Is it worth having a chicken guard dog in NY suburbia?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Sarjopepper, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. Sarjopepper

    Sarjopepper New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Sep 21, 2015
    Hello. I'm new and I wasn't sure whether to put this here or under "predators" forum. I'm currently in college, and I do not have plans to get chickens for YEARS, but it has interested me to have layers as pets later on in life. Being able to have a dog that would protect them and be my companion would also be great. My dream is a Belgian Sheepdog or mix (love the black coat and build, it looks like a wolf!) However, I don't know if this will all be practical when I'm finally out of college and have a steady job. Would a guard dog be worth it if...

    1. I live alone
    2. Average ~6-8 hr job?
    3. Live in suburbia NY, possibly Long Island? (at least 1/4 acre yard)
    4. Will the chickens keep the dog company while I work or is it too stressful
    5. Will predators be a problem at all if I fortify the coop and run?

    I know training any breed of dog to not kill and guard will take a lot of time and patience. I also know leaving a dog alone for long periods of time is asking for trouble. I ALSO know that a Belgian Sheepdog isn't exactly a "beginner" dog. I am however willing to sacrifice social life to keep up with its energy level before and after work.

    So am I asking for way too much?
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    7,745
    2,283
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! Yes, you are asking for the moon here. In a small back yard, your birds will be in their coop and run most of the time, because they will want to explore the neighbor's property too. Fencing needed!!! A dog who is with you isn't outside guarding the livestock, and again, serious fencing will be needed to keep your dog in your yard. It will be great if you raise a puppy to respect the chickens as yours, and not as dinner and playtoys, but your main defense will be fencing and that coop and run. Mary
     
  3. Sarjopepper

    Sarjopepper New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Sep 21, 2015
    Sorry, I thought fencing was a given. Yes, there will definitely be all-around fencing separating me from my neighbors, but its still too much, huh?
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,536
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    [​IMG]

    I'm still stuck on the only being gone a max of 8 hours a day for work but still being able to afford 1/4 acre yard on Long Island with no roomies. [​IMG]
     
  5. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,538
    1,535
    436
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    I agree that it's not necessarily necessary, especially with a small yard like that. They'll probably be in the run and even if not, I don't think there's too many predators to worry about and what ones there are a secure run and coop will help. :)

    Although I do advocate for getting a dog :p

    I will say though that Belgian Sheepdogs (or Belgian Shepherd, Groenendael variety. For some reason in the U.S. they are separate breeds but in other countries they are one with 4 varieties) are very demanding dogs. You seem to know that already, or at least a little bit, but it is not just the exercise. Some varieties are more or less demanding, like for example the Belgian Malinois is highly demanding, but they are all demanding in their own way. They're very smart dogs and attached to their owners. Even if they weren't energetic and intelligent dogs, they want to be with their owners so I don't think being alone so long would necessarily be fair. Although 6 or even 8 isn't as much as some jobs and could actually probably work out. But do keep in mind that it's more than just exercise for them; they need a lot of training and mental stimulation too.

    BUT.

    I don't mean to completely bash it or come off as mean or a know it all or anything, because I definitely don't know that much, just know some people with them,; just concerned for you both cause sometimes smart dogs are too smart for their own good lol

    You sound like you've been doing research though and would make a great owner of one on day, if not the first dog :)

    That said though, I know people who do tons and the dog still gets bored, so even if you did everything or left them outside instead of a crate, I think they'd probably get bored being outside all that time and.maybe tear up your yard or find a way out.

    But I also don't think that you necessarily have to start with a less demanding dog as a first dog. People like to say that but honestly I think as long as you do all research and fully prepare they would be a fine first dog.

    Just maybe not needed as a chicken guardian or to be left outside. Lol

    They're also a herding breed so if you did decide on a guard dog, it may be better to get a multi purpose dog like an English Shepherd, or a specific LGD (Great Pyrenees and Anatolians are great, though LGDs can be protective. but then so can shepherds) as they'd probably be happier laying there for hours. My Lab/Pyr mix will gladly sleep on the couch all day but will also gladly go on adventures haha

    But again, sorry for the long post or if I sound rude or anything. :(

    If you want I can connect you with some.of the people i know that have the breed
     
  6. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,538
    1,535
    436
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    You do sound like you'd make a great owner though eventually, especially willing to sacrifice everything and stuff, they're just a lot of work haha I think being prepared though, you'll be find. :)
     
  7. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    6,821
    324
    331
    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    The fear that I would have on that size property would be the barking. Guard dogs (farm, chicken, or otherwise) are born to bark. That's what makes them so good at their jobs! In a suburban setting, I think your neighbors would not be too happy with noise.

    Of course, it might be one of those things that you just wait and see how it goes, especially to see where you end up. I wouldn't count your chickens before they hatch, so to speak (ie. Buy the dog before the setup). I certainly don't think having a dog is impossible but I will say that working and having a high energy dog is very exhausting! I would probably start with a good sturdy predator proof coop and then you could always add a dog later.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by