German Shepherds, Goats, Chicken Runs and Electric Fences

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Flycropper, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Flycropper

    Flycropper Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 8, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    I had to move my goats to my chicken run which is a small fort built to protect my chickens from hawks, raccoons, opossums, dogs, coyotes, foxes. It's basically a large cage buried two feet into the ground, fencing overhead and has two strands of electricity wrapping it.

    This is why:

    Several weeks ago, I woke up at 5 a.m. to the sound of a dog barking inside my goat pen. I jumped out of bed and yelled, "That's not the puppy!" (I have a puppy great pyr who sleeps with the goats but she's so little right now that I keep her in a dog crate at night when she is with them.) I raised my window and could hear wild barking and my goats bleating. Hollering at my wife to help me, I grabbed my flashlight and sprinted to the pen. When I shined my light into the goat shed, I could see my does were all standing on the highest hay bales. I pointed my flashlight to the back of the shed and there lay a big black and tan German Shepherd hiding from me behind hay bales. I thought, "He's not going to let me in there." Not three feet from the dog was my little wethered goat (my favorite of the goats) laying in a pool of blood still crying for help. Immediately, I jumped the gate and put myself between my goat and the dog. As soon as I got near the goat the dog freaked out and like a ghost blew past me and through a hole in the fence he had chewed through, pulled up from the ground and dug under. I've never seen an animal tear up a fence like this. As my wife ran up to the pen she said she could hear a second dog running in the woods.

    Later that morning, Animal Control came out and set a trap then started looking for the dogs. They couldn't locate the dogs and the trap stayed for two and half weeks before they returned to get it. The morning following the removal of their trap, I was getting in my car to go to work and heard a loud yelp. I looked down toward the chicken run and there were two German Shepherds circling the chicken run/goat pen and every time they tried to get at the fence they would get popped by the electric wire. I ran inside to tell my wife to take pictures of the dogs. I called animal control and started getting my rifle. When I stepped outside both dogs were running off through the woods. My wife said one of the German Shepherds tried four times to bite the fence, would get shocked, yelp jumping back and then circle to the other side to try again. We were amazed at their persistence.

    Animal Control located the dogs' home. I drove to the home of the owner, showed him pictures my wife had taken of his dogs in my yard around my chicken run. This pretty much convinced him that his two dogs had torn through the fence and killed my goat. (He told me they would do this to his fence to get out.) He was very apologetic about the goat getting killed. Offered to get another one for me and said he would double his efforts to keep his dogs from getting out. I told him that if they came back to my property again, because they've already killed one animal, I would shoot them. His response, "I grew up on a farm. I know the rules. If my dogs return to your property you have my permission to kill them."

    All that to say, I'm glad I found this site almost a year ago. I read about building chicken runs and how to protect chickens. After I lost one pullet to a hawk last spring, I came to this site to learn what to do to protect them. Clearly, my chicken run is secure. Thank you!
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  2. Granolamom

    Granolamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    Wow, what a story! I'm getting some baby goats in the near future, and now I'm thinking, I'll have to keep them in my (very secure) chicken coop, until I build a "Fort" for them, too.....
    Wonder if the chickens will go for that...
  3. Jay13

    Jay13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central NC
    Wow, I was just getting ready to post about my german shepherds and saw this post! It is amazing what a determined dog can/will do to get through a fence. Our female recently went into heat and so we have to keep her separate from our male... well she has busted out not once or twice but four or five times out of a Chain LINK fence kennel that we bought for the purpose. She didn't dig out, she went THROUGH the chain link fence. What they don't tell people is that the chain link is VERY flexible and at the bottom where it is only tied in a few places, a dog can press their way through stretching the fence as they go. We haven't figured out a solution to our dog getting out yet, (we want puppies eventually, just not so soon) but we did find that a couple hot wires top bottom and middle of our other fencing manages to keep them out of our chickens. They had previously gotten in and killed our entire flock of 20 a month and a half ago, just doing what dogs do I guess.

    edited to add: and when we blocked the bottom portion of the fence to keep her from getting out that way, she started to push through the middle of it and did a fine job of warping the fence panel. I'll take a pic to post when I get a chance.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  4. jforsness

    jforsness Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Now I know why my Motnana farm relatives hate dogs. Kudos for the Ft Knox Coop!
  5. Jay13

    Jay13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central NC
    Quote:I know its easy to blame/hate the dogs. I was VERY upset when our chickens were all killed, but they were doing what dogs do. I just hope ours don't figure out how to get around the electric fence next....
  6. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    you need one of these to look after your chickens and goats...

  7. Black Feather

    Black Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2007
    As much as I hate to say it, I can believe it. German Shepherds are a very determined breed. I have a female shepherd and when she sets her mind to something she's hard to divert from the task. This is also what makes them so great too! I used her for killing rats last year and it only took her a very short time to get the hang of it and then would be looking for rats each time we went out to the barn. I also watched her do the same thing with the electric fence into the horse pasture. She would try to duck under, get shocked, and then try in a different place. She had to get kicked by the horses a few times before she learned that chasing them was not such a fun game. Mind you, she still ducks into the pasture for frozen 'treats' ick!

    I think the dogs owner could do a lot more to help prevent the dogs from wandering. The dogs are probably bored or don't get enough exercise so they turn their attention to 'getting out'. A tired dog is a good dog after all. They are a smart, strong breed and need proper management to direct their energy positively.

  8. Jay13

    Jay13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central NC
    I agree urban coyote in as much that many dog owners don't keep their dogs (especially the smart ones) employed at something worth while causing them to misbehave. Sometimes it is circumstances outside of the immediate control of the dog owner though.

    We didn't used to have problems with our dogs escaping, but we also used to take them for long walks everyday even though they have 3 acres to roam in on their own, but all of the other dogs in the neighborhood are allowed to just roam free which means I am having to intervene between confrontational dogs. This is NOT my favorite thing to do.

    and as far as the intelligence of german shepherds, mine just found ANOTHER way out... I think we are going to be stuck with puppies for sure now.
  9. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    I am so very sorry to hear that the dogs got your little goat - I would be devastated. But in defense of German Shepherds, we have two and the older dog, Rex, is invaluable in guarding our free roaming goats, ducks, chickens, and peacocks. He insists on sleeping with any babies. Here he is three weeks ago when the triplet kids were born. He insisted on following me inside with them and sleeping in the bathroom with them.


    This was him two years ago when I brought home that first batch of baby chicks. He has been guarding everything since.


    They are an intelligent breed and need a job to do. Rex stopped getting into mischief when he had a flock to guard. He watches the skies constantly and chases off every hawk (or buzzard). We have a farm surrounded by thousands of acres of woods filled with every predator and if it weren't for Rex, I would have the same problem you had with stray dogs, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, coons, possums, etc. in my yard killing my livestock. We have gotten a second Shepherd, still a puppy, to learn from Rex.

    I'm so sorry you are having this trouble but I did want to post something in defense of the German Shepherd.

    Would the owner work with you - maybe bring the dogs over, on leash, and show them the animals and let them sniff and let the owner tell the dogs "no" and discipline them. It may prevent another disaster if they get free. Yes, you can shoot them but that won't bring back your killed livestock and they could do some serious damage in a short amount of time if they get past fencing and electric wire. I know that my dog is smart enough that if I told him"no" or "leave it alone" he would understand even if it were on someone else's property. He has traveled with us and stays in hotels so he knows when I point out something that is a "no". Just an idea - don't want to get slammed over it.
  10. goobhen

    goobhen Chicks Rule

    Dec 6, 2008
    ruth, I love all the pictures that you have posted of Rex with his babies!! They are precious & he is a treasure & blessing for you!

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