Keeping chickens in a run only but with LGD?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Fenika, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2010

    I've been on here getting ideas for all kinds of projects, but decided it would be good to have portable fence panels to fence in my chickens. The panels would be constructed of EMT and hardware cloth / welded wire fencing, and be fairly easy to assemble / disassemble / move. I will have an apron for the outside, hotwire at the bottom and top of the fence, and deer or poultry netting at the top.

    I'll also have an adult Anatolian in with the chickens 24/7 to guard them.

    The coop and covered areas will not be closed off, simply open to the run. I'm in NC, so cold isn't much of an issue.

    Anyone see any major problems with this? It's certainly a ton safer than free ranging but I want to make sure I'm not overlooking something.
  2. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2010
    Is that a big enough space for a large dog? And is he trained not to kill the chickens? are my questions. Actually it sounds like a great setup even without the dog!

    We have our chickens inside a six-foot fence (no hotwire yet), and the dog ranges around outside, catching things before they get in. He's not a herding breed, though. If we could get a herding dog, I'd like to try training him to guard the chickens while they free-range.
  3. Ivywoods

    Ivywoods Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2010
    Hiawatha, KS
    I have my layers in a pen, just to keep the roos away. I have about 10 roosters that free range the yard. Also free-ranging the yard are 3 LGD's (One is just a pup.)

    We have several dogs. Seems like each of the kids had to have their own dogs, and then when they left home, the dogs stayed here, so we have 3 LGD's, one boxer, one german shorthair, one chihuahua, a boston terrier and a german wirehair dachshund. The boxer and boston terrier ignore the chickens. The chihuahua would sleep with them if he could. The german shorthair points them, and the only one we have a problem with is the dachshund. We got him specifically for blood tracking wounded deer, and he does that very well. HOWEVER, we have not been able to get him to leave the chickens alone. We have even used a shock collar on him, and it works for a bit, then the next time he is outdoors he is at it again. "Digger" absolutely cannot be trusted around the chickens.

    Yesterday my hubby let the dogs out, and let Digger out of his sight. The next thing we knew Digger had one of the roosters, and all the other dogs were barking and running around. My husband started swearing and went after him, saying, "*&#@ now he's got Sophie (one of the LGD's) chasing them!) I ran outside to find Sophie sitting on the ground with the rooster between her front feet. We scolded her and took the rooster and put him in an isolation pen.

    Upon examining the rooster, there were some missing feathers, but that was all. Where Sophie was laying with the rooster, there were no feathers. I am convinced now that Sophie chased Digger off the bird and was guarding it from him. I cannot prove this, but I really think that is what happened. She is in the yard all day with those chickens and has never hurt one.

    We live in the country and we have lots of coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, possums, skunks, and other varmints. We have not lost one chicken or any of our goats to predators since we got these LGD's. One is pure great pyrenees and Sophie is 1/2 pyrenees and 1/2 anatolian. The pup is the result of the other two (who have since been neutered.)

    I think the pen you describe and your LGD are going to be adequate.
  4. Fenika

    Fenika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2010

    The pen will be about 80x30 to start, and I can make it bigger or change it to a more square configuration as needed. I am going to start with it in one part of the yard and move it a little as needed (but not the coop). My dog was raised in a similar sized pen (if not a bit smaller) and is living in the same pen now, so she is adjusted to such a size and at the least content with it. I will hopefully be letting everyone free range once a day, but if the dog shows signs of trying to run off, there are pastures she can go in (hopefully she'll stay with the chickens though). If I can't free range, I'll be sure to walk her around the property or something for exercise.

    Ivy, I hope Sophie was innocent. I'm glad your dogs are good at keeping the predators away.
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    That's a small space for a large dog.

    They need room to run.
  6. eKo_birdies

    eKo_birdies Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    Quote:oh please. that dog has 2400 sq. ft if penned, and a job to do.

    i understand you raise livestock guardian dogs.. you should be familiar with the concept of a dog having a job to do.

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