I'm new to this site as a member but have been reading the forum posts for about 4 months since I first got new baby chicks. I want to share my advise about my guard dog/mamma hen "Rex" a GSD but after reading the hurls back and forth on some former posts I'm reluctant to do so. Seems most of you have strong feelings one way or another towards cats or dogs and I don't want to open that can of worms. Just want to share what I have found to be my biggest allie - and that's my GSD Rex. We live in a very wooded area where everyone has several acres - with a river through our property, etc. So...lots of predators - everything you can imagine. In fact I just saw a fox go through our backyard while I was having dinner tonight. Took me awhile to figure out what it was but sure enough it was a fox at about 7:30 (still light) just strollling through back yard cleared area into woods. NOT near chicken house but now I'm really going to be on lookout. Of course we have coons and possums hawks and eagles. Rex has always chased off coons and possums. Back to story - anyway when I got my first set of chicks 4 months ago I was worried how to keep our two dogs (Rex and a stray "Lucy"), and 4 cats from also being predators. Rex was going a little wild when I first brought the box of baby chicks into the home. While I didn't "train" Rex to guard the chicks I did show him that I "loved" the baby chicks. I picked up one and cuddled it in front of him and told him how much I loved it and while I oohed and aahed over it and petted it I slowly let him get near and sniff it. Then I put it back in box and called him over to let him see. Then I just kept petting the chicks and talking softly to him and them and telling him to sit. He quickly caught on that somehow they were babies or that they were mine because within a couple of hours they were his babies. He became their guard and slept in bathroom with them. He even growled at me one night when I tried to drag him out of there. Night after night he slept in there with them and they were only in a little box. If he went out during the day as soon as he came in he went to check on his chicks. A month later I got another batch of chicks and he guards them as well. When I moved the chicks outside to a pen Rex started insisting on sleeping out there by them even though he had never slept outside before - he would not come in. When they got too big for the pen they became "free range" and he followed them and herded them back to deck area if they got too far. I'm attaching pictures of them together. In one pic he dug a hole under a bush and they are all in it taking a nap. We've just recently finished our chicken run and coop and have moved all chicks into same. Rex either sleeps in the run with them or nearby on our deck. After reading all the posts about coons and how easily they can get into a run, I think I'll keep Rex in there every night. No coon, fox or anything else is going to come near them with him on duty. He even chases away our other dog Lucy - good thing cause when we first got chicks Lucy could be seen watching them from nearby and actually drooling and sort of surging towards pen. Of course Rex would growl at her and make her and the cats get off the deck if they came anywhere near. So, please don't start a love/hate war of postings on dogs/cats but the right type of dog can learn to guard and be the best type of protection since out here in the woods there isn't any predator-proof housing that will work. I just pray that Rex keeps up the good work.