Open pasture, mixed flock, LGD pup

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by familyties, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California
    Hi all! I would love your input on my set up! I have a mixed flock of layers (7 X 20 week olds and 10 X 2 week olds), ducks (2 adults and 12 ducklings) and 50 newly hatched meat birds (red Rangers). All the babies are in brooders inside and the mature fowl are in a large coop with an automatic chicken door leading to a yard enclosed in 200' of pos/neg poultry netting. We've had some predator issues but haven't lost any with this set up. Soon though the babies will join the outside world so I have a huge fence going up that's 6' tall covering over an acre, a huge night coop for the ducks and meat birds and a new pyr/sheppard pup (10 weeks). The puppy comes from a homesteading neighbor with goats and chickens and was basically born in a coop. She's been with chickens from day 1. She's never shown any fear or chased them until a couple mean girl hens started pecking at her. Now they get into a stand off. Question is, how do I open up this space to the flock and dog? She's been in their poultry net yard in an open crate full of blankets in a dog house but the chickens are pecking at her and making her want to chase them. Will they still do that when they have more space and if I move her house further away? Do I divide areas within the fenced yard? I'm looking for an adult trained LGD but no luck so far. I'd rather not train two puppies at once. Hope this all made sense. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California
    Closer to two acres in total.
     
  3. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2011
    she has never chased them before because she was a baby plus supervised by mom who I'm assuming was good with the animals.
    she needs to be kept separated physically when you aren't there to watch her. she's at the age that she will quickly learn how FUN it is to chase chickens.
    Shepherds are dogs that are born to chase things. it's their natural instinct. you'll have to be on hand to train that drive into the proper avenues
     
  4. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California

    Thank you! I have her separated now and we also just found a four year old pyr/Antolian poultry dog. I know I need to keep them close but separate from the flock until we train him to accept this flock as his own which takes a couple months. At that point would he keep the puppy in line so they could all be together? Or keep her separated until 18-24 months?
     
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I don't advise to keep them separated, nor do I think she should be confined in the pen with them. She can guard around the pen and also go in the pen with you when you work in there. Early and often exposure where you can correct when she shows overt excitement when they run, flap, fight or mate one another so that she understands how you want her to behave around the chickens. I'd catch a chicken and sit down with her beside you, let her sniff it and explore it but not get excited over it and it sounds like she doesn't need the chickens pecking her so correct the chicken if it does so. She needs to know that you are over the chickens and over her, that both animals will find guidance and protection from each other from that source.

    I reinforced that by not allowing my chickens to raid the pup's food while he was eating and I don't let the dogs in the chicken coop while THEY are eating. Each party should have their own space and ability to keep that space when they need it. After those things are established, I then left alone together out on range and watched from a distance. One correction....that's all it took to let him know I'm watching, that even loping towards the chickens to make them scatter is not acceptable, even in play. He also followed the example of my existing chicken dog, a Lab/Border Collie cross and has learned to be calm and ignore the chickens from that source.

    That all has worked beautifully and I've trusted my pup with the free range chickens since the first month he's been here. He arrived at 2 mo. of age and his training started when he alighted from the truck. He's now 8 mo. of age and a great chicken dog, calm and quiet around the chickens, eager to please and quick to respond to direction. Yesterday I brought him home a whole deer to feed on from a fresh roadkill and he ate side by side with the chickens on it. He was doing the same thing when he was a new arrival here, feeding on deer offal alongside the chickens.

    Ben, at 2 mo. of age.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California
    Great dog! These are great tips too, thank you! But how on earth do you correct the chicken? I was considering either confining her in a separate coop or making soup! There are two hens that peck but one RIR is the instigating bully. Our new dog Bo is a huge pyr/Antolian. 4 years old. Today a couple chickens escaped and ran right by him. He didn't even flinch. I caught one and hugged her and showed her to Bo, he kind of sniffed and licked my hand. Then I let him follow me into their yard to do some clean up. He laid down very peacefully beside me and the darn RIR ran right up and pecked him in the eye!! He reared up, I yelled and swooshed the chicken away. Poor Bo's eye was shut for a while but seems alright now. What did that teach him though? Will be want to attack them, be afraid of them? What do I do with this mean hen? Always something! Here's Bo, before the peck: [​IMG] Bo with Delilah: [​IMG]
     
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    That's a beautiful dog!!!! I love his name and I also think your coop and run is just beautiful! [​IMG]

    I correct a hen much like they correct one another or an older hen corrects a younger bird.....I either peck them on the head or body with my finger tips~hard~or I'll grab her comb and hold on until she's trying to get away...then I'll let go, but not until she's frantic to be let go.

    I prefer the single peck method if I'm training in front of a pup, as they may mimic your technique of the grab and hold....I've heard these Anatolians are great mimics and I've seen that right in front of me in this pup of mine and how he mimics the older dog in many things.

    I also cull my flock for temperament, so I don't have any habitually cranky birds on hand. It's much easier for chickens to be social and have an even temperament when they free range, so that's a factor also. In a penned environment, I think it's easier for a single bird to gain power over the others because they cannot escape her.

    If having trouble reaching the birds to correct them in a timely fashion, you can always use a lightweight, flexible rod of some kind....a fishing pole works great, a fiberglass plant support cane works and even a thin cane of bamboo is light enough to get in a tap on the back or head of a hen without exerting too much weight or power.
     
  8. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California

    Thanks! It's a work in progress but really coming along nicely!!

    These are great ideas! Alright. The RIR gets another chance. Their free range space just got MUCH bigger so maybe that will fix it. By the end of next week it will be the full 2 acres (although I'll keep the netting for dividers until the dogs and poultry are all in harmony). I'll keep the dogs with me and keep a fishing pole on hand to see if I can get this hen under control. Fingers crossed since they are all 23 weeks and just starting to lay!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    When Ben was little I even went so far as to stand between him and the flock when he was eating and they were trying to dart in and get his food....I wanted him to feel like he was being protected by a pack leader until he could protect himself.

    He found this out a few days later when he tried to dive in and take the old dog's food from him....he got picked up by his hide and given a toss. Twice was all it took before he realized that he was to keep his distance from Jake's food pan. Now when I go to feed, he sits a good distance from Jake while I dish out his food, then he lies down and waits calmly while I dish out his own food and he will lie there with his head on his paws until I tell him it's okay for him to go eat. Meanwhile, no chickens are allowed to come to his food....so he knows I've got his back, I've got Jake's back and I've also got the chicken's back and all of that was important for him to understand...there's a leader here and it ain't him.

    I think all of that was significant in his progress with these chickens. He used to bark impatiently while I was in the coop~I feed the chickens first each morning~ and he kept trying to come in the door, but I ordered him out and then corrected him for barking at me when I was slow to come out. Barking at me is NOT acceptable, not in that way. If he needs me to come and investigate something, it's fine but to bark because I wasn't coming out and he couldn't come in was not. I'll tell you how smart this pup is....he transferred the lying down and waiting with head on paws from the feeding situation to the coop situation, so now I don't hear any barking nor do I have a big dog trying to come into the coop...I now have a quiet, calm and patient dog lying down with head on paws, waiting his turn on getting fed.

    He's been a dream to work with and a true blessing from God to this homestead. I give all glory to God for his nature and his progress on training, as I asked God for guidance on all of that and just followed what He put in my mind to do and it all worked...and it worked beautifully. God is good!!!
     
  10. familyties

    familyties Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 26, 2015
    California

    So wonderful! Do they eat next to each other? I have been feeding the dogs all separately since they are all still getting to know each other. We've had the puppy just over 2 weeks and Bo came home Friday! It's going really well though I would say. The first night Bo was doing the escape artist wandering everybody talks about. We walked the perimeter a couple times and now he mostly likes to follow me and wait by the door if I'm inside. I know he will be transferring more to time with the flock but I'm happy he's bonded to me! The puppy Delilah is completely submissive to him so he should be able to keep her in line no problem. She was chewing on my daughters rain boots today and he did something (I didn't see it) to get her to stop. I heard a Yelp and saw her running away from the boots!

    I sat in the chicken area (armed with a bamboo stick) with Bo by my side and Delilah restrained in my lap for a while today. The chickens did their thing but never approached us. Delilah didn't tense up to chase ever though either. Maybe the extra space and presence of two dogs plus me is enough to keep the rouge hen in line!

    Thank you so much for your input! These forums are very helpful!! Do you have a favorite training book specific to LGD? I keep finding, all about them, do I need one, or pet info. I did join a couple great Facebook groups and found some helpful articles online though.
     

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