Horse vs. Dog in predator prevention

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by DoDa, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. DoDa

    DoDa Out Of The Brooder

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    Portage, WI
    We've made plans to send our pet horse to a friend's home. I'm pretty sure she's one of the main reasons we've had limited problems from predators, particularly the coyotes we hear at night (can't be more than a half mile away) and occasionally see on the adjoining property. We live trap racoons, etc. during our chicken growing season and have seen a direct correlation - when the trap was set near the house and horse pen, if the horse was locked in the pen for the night, no critter in trap, if the horse was out on pasture over night, critter in trap. We also have a few heifers and thus have electric wire all around for the heifers and the horse.

    My question - we'd like to get a dog but I'm wondering if that would offer as much protection? I'm thinking we could train the dog to "check the chickens" and make a sweep of our property? I was raised with great, intelligent dogs on my family's farm, but they were always inside the house at night. I'm wondering about keeping a dog outside during the summer? The horse trick seems simple compared to all the issues a dog poses, but my DH and I have always wanted a dog.
     
  2. amazondoc

    amazondoc Cracked Egghead

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    Lebanon, TN
    Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) or donkey, or llama. All will protect against coyotes. [​IMG]

    edited to add --

    LGDs typically include breeds like Great Pyrenees and Anatolian shepherds, Kuvasz, and a few other breeds. Large dogs that were created to hang around with the livestock.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  3. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    a dog will actually do a better job than a horse or other large livestock, because a good guard dog will actually pursue and drive off interlopers, whereas cattle and horses just seem to be a passive deterrent.

    even with a dog, we used to have a lot more predator activity before we brought our horses home. the hot fences and constant activity at night, when the dog is inside, seems to make the coyotes and bears and such nervous.

    i sympathize with your logistical concerns, as i'd be nervous having a dog outside all night. you'd have to make sure you had the right individual from the right breed to avoid running loose and harassing wildlife problems. you'd also have to keep in mind that in harsh weather, when your dog is in the house or other shelter, you wouldn't have as attentive a guard.
     
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Maybe a trained Anatolian- trouble is, most dogs will hunt a chicken. Yikes. This is our old horse Shuffy. He guards the coop and the feral cats voraciously. He's in at night. Now our pullets are in a biosecure coop/run...but I dread the day Shuffy leaves us (he's 37) because I always regard him as the big guy that keeps away things that go bump in the night. I've watched him gallop straight at stray dogs, foxes and coyotes, and he will strike with his front legs given a chance. He's very gentle with 'his' animals! [​IMG]

    Have you considered a donkey? Sometimes you can get one for free from people who overlooked how the braying would affect them...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  5. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    I'd suggest a LGD, as well. We have a 1/2 Anatolian and he's awesome! He's never killed anything (except for bees) and he's attacked coyotes. He takes his job very seriously and does it well. Although just be sure you know that they do have to have some training before you just throw a pup out with the chickens. They need to be perimeter trained as well as taught to behave around the chickens. Cash (our dog) will lay down and let the chickens & ducks pull at his fur, walk across his body, peck his eyes and nose and doesn't even move a muscle.
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I couldn't make it without my two helpers! The white one is a Great Pyrenees/Lab mix and the brown is a Lab/Border Collie mix. I've not lost a bird from predation, ever. We have packs of coyote around here and someone found a place up on the ridge where they take their kills. It had numerous dog collars and bones. My dogs fight as a team and do it very well! Last year the younger one killed his first coon....took all of 5 seconds and he didn't have a scratch on him!

    I'd go for a LGD....they are good for deterring humans also!

    [​IMG]

    Here they are guarding the flock....tough job laying on that soft green grass all day!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. DoDa

    DoDa Out Of The Brooder

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    Portage, WI
    Thank you for the advice about dogs. If we get a dog, he/she will be be trained one way or another. I was raised on a beef farm and stray dogs running is NOT o.k. Our neighbor keeps telling me to get a Great Pyranese (sp?). I was thinking more cattle dog/shepherd but don't know if that would do the trick.

    Do you all think it's too much to expect a working dog to be a little social with my DH & me? Our farm dogs were all about business when around the cattle but they didn't mind a scratch behind the ears or a game of fetch. But again, they were inside/outside dogs and pretty much part of the family.

    LynneP, holy cow! My Charcoal (our mare) looks like Shuffy! She's white with dapple gray showing at different times of the year, with blond/white mane and tail. Maybe it's the "white ghost" reflecting the moonlight at night that scares off the critters! Actually, she's just fine with kicking a dog/coyote good to remind them they're not welcome, too. We love her and don't want to part with her but she doesn't get the kind of attention she should as we expand our farm and my friend (since age 6) will definitely give that to her. My obsession leans toward cows and chickens, my friend is all about horses, so we think it would be better for everyone. Still a tough decision though.
     
  8. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:good boy, shuffy! i have a QH who chases my own dogs and cats (bad horse). he might even chase other things given the chance, but i don't feel confident enough to call him a guard horse. yet. [​IMG]
     
  9. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    cute dogs & beautiful place!
     
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Thank you, Equibling! [​IMG]

    Doda, I don't think that is too much to ask!!! My dogs practically kill themselves to get affection and give it! The younger one, Chocolate Jake, plays hide and seek with the boys, crawls in my lap every time I sit on the ground, and can't stand it when Lucy (the GP mix) gets any attention! Lucy, is my needy girl and she will continue to bug you until you pet her, then she won't let you stop! They are always underfoot when I am gardening!

    They have snug dog houses in the open-sided shed next to the chicken coop and the brooder is actually right next to their beds...I don't think anything is going to bother those chicks I'm getting July 14th! On cold winter evenings they come in and watch TV with us....they have a special blanket by the couches on which they lay and beg for lovin'!!! We gladly give it every chance we get...they are so sweet!
     

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