Medium sized dog for protecting free range flock?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jungleexplorer2, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. jungleexplorer2

    jungleexplorer2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Recently I took a two week vacation to visit family and when I got back to my farm, my entire free range flock was gone (over 50 birds).[​IMG] After searching around, I found where many had been devoured by some predator. I have still not determined what kind of predator it was but bobcat, coyote, fox, raccoon and owls are all suspect, or all of the above. It is obvious that the predators can tell when we are not here for a few days and move in with force.[​IMG]

    The bottom line is four years of hard work is gone and I will have to rebuild my free range flock again.[​IMG] But before I do, I need to find a dog that can be left to guard the farm in my absence. I have done some googling and it seems that the general consensus is that the Great Pyrenees (GP) is the best for this task, but I don't want a horse. There is a top ten list for flock dogs, and all the breeds suggested on that list are all in 120lb range like the GP. I don't want a dog that big. I want a dog under 60 pounds. I am wondering if anyone here can recommend a smaller to medium size dog breed for this task.

    Here are the key qualities I am after. A dog that has a keen sense of home area and does not need fencing. A dog that has a strong shepherding instinct and will protect the flock (once trained). Any dogs come to mind?
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
  2. I highly recommend a Border Collie, I had a BC mix that would not only herd my chickens and alert us when a predator was around, she would herd cats!
     
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    I am not sure where you live. During a 2 week vacation, your dog could have also been a meal depending on the predators. I only have one suggestion, and it may not apply to you or be possible for you. Build a secure coop. When you go on vacation, lock it and provide enough food and water for the duration of time. The chickens may not be as happy, but they will be alive. When you return, let them out and all back to old times.
    Here is a link to help you identify your predators.
    http://countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/chickens/what-killed-my-chicken/
    WISHING YOU BEST... [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. jungleexplorer2

    jungleexplorer2 Out Of The Brooder

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    The predators here are not that aggressive. I am dealing with small predators like grey foxes or raccoons, maybe a bobcat. They really don't come near the farm if there is a dog on the loose.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Two weeks is too long to leave without checking. Dog will have same issues. Have someone check everything daily. I have someone house sit when I leave town. Put up a perimeter or two of hotwire. Hotwire will not stop all, especially chickens, but it can make predator's job more difficult decreasing odds you will get cleaned out in such a short period of time next go around.
     
  6. SJ

    SJ Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    X2

    If your predator is a dog or canine understand it has now made it's hunting ground your backyard and will remain there until:
    1. prey/food is unavaiable
    2. trapped and relocated
    3. disposed of...

    Plainly a dog left for two weeks by itself is animal neglect. A dog is no silver bullet to a predator problem either. A dog sleeping at the foot of your bed won't stop the fox from stealing birds off the roost of a coop with the door left open. A personnal experience. A wholistic approach to your flocks security would be my advice. Have a place where you can secure the entire flock for extended periods. Have someone check your place each day if your gone. Hot wire hasn't done much for me but hey what can it make worse?

    My two danes are great flock guardians having twarted many a feral cat's hunt. During the day that is. I got home late one evening after dinner at a friends and found twenty dead birds on my lawn. It had been dark for less than two hours. I trapped a mother coon and her six cubs that week.(Mama with mouths to feed.) No open doors after dark is now the rule.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  7. Henieta

    Henieta New Egg

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    Raccoons will kill a German Shepherd. They are extremely aggressive if you stand in the way of food they want!
     
  8. SJ

    SJ Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    A coon drowned our neighbors chocolate lab, coyotes packed up and killed another neighbors australian blue heeler, a feral dog pack moved in and killed our yellow lab while we were at church one sunday when I was seven. A dog is just that, another animal. Heck your dog could kill your whole flock all out of boredom. Who would stop'em.
     
  9. BBQJOE

    BBQJOE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Void where prohibited.


    +1
     
  10. jungleexplorer2

    jungleexplorer2 Out Of The Brooder

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    The assumptions made here are mind boggling. Just because I said I was on vacation for two weeks, does not mean I left my farm totally abandon. Geez guys, try some common sense. I had people coming by every day to check on things, gather eggs, and so forth. I asked for advice on a good farm dog for protecting chickens, not your opinion about my person. I know a lot of people on here think they are some kind of animal rights activist and feel obsessively compelled to spew their opinion about proper pet care out on everyone they talk to, but I am not here for that kind of debate, because that will get someone banned.

    The subject of this thread is about medium sized dogs for protecting a free range flock; not "Let"s all express are opinions about how other people should care for their animals". Stick to the subject and we will be fine. If you don't know an answer to the question, there is no need to respond.
     

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