Fox got the chickens again. What kind of dog will protect them?

promiselandfarm5

Songster
10 Years
May 25, 2009
282
2
143
Rome, GA
We came home today from the local BYC SWAP to find some of my 12wk old Turkens and Speckled Sussex missing. My Hubby decided to let them free range while we were gone....bad idea. A trail of feathers told the story. Just wait it gets better.... four of my children were playing outside while we unloaded and my daughter came running and screaming. The fox came back again...this time within 10 feet of the kids to grab one last Turken. So now I am down 2 Turkens and 2 Sussex.

So anyway we are looking for a dog that can protect the chickens.

Can anyone HELP!?!?

Carly
 

Chicken03

Songster
10 Years
Mar 20, 2009
245
1
121
Western Pa
Anykind of medium to large dog can protect your chickens in properly trained. They just need to be trained to leave the chickens alone.
 

citrusdreams

Songster
10 Years
May 4, 2009
586
7
129
Depends on what you want out of the dog.

My dogs protect the chickens from predators when they're outside. But they're mostly inside dogs. They just come and go as they please (in and out of the house). And in that case, Chicken03 is correct. Any dog you have, if properly trained, can get along well and range with the chickens, guineas, peafowl, etc. and they will protect them from those predators.

If you're looking for a dog to stay with the chickens 24/7, a great pyranese or an anatolian is my first choice.
 

jjthink

Crowing
13 Years
Jan 17, 2007
4,623
44
274
New Jersey
Oh dear.....12 week olds free ranging while you weren't home? You're right - bad idea
The pred or preds will be back, given that their meal was served up nice and simple. Your remaining 4 need to be in lockdown until you have a predator proof situation. A dog is not a near term solution. Training will take time and if not trained well, the dog will finish off the rest of them. I'm really sorry for your birds that lost their lives. The remaining ones could probably use a drop of Rescue Remedy in their water for stress.
JJ
 

Davaroo

Poultry Crank
12 Years
Feb 4, 2007
5,517
102
308
Leesville, SC
Yeah, that 'free range' stuff is bad news, when other measures have not been taken.
Im gonna sing my same old song here, so bear with...
Erect an electric fence around the perimeter of your yard, paddock whatever is practical. Keep the intruders out at the edges, never letting them get close enough to get in.
 

Buster52

Songster
10 Years
Jan 28, 2009
3,635
41
228
Geronimo Oklahoma
I think some breeds are better than others, though. I have seen dogs take naturally to protecting and herding, others have a stronger predatory instinct. Hunting breeds come to mind in that regard.

I would think you couldn't go wrong with one of the herding breeds. Australian or German Shephard, sheepdogs, or collies would all work well. They are all bred to protect. There is a reason sheep and cattle folks choose them for protection and herding.

My black lab picked it up almost naturally. And she hears their distress sounds when we don't. She'll wake us up in the middle of the night barking like crazy, then tear out after something when I open the door. I followed her one night and watched her catch and kill a possum just outside the hen house.

She wasn't very hard to train. Get a dog as a pup and raise it around your birds. Make sure it is very used to them and comes to see them as members of the pack. Don't feed it chicken dog food or even leftover cooked chicken.

While I agree with others about the importance of good security measures, I think your instinct is the correct one. A good dog would add an extra layer of protection.
 

Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex

Songster
10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
919
21
151
Rogue Valley, S. Oregon
My lab/husky cross keeps the land bound predators away pretty well. Not because he is a ferocious guard dog, but because he is so darned friendly he'll run up to any living thing and try to make friends. We still had a hawk or something nab my only BLRW girl yesterday, none of us even knew what happened till we searched for her and found a small handfull of feathers in the middle of the yard. A friendly outgoing dog makes as good a guard as an aggressive one because any predator in the wild will run from it. I am happy with my dopey mutt and trust him not to turn on my birds. We still have a little work to do training him in acceptable chicken behavior though- he wants to treat them like small dogs and we just caught him licking one of our barred rocks trying to get it to play with him! He'd never hurt another animal on purpose, but those foxes don't know that.
 

promiselandfarm5

Songster
10 Years
May 25, 2009
282
2
143
Rome, GA
We normally let my husbands Red Stars free range since my Turkens are so young, but for some reason he let mine out instead.
we still have 13 left (the fox got 4). We have 7 acres, fencing it in is not something we can afford right now. All of the chickens have very nice size runs, so there isn't a "need" to let them free range...they just love getting fresh grass and lots of grasshoppers. We do have a Great Pyrenese in with our goats, but she is only 10 wks old. I have always heard that they will wonder away if you don't put them in a fence. Is that true?

My husband put a couple traps up hoping to catch the fox. Until then they are all locked up in their coops. I guess foxes and racoons is just something you have to deal with out in the country.

Thanks for the replies. To "train" a dog do I leave it outside to live around the coops?

Carly
 

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