Help me choose a LGD please!

wayb_BYC

Chirping
Aug 29, 2021
20
124
73
SE Wisconsin
A LGD seems an incredible investment of cost and effort (the dog itself, if from good stock won't be cheap, plus annual vet costs--both routine and sickness/injury costs, plus feed, plus training, plus flea/tick, heartworm and grooming needs) for a very small number of birds. Dogs are EXPENSIVE, even if nothing goes wrong. LGD, especially one with no fence and with other loose dogs in the neighborhood is almost guaranteed to get into a fight or get hit by a car and you could see a $5-10K vet bill right there.

Additionally, a LGD is a level of protection which should be part of a layered approach--the first layer being proper physical barriers to your animals requiring protection (i.e., fencing).

If you have a protection dog, it will need to be restrained within a fenced area--this is necessary for liability reasons, for your dog's safety, and for the safety of your flock. A fence is the very first, basic step in protecting your animals.

Also, you don't know what is attacking your chickens, but you're hoping a dog will resolve the issue. I would suggest starting with some cameras--either internet-connected cameras or stand-alone trail cams to get a better idea of what you're battling against--which will best inform you on what actions will be most effective to take to protect your chickens.

Lastly, a LGD isn't going to be mature until 3years old, and even if a puppy is currently being worked with chickens, odds are high that your LGD will take out more of your chickens during the learning process than the chickens you've lost to natural predators so far.

In a nutshell, it sounds like you're already sold on the idea of getting a dog--and that's your prerogative, but please don't assume the dog is the solution to this specific and immediate problem, because it won't be. The dog might be helpful to your flock and expanding farm in the future, but isn't the fix for the problem you have right now. In addition to the dog, you're going to have to make additional changes to protect your chickens--starting with identifying the predator(s) and working on physical barriers.
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,644
2,805
286
West Virginia
A LGD seems an incredible investment of cost and effort (the dog itself, if from good stock won't be cheap, plus annual vet costs--both routine and sickness/injury costs, plus feed, plus training, plus flea/tick, heartworm and grooming needs) for a very small number of birds. Dogs are EXPENSIVE, even if nothing goes wrong. LGD, especially one with no fence and with other loose dogs in the neighborhood is almost guaranteed to get into a fight or get hit by a car and you could see a $5-10K vet bill right there.

Additionally, a LGD is a level of protection which should be part of a layered approach--the first layer being proper physical barriers to your animals requiring protection (i.e., fencing).

If you have a protection dog, it will need to be restrained within a fenced area--this is necessary for liability reasons, for your dog's safety, and for the safety of your flock. A fence is the very first, basic step in protecting your animals.

Also, you don't know what is attacking your chickens, but you're hoping a dog will resolve the issue. I would suggest starting with some cameras--either internet-connected cameras or stand-alone trail cams to get a better idea of what you're battling against--which will best inform you on what actions will be most effective to take to protect your chickens.

Lastly, a LGD isn't going to be mature until 3years old, and even if a puppy is currently being worked with chickens, odds are high that your LGD will take out more of your chickens during the learning process than the chickens you've lost to natural predators so far.

In a nutshell, it sounds like you're already sold on the idea of getting a dog--and that's your prerogative, but please don't assume the dog is the solution to this specific and immediate problem, because it won't be. The dog might be helpful to your flock and expanding farm in the future, but isn't the fix for the problem you have right now. In addition to the dog, you're going to have to make additional changes to protect your chickens--starting with identifying the predator(s) and working on physical barriers.
THIS! ⬆️
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,842
19,674
876
Holts Summit, Missouri
Somewhere back in time I promoted the layered concept of protecting chickens. Dogs were the most expensive layer unless interest in chickens long-term and dogs have value for more than just chickens. If you are trying to keep a closed flock (all replacements you breed from your own stock) and birds are truly free-range kept at least part of the time, then dogs are the way to go. Most people are not long-term and they do not generate their own replacement birds. Additionally, most are unable to sustain truly free-range keeping because they lack suitable land and they are not home enough.
 

StrawHatHolly

In the Brooder
Apr 30, 2021
14
24
34
Somewhere back in time I promoted the layered concept of protecting chickens. Dogs were the most expensive layer unless interest in chickens long-term and dogs have value for more than just chickens. If you are trying to keep a closed flock (all replacements you breed from your own stock) and birds are truly free-range kept at least part of the time, then dogs are the way to go. Most people are not long-term and they do not generate their own replacement birds. Additionally, most are unable to sustain truly free-range keeping because they lack suitable land and they are not home enough.
Yes this is exactly where I am at. I currently own a very large incubator and raise my own chicks and am in the process of expanding my flock through my own stock. 16 is the smallest my flock has been in awhile and we are not happy about it one bit. Also plan on adding livestock to my property soon. My husband and I are semi self sufficient and planning on full self sufficiency on our property and are raising our own meat and growing a garden. We don’t work full time jobs too be able to do this. We don’t live the same lives of convenience most people do currently. These aren’t just pets to me, these are a food source. A good lgd is expensive yes but a great investment for someone in my situation. Just because they don’t completely stop casualties doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. The cost of a dog is not a problem to me, and I think what it will add over time would be worth it. I really appreciate that you listed breeds that would be better suited for a smaller acreage because now I have a better idea of what to look for and that I need to stay away from traditional lgds.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,842
19,674
876
Holts Summit, Missouri
If going long-term, then consider establishing bramble patches away from perimeter fencing. That will make it harder for fox or coyote trying to do the snatch and grab. More than one patch is good to prevent ground from becoming too hot with deposition of chicken feces. I move feeders or waterers around to encourage a rotation of patch use. The chicken activity can improve productivity of brambles on some soil types.
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,644
2,805
286
West Virginia
If going long-term, then consider establishing bramble patches away from perimeter fencing. That will make it harder for fox or coyote trying to do the snatch and grab. More than one patch is good to prevent ground from becoming too hot with deposition of chicken feces. I move feeders or waterers around to encourage a rotation of patch use. The chicken activity can improve productivity of brambles on some soil types.
That's an excellent idea! Elderberry could also be planted and used to provide coverage from aerial and ground predators both.It grows 10-12 feet. (cuttings can be taken in spring or late winter while dormant) The berries have medicinal use and are grown to make cough syrup, jelly and pies. I've bought cuttings online thru the mail and they're easy to grow.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,364
42,852
1,156
southern Michigan
Elderberry bushes grow everywhere here, and spring up where they really aren't wanted. In the right locations, they are great! And rugosa roses are super, and rasberry and blackberry hedges. Besides, the fruit is yummy!
Many/ most rugosa roses are fragrant, a big plus.
Mary
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,842
19,674
876
Holts Summit, Missouri
I have about 20 Elderberries that are being allowed to grow in a patch next to driveway. A grape arbor has been formed over a series of cattle panels arched over to form a tunnel. A dense patch of native plumbs provides awesome winter cover. A rather large patch of Sweet Sumac provides excellent cover during the summer growing season.
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,644
2,805
286
West Virginia
Elderberry bushes grow everywhere here, and spring up where they really aren't wanted. In the right locations, they are great! And rugosa roses are super, and rasberry and blackberry hedges. Besides, the fruit is yummy!
Many/ most rugosa roses are fragrant, a big plus.
Mary

I have about 20 Elderberries that are being allowed to grow in a patch next to driveway. A grape arbor has been formed over a series of cattle panels arched over to form a tunnel. A dense patch of native plumbs provides awesome winter cover. A rather large patch of Sweet Sumac provides excellent cover during the summer growing season.
I'm taking cuttings from some old muscadine vines this winter but hadn't thought of using a cattle panel to support them later.That's a wonderful idea thanks! Maybe I can try that!
 

David61

Songster
Jul 27, 2019
791
1,765
206
Mississippi Gulf Coast

Standard Schnauzer​

You should read up. This is the right one to fit you.
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/7-standard-schnauzer-facts/
The wirehaired dogs that would become the modern Standard Schnauzer performed many jobs for German families. They guarded the livestock, hunted vermin, and protected their owners as they went to and from the market. The Standard Schnauzer was the perfect size because he was small enough to fit in the farmer’s cart, but big enough to serve as a guard dog.
 

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