PLANNED POULTRY GUARDING DOG

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Dec 4, 2010.

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  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Today I acquired my first livestock guarding dog to be. He is a German shorthair, bred to be a bird dog and supposedly a representative of one of the more mentally sound and capable dog breeds. My wife is partial to breed and was able to promote it owing to its reputation as guard dog for property. Still challenges expected, especially in respect to roaming which will likely manifest when pup reaches adulthood. Short coat will be a concern when weather cold but awesome when hot. He will be small enough to keep feed bills down yet big enough to at least standoff a local coyote. Roughly 2 years from now a female will be acquired. When she reaches adulthood, coyote(s) will not be a problem.

    Below is Scooby (right) at six weeks of age and Dooby is the 1/3 grown dominique male (left). Dooby and his sisters will be expected to sleep in doghouse with Scooby once he is big enough to tolerate cold. Until then interactions between pup and birds only during day. This imprinting time and Scooby must be socialized with our stock and possibly with some to be acquired in future (sheep and goats). Scooby comes from family that crosses fences very well which is needed if he is to pursue villans too and through fenced paddocks set to keep small ruminants. Poultry will not be constrained by fencing excepting in breeding paddock.


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  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Scooby, at 11 weeks of age, has taken to abusing his flock, pack mates. He was pushing them to ground and attempting to make their eggs hatch. Remedied by letting Scooby attempt such activities with a game rooster. He attempted, multiple times. Rooster obviously anoyed and quick to get out of way. Scooby thought fun and gave a playbow, which rooster saw as invitation to fight so they did. Scooby at 18 pounds versus game stag at 5 pounds 8 ounces. Rooster too fast and had real aggression motivating him. He flogged Scoob multiple times sending pup scurrying between my legs yelping. No harm done but pup no longer shows improper relations with chickens. He still eats their feed. That is going to be a bigger problem. Good rooster!
     
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  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Scoob progressing nicely in duties as LGD at 7 months of age. Getting size (55 lbs) and courage up. Foxes no longer visit. Have not seen oppossums or racoons but likely cicada hatch keeping them in woods. Scoob still goes chicken bowling but they almost keep feeding as he runs through flock. Scoob much more effective than multiple bred to purpose LGD's at work which not as mobile, especially when hot. Scoob moves about barnyard checking free ranging flocks that have discrete home ranges. Major problem though is he still eats feeds and hides darn feeders. He is a sloppy eater of chicken feed with crumble stuck to his lips and gums. Below is still photo of male chick designated "Speech", a red jungle fowl x American game, that picks crumble from Scoobs mouth. I hope to co-train Speech and Scoob for future presentations. Speech behaves like a crow or parrot when it comes to interactions with me and effort put into getting eats.
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  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I'll have to admit, I was skeptical about a german short-hair guarding your birds. I was thinking it would be as effective as letting a fox guard your henhouse, given the birdiness of the breed. But then, my bred-to-hunt black lab is my chicken guardian, so why not a german short-hair? I'm glad it's working out for you! Scooby is a beautiful dog! (my lab was introduced to the chickens at a young age, too - 7 weeks. He also enjoys chicken bowling, but Heaven help another dog who might try it!)
     
  5. memiller123

    memiller123 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a blue heeler that I introduced to chickens when he was 5 years old. It has taken over a year, but he has learned that he is not allowed to eat them and he now tolerates them well. One BIG problem we have is if we pick up a chicken to hold it. He gets terribly jealous and gets a bit aggressive toward the bird, trying to chase it away. One great thing you did, which we weren't able to do, was to introduce your dog to your flock as a pup. Looks like you have a great set up.
     
  6. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not bred to be a chicken dog, but, Border Collie Jared shares his bed (hens laying there) and has had 3 broody hens which he has looked after on that bed. He protects chicks from crows and generally looks after all of the birds.




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  7. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My first thought was "no way would that dog be a match for coyotes". I've seen much bigger dogs than that shredded by coyote packs. My dogs are a "first warning" type of defense. Their scent keeps many predators out of the yard. Their barking alerts me to bring the gun and dispatch anything that enters the yard.

    Coyotes sometimes come alone, but usually with their mate. Here, the usual pack size is 6+ animals. Just wanted to make sure you were aware of that
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I am very familiar with coyote hunting methods (I am also zoologist that studies wildlife). Coyotes in my area largely single hunters. Pack activity when it comes to territorial disputes (between packs) usually has cooperation of only mated pair. The pups that add up to six howl a lot but noncombatents.

    My German short-haired pointers will weigh 55 to 75 pounds and be operating on their home turf. Size extremely important, more often than not dogs will have coyotes out numbered and home turf in itself gives dogs confidence and gives coyotes pause when hunting in someone elses turf.

    If we had wolves or coyote - wolf hybrids as exist in NE US, then your concerns would be shared and dog breed and number of dogs would have to be upgraded or my free range system would be revised. My reality is 35 pound coyotes and 35 pound bobcats, both will stand down when my 55 pound plus LGD presses issue.

    I am not a romantic in respect to invulnerability of wildlife. They are mortal and will seldom put themselves at risk for a piddly meal of chicken. I also will use firemarms if needed but will face hand to hand any predator except a skunk if gun not immediately available since I am up on my shots.
     
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  9. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a great post. Looking forward to hearing how Scooby does.
    Definately an intelligent breed and trainable if you have the patience. They have alot of energy that needs to be burnt off, and this sounds like a great way to use that energy. An aquaintence uses German Shorthair Pointers for grouse hunting, he drops them out of the truck about a mile from the hunting site and runs some of the energy off them so they can focus on the hunt better. Even with the mile run up the mountain road, those dogs will hunt the pants off you!

    How are you keeping Scooby contained on your property? Sound like you have some acreage, does he stick around fairly well?
     
  10. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    that's good that you know the animals in your area [​IMG]
    As I said, here the average pack is around 6 animals. Attacks on dogs are fairly common, mostly because they seem to view the dogs as competition for food sources. I have heard of people losing GSDs to coyote packs.
    Sadly, in WV where I grew up, there is also a huge problem with coy-dogs.
     
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