Looking into getting Great Pyrenees for guarding chickens

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by a123andpoof, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. a123andpoof

    a123andpoof Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2011
    So we are moving to 15 acres soon and there is no cover for the chickens, and I will be in school, but would like my flock to be able to freerange alot without the worry of predators. So after hearing about the Pyrenees we thought one might be a good edition to our household. I am willing to do the training though I know it can take a year or more. So here are a few questions I have:

    1. I read in one post that the dogs are prone to wandering. Will a barbed wire fence keep them in? And if the chickens stay in a certain area will he just stay with the chickens all day? One of the people I am looking about seeing getting the dog from says they trained their dog to stay on their property by teaching the dog its boundrys. Anyone else do this?

    2. Once the dog is trained to be around the chickens without fear of them being killed, can the dog live in the coop or should he have his own house.

    3. I am looking into a raw meat diet, as I believe that would be healthier. Figure can feed him the leftovers from butchered chickens. Would that be an okay diet anything else need to be added, or should I stick with dog food?

    4. What worked for you in training your dog to be around the chickens, and guard them properly.

    5. Male or female? I am leaning towards male, but will one gender stay with the flock more than the other? I want a male for the size mostly.

    Both breeders I am looking at have their dogs on farms and the parents are livestock gaurdians. The one breeder said that if I should choose the puppy will be put in the barn and raised with the animals. The other breeder didn't mention anything of this sort, but I would assume its a possibility as their dogs are also workers. I will obviously talk with both, and then decide which I feel is better.

    My reasons for picking the pyrenees, is because I have heard them to be good around chickens once trained, and their long coat is ideal for minnesota weather. I have been doing tons of reasearch and will continue doing more, but would like some owners of this breed opinons and how the dog worked for them.

    Thanks for any help, opionions and tips. All are much appreciated. And I am very serious about this. I have the money to care for a dog, and am willing to put in the time. I may be young, but I am not stupid or immature especially when it comes to animals. I also realize the cost and long term commitment. Just wanted to put that out their for those people who see I am in school and question this. I am going into college by the way to be a veterinary technician.
  2. Fleabuskitty

    Fleabuskitty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2011
    1. All dogs, no matter the breed, are prone to wandering/establishing a territory and should definitely be fenced in. If the wires are close enough together (most of the barbed wire fences I've seen have wires that are far enough apart for a dog to easily get through) then it will work, but if not you might want to look into radio fences.

    2. The dog should have its own area where other animals can't/don't go for it to eat and rest.

    3. Definitely go with raw! I just switched my three dogs to raw and will definitely not be going back to kibble. preymodelraw.com is a helpful website with lots of good info.

    4. My 6 month old Pyr puppy killed a few chickens, actually played with them to death, but I have begun taking him into the coops with me when possible and watching him closely, correcting him, etc and have had no casualties in a while. I also attached an empty 2 liter soda bottle to his collar as a drag so that it is between his legs when he walked, preventing him from running around and jumping as easily. This helps not only to keep him from playing (when I'm around he gets play time with the other dogs without it) but also prevents him from jumping on people, which he previously had a problem with. Puppies should never be left alone with livestock of any kind but should spend as much supervised time with them as possible. Putting the puppy where it can see the chickens and smell them is a good idea so that it can get used to them.

    5. As long as the dog is spayed/neutered, gender doesn't matter (unless size is important). I believe that an intact dog would not make a good LGD, as they will want to reproduce which will distract them.

    I highly recommend the book Livestock Protection Dogs: Selection, Care, and Training. Hopefully my answers will help you some [​IMG]
  3. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I have had better luck with my fixed male GPs then the females with the birds... I have both but the males were easier to train around the birds for some reason? Supervised time is key and also them having their own area next to the birds so they can get use to them with out hurting them. It takes a good year for them to be trustworthy with fowl.. And with exotics it can be longer. From the time they were born I put chickens around them. Let the chickens eat from their bowls as pups. I picked the bossyest hens so they made the puppies wait while they are first or the puppies got a peck on the nose. Geese are good at training puppies too. Geese that bite and chase the puppy lets the puppy know that ruff play is not tolerated. I do not let puppies paw at, jump at any of the fowl.... No mouthing is tolerated at all. No eating feathers off the ground either..... Strick supervision is ideal for a good fowl dog. I have swan, cranes, chickens, turkey, pigeons, peafowl, geese, ducks, etc etc that my five gps are with.

    A good fence is needed, field fence wire etc... GPs WILL wander.
  4. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    Central Ohio
    You need a real fence. 15 acres is nothing to a GP. There are a FEW who will stay home, but very few. A fence will also aid in keeping predators out.

    Raw is best, hands down.

    Males take longer to mature mentally. Girls get protective sooner. In the end, they are about equal.

    Puppies should not be isolated. They should be handled and socialized. Barn is fine IF they are also handled, and IF the mother dog is still with them. Puppies with no adult dog to guide are not learning how to be an LGD. If the pups are shy, buy one elsewhere.
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Quote: Yes they are prone to wandering
    No, a barbed wire fence wont keep them in or predators out
    No they won't stay with the chickens
    Some people trying to SELL you a dog will tell you anything you want to hear

    If you don't have actual LIVESTOCK, and don't have PASTURES, don't get a Livestock Guardian breed

    You probably won't be happy with the results
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  6. a123andpoof

    a123andpoof Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2011
    @ Bear foot He will have access to all the acreage, but his job will be the chickens. We plan to expand our flock and there are lots of predators. The chickens will have approx 1 acre, to wander, and more once the gardens all done in the fall. I feel one would be very helpful.

    Thanks for the link on the raw diet! I will take a look at that. And will see if I can find the book!

    I am definatly leaning towards a male, and I do know that you cannot leave them alone with chickens. I am planning his area to be right next to the chicken run. The chickens won't be able to freerange much until the dog is trained.

    I will look into fencing, maybe see about an electric fence or something or see whats the cheapest, but will work to keep him in.

    I would never not soliolize with the puppy! He will be treated like my indoor pets, the only difference is he will be outdoors. I also plan to give him basic training, such as sit, and come and not to jump on people. So basically just a few manners.

    Another question my parents are also considering getting a cow, and may possibly get a few other types of animals, would he also guard those? Or would he need to be trained around those two. I realize he would need to be introduced and realize they are okay to be on the property, but once he realized that wouldhe also guard them since they will be on the property?
  7. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Now, not all will stay with the chickens....... but my three males and one female spend all day with the birds. I have goats, llamas, alpacas, horses and mini cattle too.... but they are attached more to the chickens and fowl. I raised them that way. They make their rounds and then come back to the birds. They dig a huge hole in the ground to lay in and every time I go out there, they are almost pushed out of their hole or dog house by it being full of chickens, geese, turkey etc.... laying in there with them. If you think it is just because of the cool hole and that spot... the dog will follow some of the other birds to another spot, and lay with them. They seek out the birds... because the birds are their "flock" lol. They grew up with them, and my one GP loves the geese and swans like they were his littermates. They let the birds bite them, jump on them... take their food. It takes Training, lots of it and being there to train. That's why good guardians are worth the money that their breeders spend with them.... Training. GP's are hard headed, stubborn and do not take abuse.... but trained correctly and lots of time put into them.... can be great family and livestock dogs.
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Quote: So he'll be running loose.
    Read some of the threads about what dogs running loose can do, and how they often don't come home

    That's another good reason not to get a true LGD breed.

    You'll be just as well off with a mutt from a pound

    LGD's are not just your "normal" dog, and shouldn't be treated as such if you want them to do what they are bred to do

    If you're going to be at school, you won't be training the dog when he needs it most.

    If he's penned while you're at school, he won't be learning on his own either

    Some good fencing will be better protection against predators.
    You can buy a LOT of fence for what a GP will cost, and it will work from the first day with no "training" at all.

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  9. danischi24

    danischi24 Loves naked pets

    Aug 17, 2008
    Your best bet is to make two squares of fencing, one inside the other. The inner square is the acre for the poultry & the second fully inclosing square is for the LGD. This way he will be guarding the birds without being able to eat them.
  10. a123andpoof

    a123andpoof Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2011
    Okay please understand my school is less then 10 minutes away. I will have a few extra hours every single day to work on training. I

    From my understanding I thought once the dog was trained he was supposed to be able to run loose. As a puppy he will have a kennel right next to the chicken pen so he can see them 24 hours a day.

    I don't plan on getting the dog for a few more months, which is why I am reasearching now. I AM TRYING to learn.

    What I meant about treating him like an indoor pet is that, I would socialize him, give him basic training just to try and make him somewhat managable, and give him attention, just not in excess and he would never leave the chickens area.

    So please stop telling me why I shouldn't get it because I am still in the learning process. I really do realize they are not like your average pet, the way I am explaining stuff just isn't coming off right.

    Once he can be trusted around the chickens, if he is penned in another area how would he be protecting them? I know their bark usually scares animals away, but I also read that its a mix of them barking, and making the area.

    Also how do they do with protecting against hawks? That is a big predator in the area I am moving to.

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