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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cami, Oct 24, 2010.
will any animal guard my chickens besides a dog?
Do some research -- lots of folks run their chickens with sheep, goats, etc. They don't guard the chickens but they sure discourage a lot of predators, unless you have mountain lions or something.
What about a rooster?
Dogs, llamas, goats, donkeys, roosters, and geese are all typical guard animals. You need to be aware that any birds you get for guard animals would be prone to predation themselves, so their usefulness is limited by the fact they may get killed off first. With any of these guard animals you always need to remember to watch the watchers. My "guard geese" were more dangerous to my smaller waterfowl than any wild predators I had.
Also, with dogs, some breeds will be easier to use as guards than others, though any dog can probably be discouraged from killing chickens. Some will be easier to break from this than others. Maybe you could get some bigger birds like turkeys or something if you don't want a dog. Roosters are good guards as well, like others have said, but if it's a roo you really like, just know that he'll protect the hens, but depending on the threat, you may have to be prepared to look for a new rooster afterward.
Back to dogs, I've heard many people say they have Great Pyrenees for the purpose of guarding their other animals, so if you change your mind about a dog, maybe that's something to look into. I've been thinking of looking into them myself since so many people seem to use them as predator deterrents.
With Guard Dogs you want to stick with one of the guardian breeds, such as Akbash or Great Pyrenees amongst others. Obviously the family golden retriever isn't going to be ideal as a guard dog, their instinct is to hunt not protect. Opt for a breed that has been bred for this purpose and do your research on them. I know with using guardian dogs on sheep that you raise the puppy with the sheep.
I have a pyrenees / maremma cross to guard all my animals (sheep, goats, chickens, ducks). He growls and shoos the chickens away from his food, but otherwise does them no harm.
I've heard emu's are great gaurd animals, as well as geese, and donkeys