Guardian Livestock Dogs- How do I begin?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Catmoose1347, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. Catmoose1347

    Catmoose1347 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The final straw was waking up at midnight to the screeching alpacas, crowing roosters, and howling coyotes. The whole "LGD" idea has been floating around my head for weeks now, and I have bobcats, coyotes, and even the occasional cougar or bear in the area.

    I'm especially worried about the alpacas, who are on the other side of the property. And even if there was something attacking any of my animals, it's not like I could do anything, either. I'd have to just sit there and watch...

    I have found surprisingly little information on guardian dogs and I'm not sure if it would be a good decision to get one.

    I have a relatively small amount of land (only 2.5 acres). I have no experience with dogs, but my dad has, so he could help. I would prefer to get an adult dog that is already trained. What breeds and how many would be best?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    An actual LGD is a huge commitment, needing previous dog experience, more fenced acres, and about two years training time. The guard dog needs to live with the animals to be guarded all the time. and will not be good with humans in general. Think Wyoming sheep ranches. For large predators, more than one big dog is needed. How about a llahma or a donkey with the alpacas? Much more user friendly for them, and for you. Good fencing, preferable electric packing a real zing, will be much less expensive than any living critter added to your property. Mary
     
  3. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Why would you just have to sit there and watch? Has your father taught you how to responsibly handle and use a firearm, such as a .22? Anyone who keeps livestock and wants to keep them safe should have one handy. And yes, a .22 can easily kill a coyote quickly, despite being a small caliber.

    Most kids who grow up on any farm learn to plink with BB guns first, then move their way up. It keeps them safe, and it keeps your animals safe. Obviously safe firearm handling skills are ingrained every step of the way.
     
  4. Catmoose1347

    Catmoose1347 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: I was thinking about a llama with the alpacas, but since I am mostly worried about large predators and the coyotes are in packs, it seems like a llama would only be another creature to worry about. :3 The fences are okay, but no fence is totally predator-proof. One of my friends said that a cougar ripped open her fence and got several of her chickens, including a few that she was using for shows.

    I don't want to use electricity around the alpacas, because they can get caught really easily.

    Edit on "no experience": I have helped my neighbor train their dog and I have spent time with friend's and family's dogs as well. So it's more like "minimal" experience. :p
     
  5. Catmoose1347

    Catmoose1347 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: I wouldn't want to shoot when it's almost pitch black outside. The buildings are set up all facing away from the house (yes, not very clever, but I didn't build them), so I would be more likely to hit my animals than something I'd want to hit. I have a pellet gun, but predators would be long gone before I got there since the animals are so far from the house.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Could you use electric on the outside of your solid fencing? I've never had alpacas, but our horses, cattle, and dogs learn about the electric tape very fast, and never try it out again. Mary
     
  7. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A pack of coyotes will very rarely attack a llama. Coyotes look for easy targets, not something that is willing and able to kill them! I had friends in Wyoming that got a llama for protection of their alpacas. Reduced their losses down to zero. The llama they got was a reject from a llama rancher - it was always picking fights with the other llamas, and even though it was OK with people, so it had to go.

    If you have a woven wire fence for the alpacas, you can put a couple wires of electric fencing on the outside of your existing fence. make sure to have one on the top of the fence to prevent jump-overs. I plan to have a couple of rows on my chicken run fencing to keep the coons out.
     
  8. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    A bright flashlight like a surefire is your friend at night. Lights can even be mounted on a firearm. Nobody would suggest firing willy nilly into the dark. Part of firearms 101 is knowing your target, and what is behind/around it.
     
  9. Catmoose1347

    Catmoose1347 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Stacykins. I wasn't aware that there were mountable flashlights.

    So I know that there are other animals that can be good for defense, but would a dog be good for me? I was leaning towards a dog, because a donkey is probably too big and a farm a couple of miles away had two of their llamas killed by the same cougar the same night (!!!). Every property around me has large dogs, so guess where the all the wildlife gathers? [​IMG]

    I've kind of always wanted a dog, and a (trained) LGD would be safe around the livestock and also protect them. My situation isn't ideal, but the only reason I can think of to not get one is my lack of canine experience (which is pretty big, but my dad has experience in addition to other people that I can ask for help). What else should I know? Is there any other particular reason why this would be a bad idea?
     
  10. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I disagree with the poster about previous dog experience to train Pyrenees. I and many others have done it, but I do have to admit I spent a lot of time on the Internet learning. Also learned NOT to buy two together, big big Nono. They bonded to each other and they fed off each other's bad habits and then you couldn't break them of it.
    Also even a pyr usually won't take on a mountain lion but in our case, his barking kept the lion from ever getting near enough? I know I could tell when our resident lion was close as it was the only time Bandit would park his arse on the back deck and bark instead of going after it. :). He might have done differently if said lion actually made a try for us or birdies. He is 5 now and I had him trained by 1 and 1/2. They DO have a teen play with the birdies" phase that you need to watch for, but once they know who their charges are, they are wonderful peace of mind. Mine even tried to take care of our neighbors cattle. Also keep in mind they bark all night, mine is always barking because something is out there but some I guess just bark to bark. They are nocturnal, unlike most dogs. And also, every once in a while you get one that doesn't have a guardian bone in her body, like the the litter mate I had to mine. I have heard more problems with females as opposed to males in problems with poultry.
     

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