Guard Dog/Mamma Hen

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by ruth, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    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.

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  2. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Rex is such a sweetie!! I hope he keeps up the good work, too!
    And I really like your quote... I try to keep that in mind when I get stressed out!
    PS. I think people have problems with neighbor dogs and not their own. There are some of us on here that have good dogs like Rex!
     
  3. Zenbirder

    Zenbirder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2007
    New Mexico
    A good dog is one of the most wonderful things in life! Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    What a good dog Rex is. That is so sweet that he takes care of his babies. I don't think you are gonna have any predator problems with Rex on the job. Great pics thanks for sharing.
     
  5. Chelly

    Chelly Cooped Up

    May 11, 2007
    AWWww Rex is so SWEET, I can't believe he even dug them a hole to lie in.

    Now if we could all find such a good dog!!!
     
  6. bayouchica

    bayouchica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2007
    N.E. Louisiana
    Hi there Ruth, welcome to BYC ! Ya know I gotta Rex too. He's a great possum dog. [​IMG] I live out in the boonies as well,so I know what ya mean. Just love those pics, your Rex is a beautiful dog. Cute chics too. [​IMG]
    Nice to see even more Louisiana folks here. [​IMG] [​IMG] nice to have ya, Miriam
     
  7. Judymae

    Judymae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2007
    Merit, Tx
    We have 2 dogs like Rex. Our indoor dog, Shiloh, is a large rottweiler. She wouldn't let any other animal near the brooder while it was in the house. She would actually fight the other dogs. She is such a good guard dog. Now that the chickies are in the coop she has to check on them everytime she goes out to do her business. The 2nd dog is an outside dog, Annie, and she is a german shephard also. She guards anything considered livestock. Now she has taken the roll of guarding the chicks. It is an all day and all nite job for her. I don't allow her in the run but she would probably be just fine in there. She was watching over a baby potbelly pig once when it was attacked by the neighbors dog. She was really cut up and bleeding pretty badly but she was able to wake us up and get us outside. When we got out she led us to a bloody spot on the rocky driveway and at first I thought it was her blood but then she was very urgent that we follow her. She took us straight to the neighbors front yard about 1/2 mile down the road. Their dogs had our pig! My hubby got the pig while I woke up the neighbors and told them what happened. They denied it. Funny since my bloody wounded pig was in their dogs mouth. We got the pig home and doctored it up and it made it. Annie and the pig spent the nite in the house in the bathtub! When we moved the pig out the next day she was right at his side!

    I just love a good guard dog. Makes you feel safer for you and your animals. It seems like a good guard dog has a strong maternal type instinct. Whether male or female they want to protect and love.
     
  8. Ferrn

    Ferrn Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 9, 2007
    Texas
    Ruth,
    I too worried about our hand-me-down Aus. shepard. We had not had him very long and I was afraid he would eat our babies. Well, when it was time to put them outside, we put them in a small coop and our dog kept digging a hole near the pen. We would come home to find him laying beside the pen with 2 - 3 chicks out but he was GUARDING them, not eating them : ) The chicks are older now, out in the yard during the day, and our dog still does not harm or chase them at all!! I am very proud of him!! Glad you have a great watch dog!! Beautiful dog, by the way..

    jen
     
  9. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    That is absolutely adorable! I bet you could write a short story about that for Reader's Digest or somebody! We have a GS/Rottie mix, and she is the same way; once she learns our other pets are our special friends, they become HER special friends, too. She will guard and herd our chickens on occasion, if we need her to, but certainly not to that extent! She was a huge help this past spring when we had a big problem with predators; she loved the late night "security check" when she would go with us to the barn and search in every corner for trespassing predators; we could tell by the way she acted if it was "all clear", or, of course, if there was something in there, cause she wouldn't leave til it was gone.
     
  10. joanm

    joanm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2007
    Rex is beautiful! Thanks for sharing. [​IMG]
     

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