Just Got an Aussie pup with hope of it gaurding the poultry!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Chick~N~Family, May 12, 2010.

  1. Chick~N~Family

    Chick~N~Family Hatching

    May 12, 2010
    We bought an Australian Shepherd with the intention of training it to guard the chicken coop at night. She is Beautiful!! We have her out front under the carport, which she wont leave unless i am with her:) I have been taking her down to the 4 acre backyard in the a.m. to let them out and 3 times in the afternoon and at night to shut the pen. Each time we walk the perimeter of the yard and i dont talk except to tell her "Are the chickens okay?" I want her to able to gaurd them and do rounds when i say that. I hope that she will be a fast learner. For now she doesnt seem interested in chasing them or even paying attention to them. Now the geese hate her, they chase and hiss, but she just scoots closer to me as we walk and ignores them. If anyone has trained a dog to guard a flock of feathers, I would love to get some tips! Thanks Guys!
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member


    You may want to try the search function under "other pets and livestock" to read up on what people think about chickens and dogs. You'll hear it will be good, and never trust them.

    You'll hear xx breed is good and xx breed is bad.

    Not keeping dogs and chickens together, my first thought on an aussie, especially if from a working line, is you'll have to work hard to keep it's herding instincts down, especially the nipping, since a nip to a sheep is fine, a nip to a chicken is a dead one.
  3. Chick~N~Family

    Chick~N~Family Hatching

    May 12, 2010
    Thanks I am new on here and havent really explored the site! I will check it out!
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Aussies are great, but need a lot of training. You'll need to really work on your Aussie's "mouthiness" before you even think about introducing them. Aussies are a herding breed not a guarding breed, I'm not saying it can't be done (more later) but it will take time, training and patience x about 1,000. [​IMG]

    We got my son an Aussie two years ago for his b-day. Bandit is crazy smart (opens gates etc.) but the down side of that is that he gets bored easily and a bored Aussie is usually an Aussie that will go looking for trouble. He was actually pretty easy to chicken train, but I'd already done a lot of work with him to get him to stop using his mouth on anything that he wanted to move in another direction and also on the Leave It command.

    As long as you're willing to put in the time (you can't start too young) an Aussie can make a great farm dog. Bandit comes and gets me anytime he hears the chickens make their alarm call. He figured out all on his own that I'd run to check on them whenever they make that noise and now if he hears it he makes sure I know about it. We have a lot of coyotes and hawks around her as well as neighbor dogs and my chooks free range. When the doors and windows are closed I can't hear the chickens from the house, but Bandit can and it's allowed me to take action on many occasions that I would have otherwise likely lost birds. He even stood by the bed barking at me one early Sat. morning when a coyote was trying to get into the coop.

    However, this is also the same dog that will try to herd cars if he gets out of the fenced yard and who ate the cable (tv, internet, & phone) off the side of the house the winter before last when he was bored--we had nearly two feet of snow on the ground and it was 10-days before the cable guy could get down the driveway and fix it. [​IMG]

  5. great western

    great western Hatching

    Jan 7, 2010
    Hello Fellow Chook lovers,
    I read with interest your thoughts about the Australian Shepherd. I think this could be the dog we know as a Border Collie which is more commonly a long hair dog, black or brown & white colour, fine in shape not stocky. Does that make sense?
    Border Collies or other Australian working dogs are brilliant working dogs and highly intelligent. They like to be on the move as they have to cover a lot of ground in a working day. so need heaps of action. Not sure how a young dog like this will take to guarding the chooks as they like to be on the move. They like gathering things together like sheep, ducks, geese, children etc but they need lots, and lots, and lots of exercise.
    The Marema, an Italian dog, is used widely used for flock guarding here in Australia. They live in the paddock with the animals day & night they guard and are not brought into the house at night for human company. A commercial company near my property use them to guard their thousands of free ranging chickens and the Marema is the best solution they've found so far.
    Great Western, Australian:)
  6. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Songster

    Sep 1, 2008
    Quote:What we know as the Australian Shepherd in the US is an entirely American creation. Go figure.
    Your Border Collie sounds just like our Border Collies. Amazingly smart and energetic dogs.

    Whatever - both the aforementioned are herding dogs, not guard dogs. Guarding is not their strong suit. Sure some will excel at it but this is not the rule. Herding dogs rely on the flock’s fear of them to manipulate movement. Smart yes, willing to please the master sure, love of the work fine. But the sheep, ducks, chickens whatever still react out of fear and herding dogs learn to use that to their advantage. Sometimes they get carried away.

    I once had an English Setter that would pin anything with feathers but a chicken or duck right to the ground on a solid point. He never harmed any of my poultry. But I NEVER trusted him.

    I have show poultry friends that rely on Great Pyrenees guard dogs to keep the flocks safe. I have seen some of these dogs so dedicated to the job that they bark at a low flying airplanes to warn them off. I have also know of GPs that were admirable guard dogs for years turn on the flock and kill nearly all of them.
    Guess they are all still just wolves.
  7. lasergrl

    lasergrl Songster

    Dec 10, 2007
    Middlefield Ohio
  8. Joker69377

    Joker69377 In the Brooder

    May 2, 2010
    Neil, I haven't figured out the quote button, but your comment about Aussies being an "American Creation" is completely false. Aussies originated in Spain. I have bred Aussies for many years, so I am extremely familiar with the history and traits of this awsome breed. If you are interested in owning one, or are new to the breed, Please purchase the book "All about Aussies" by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor. You can get it from Amazon (this is not a plug for the author or book seller).
    My first Aussie was Bandit. She was a blue merle. She understood my commands in english and german, she understood hand and finger commands, and to be quite honest, she seemed to know what I was thinking. You must work hard with your Aussie and chickens, but do not leave it unattended, imo. I have seen them herd ducks, geese and chickens without attacking, but if one strays, it will try to herd it back and it's primary tool is the "grip". Aussies have scissor teeth and will grip (bite) the leg to send it back into the herd.
    I currently have 2 Aussies, 1 catahoula, 1 aussie mix, and a schiperke (sp). The aussies don't even pay any attention to my birds, my catahoula charges the pen whenever I go out, the Aussie mix sorta guards the pen, but she has jumped at one hen on the other side of the fence. My Schiperke is a mess, he wants to play with them, guard them, and sleeps next to the pen when I am out back.
    Raise your Aussie with the chickens, and she/he should not be a problem

  9. cmjust0

    cmjust0 Songster

    Apr 30, 2009
    Central KY
    If anyone has trained a dog to guard a flock of feathers, I would love to get some tips!

    My opinion...ignore at will.

    Dogs are either guardians, or they aren't. If they aren't, you can't train them into it. You can perhaps train a herding dog not to kill chickens, but that doesn't make it a guard dog..

    Would a big stray be deterred by an Aussie? If not, and if the big stray and the Aussie got in a fight, would the Aussie win...or would you have a dead dog and/or big vet bills to pay..?

    Keep in mind that I'm not advising that you get rid of the Aussie or anything like that; I love herding dogs. We have two border collies and a white GSD -- they're great dogs!

    They're just not guardian dogs.

    Here's our LGD.. He's a Sarplaninac. Notice how big he is in relation to the goats.. There's not a goat out there under 100lbs. He was about 13-14 months old in this picture.


    He hasn't shown any inclination of aggression toward goats or chickens, but you let a stray dog, coyote, or anything else out of the ordinary come near the place and he goes on high alert. He turned my neighbor's boxer and rottie away at the gate one night after they escaped the neighbor's yard.. They saw and heard him, realized he was actually kinda excited at the prospects of ripping their throats out, and decided it would be best if they just went back home.

    That's a livestock guardian dog.

    Can an Aussie do that? Or would you perhaps have a flock of dead chickens and a dead Aussie to cry over when the smoke clears?

    But, again...just my opinion. [​IMG]

    ETA...another pic of Ivan. He's intently watching one of our border collies walk around beyond the perimeter of the barnyard fence in this picture. Those two really dislike each other for some reason. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  10. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    You'll be fighting instinct to try and turn a HERDING dog into a GUARDIAN dog.
    It's not nice to try and fool Mother Nature

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