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Guardian dogs for Poultry, Goats, ect?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SuttonHeritageFarm, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. SuttonHeritageFarm

    SuttonHeritageFarm Songster

    Apr 30, 2011
    Jackson Springs, NC
    We have a 43 acre farm that is not completely fenced. Currently we have lots of poultry, ducks, geese, ect and goats, horses, sheep. I am looking for some advise on what breeds do well with chickens and other birds as well as the goats, ect. I will be getting a pair since everywhere I read they do better in groups or pairs. Also, any suggestions for a breeder would be great!

    Thanks in advance!

  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    We currently have free-range chickens and will be getting sheep.
    Our LGD's spend most of their time with the chickens around the pole barn.
    Any LGD you get will have to be "trained" around whatever livestock it will be guarding.
    I have Great Pyrs (because they bark) and Kangals (because they will kill).
    Greay Pyrs are pretty easy to come by and I can PM you some Kangal breeders.
    There are also lots of other LGD breeds (e.g. Maremmas, Akbash, Anatolian Shepherds, . . . etc.)
    My property has some fencing (just barbed wire) that the dogs can squeeze under; however, I am surrounded by fallow fields, so there is nowhere for the dogs to wander off to.
    They pretty much stay close.
    Good luck in your search!

  3. ChicksinFL

    ChicksinFL Chirping

    Aug 11, 2011
    We have a GP guarding our farm, she takes her job very serious and stays in view of her animals 24/7. She even sleeps near them during the day, I've witnessed the free range chickens sitting on her and ducks hunkered down by her. We have not had a single predator problem since she arrived on the farm. We decided to buy a already trained GP as we needed a dog already guarding, I will need to get a puppy in the next year or two to train/be trained by the current GP as she is already 7 yrs old.

    She also will guard my daughters when they are outside during the day, that is one of the only times I see her leave her animals and that is to stay closer to my 8 yr old when she plays in the far edges of our pastures.

    Good Luck in your search and choice for the right LGD for your place.
  4. SuttonHeritageFarm

    SuttonHeritageFarm Songster

    Apr 30, 2011
    Jackson Springs, NC
    Thanks for the help!
  5. peteyfoozer

    peteyfoozer Chirping

    Jul 5, 2011
    SE Oregon
    I have Maremmas that guard my poultry, sheep, goats and calves. Pretty much any of the LGD breeds would do it, you just need to find the right individual, that will fit your situation as far as size, aggression, coat length, etc. Finding a rescue that has poultry experience would also be your best bet to start off with. THere is good information on the workingLGD board on yahoo.
    Good luck!
  6. florida lee

    florida lee Songster

    Apr 6, 2011
    My Danes protect my chickens and go everywhere with them..... Here they are escorting my Maran from her tractor to the coop/run area.

  7. bj taylor

    bj taylor Songster

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    i've got a german shepherd pup (just turned 1 yr). she's completely facinated w/our new chickie babies. it would be great if she could be a help. her big brother (2 y/o) couldn't care less about them, unless of course, they would find their way into his mouth.

  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    We have always used hunting dogs of some sort. Dogs are expensive and having dual purpose use helps reduce apparent cost in respect to protection needs of livestock. I have done this for more than 35 years so do not take this coming from a novice. We used to have a kennel of black and tan hounds, most bred and used for hunting racoons although some when I was very young where used for fox hunting. Most were penned up but we always had a couple, usually older dogs that were free to roam. They kept predators at bay very effectively and had lower feed bills than livestock guard dogs bred to guard herds of sheep or goats. Breaking / training dogs for livestock was easy and could be done using multiple methods but best in my opinion was to rear pups in close proximity to livestock they would ultimately guard.

    Do not rule out bird dogs either! A dog as a predator readily differentiates between different bird species, often better than most humans seem capable of, and can be directed to target one or more species (quail, timberdoodles) and ignore everything else. Birds of different species look, smell and behave very differently and it is a predators business to be able to distinguish who to target and how to do so in a manner that increases odds of success. What you have got to do is make certain the dog does not consider poultry on the "to be taken list". You can still use same poulty safe dogs to hunt gamebirds.

    Once that is taken into consideration, then dog's size (largest predator red fox, coyote or another dog), physiology (tolerances to heat and cold), speed (are predators of greatest concerns oppossums or red fox) and mental flexibility (will dog guard only in a single paddock, guard multiple paddocks and be able to get fencing to get at problem, guard and go hunting from time to time). Until a couple hundred years ago, the ancestors of most standard sized pet dogs were guarders of the barnyard and hunting companions. That abililty still persists in most dogs assuming owner has not botched things up by method of upbringing. Stop botching.

    My largest predators are coyotes of the standard size but red foxes are the chronic problem and they are fast. My birds during production season occupy a large area over multiple acres and roosting sites are dispersed. Broodstock are penned and most juveniles are free ranged. I also handle my birds a lot and dog can even help with that when they get lost in grass as I sort culls from broodstock.

    I am presently using a 65 pound German Short-haired pointer. He is very fast, smart, highly trainable, tolerant of heat and suitable for indoor keep during off season when flock is reduced to broodstock only which means only 20% of birds present during summer are over wintered in pens that in themselves provide a measure of protection. He still does nightly patrols denying predators opportunity to more thoroughly test my pens for weaknesses. Another will be acquired to shoreup defenses against coyotes (mine average 35 to 45 pounds) when they hunt cooperatively.

    Evidence a hunting dog can interact with chickens in positive manner.






    In going through this mess I see very few picture were taken of the bulk the dogs responsibility. By far and away the bulk dog's charges are dominiques and dominique crosses. That will be corrected this production season.
  9. animals1981

    animals1981 Songster

    Jul 19, 2008
    the dogs need to have strong territorial and protective aggression whatever breed they are sorry to say a lot of dogs dont have this anymore also dont expect a dog to die out there by itself i know someone who lost sheep because their great py didnt move in to face a pack of coyotes 1 dog vs a pack of coyotes isnt gonna cut it. The dog needs to have power on its side so a few dogs if you are dealing with coyotes or a pair of dogs and maybe a donkey or something whatever good strong combination. The more aggressive forward dogs are better i think like kengals/anatolian shepherds put the fear of god into coyotes. Naturally high prey drive aggressive dogs like german shepherds from strong aggressive working lines also know how to deal with them well, as well as pit bulls and rotties can be very good at protecting livestock as good as they are damaging it depends on the dog the situation training and bond they are the strong and most lethal protection out there though. Just remember a lot of breeds have lost a lot of their original ability and have been watered a lot so dont be suprised when they dont act like their breed standard. I don't think there is anyway a 65 pound bird dog could handle a coyote sorry they are no foxes if the coyotes get it alone or even in a pair/pack the dog is doomed they will just eat it. If the dog is left alone out there a lot it is only a matter of time i bet before they lure him out id get him him real back up he really is nothing on his own even a donkey would be good a standard not a mini.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    My dog just whooped a coyote in site of may flash lite last night. Size is a very large part of picture when one on one. Coyotes in most areas do not typcially operate as anything more than pairs and usually only as individuals. Coyotes and predators in general will not stand toe-to-toe with another predator that is larger but otherwise has similar abilites as such is potential suicide. My dog has same realtionship with local coyotes thay coyotes have with red foxes. A fair portion of what I am relating is based on personal observation and not always single events.

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