nicely! It also appears that you could turn your daughter loose as a flock guardian. :gig
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Pup is coming along nicely but we obviously have a gaping hole to be filled by maturation. This morning as I left for work he was eating yet another carcass that I found very early this morning on path to where I think dogs causing trouble came from. The dogs where also not present, presumably moved indoors. I can't wait to get the new barn in place to serve as a hardened central location for keeping broodfowl and brooder chicks which will enable juvenile birds to be contracted into the more defensible in cockyards.
     
  10. scottcaddy

    scottcaddy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    A barn would help you in a lot of ways, how much floor space are you thinking of doing?
    Scott
     

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