Pointers with chickens.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by nicktide, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. nicktide

    nicktide Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2008
    Boonsboro, MD
    We are currently checking out dog breeds to decide what we want. I would like a dog that is not likely to attack my chickens and ducks and will scare off predators when he is out. I was thinking of a pointer, particularly a German Shorthaired Pointer since they are bred to not attack the bird but point it out. Has anyone kept a pointer with poultry? Any other breeds that are known for being bird friendly?
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Centrarchid has two German short hairs that he uses as flock guardians. It is all a result of the genetics and training of the particular dog. A surgeon that I know has grandparents in Germany. His grandfather raises German short haired pointers. They are utilied as all around farm dogs - home and flock protectors as well as bird and even mammal hunting dogs.
     
  3. nicktide

    nicktide Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I have been researching the heck out of this. Looking for the right combo of health, ease of grooming, family dog, hiking buddy and willing to leave my birds alone. Do you by chance know... will pointers give you a bark if there is someone approaching? I only know one pointer and he never barks.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have two with chickens, one male short-haired and one female long-haired. Mine if not trained would do more than point a chicken out, more like kill as any dog could. Training is an issue not to be overlooked and requires not only your attenton over many hours but also over a year to get dogs ultimately into reliable working mode.

    My pointers bark aggressively when they encounter someone on property but when male is taken hunting / hiking he effectively ignores other people. Female in particular has loud and deep bark that carries well and both have deeper voice like I desire with a guard dog. They also put the soft mouth away when dealing with predators. Male has killed a red fox, several raccoons and oppossums, as well as a mink. Raccoons are hardest to kill because they are take a licking and keep trying to lick you when you bite the wrong end. Male dog had to kill three before he learned to not bite just the butt. They also caught a barred owl but did not seem to even damage a feather which sort of dissapointed me after owl taloned me between fingers. Overall, most predators I deal with are small, coyote sized and down where a balance of speed, size and smarts needed. Large dogs (80 to 140 lbs), especially when in groups of three or more are forcing use of more fencing than originally anticipated. It would take a similar number of standard LGD's to take those buggers on and I can not afford the feed bill for such. Until all fencing in place, .22 rifle will be at ready to back up my dogs at least while I am home.

    Despite being double coated, male does not have cold tolerance desired but he has excellent heat tolerance. Female has much better cold tolerance but also tracks more mud about and stays wet longer.

    Other breeds that can be used are black and tan coonhounds, dalmations, and border collies. Black and tans we had lots of so did not get a real handle on how well they dealt with challenges one on one like typical LGD's do. A visiting German sheperd would get 5 hounds piling on him if he got sassy. Dalmations all over the place with respect to temperament and trainability. Best dalmation I ever had could match any dog when it came to her utilty but only a small percentage of her pups were similar even though male she was bred to each time was above average mentally. That female was also only dog I had that would kill another dog one on one which kept me on my toes when visitors came over. I do not like dog killings and have a limited stomach for doing it myself. Border collie for me involved only one dog and he would stop doing something after only one command. He was also inclined to drive them when board but did no harm.

    Until last two dogs acquired, my family had several hundred acres dogs could roam and dogs roamed. They largely eliminated predators within nearly a 1/2 mile radius of barnyard making so we could keep chickens in fence-rows and cedars next ponds with losses. Present two dogs have only about 20 acres and they do go off but they are safe with neighbors poultry including waterfowl. My male got two coons defending neighbors flock which is about 1/8 mile from home. Loud bark helped me figure out what was going on. These pointers are very smart making so if training is botched you can make for problems. Smart dogs are more prone to get into trouble when board. Having ample room is important with dogs like these.

    Finally, these guys can learn to open doors / gates. Most of our doors are either levered or pocket doors which are easy for dogs to master. Male goes to lab with me each weekend and he can open a range of doors there and operate water fountain which lots of dogs seem adept at. Currently I training them to jump electrified fencing that keeps livestock in but other dogs out. This ability required to suppress Mr. Red Fox who can also get past such fences and would otherwise use fence against my dogs.


    Do not rely only on dogs, fencing, traps, firearms, or superdooper Fort Knox pens to keep predator losses under control. Use them all and be flexible. You will need to train dogs with respect to the other methods which is a fun challenge in its own right. The dogs sure seem to enjoy it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
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  5. nicktide

    nicktide Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2008
    Boonsboro, MD
    Thanks Centrarchid,
    I am prepared for a lot of training and exercise. They seem to be highly trainable but from what I read, if you dont train them regularly (for mental and physical exercise) they turn to the dark side by destroying things. the dog will have limited time alone with the birds as it will be an indoor dog. If all goes well and it isnt a threat to the birds and doesnt run away, I may leave it outside (1/2 acre fenced) during the day on nice days if it wants.
    The dogs primary focus will be as a family dog and hiking buddy for me. Hoping to do some carting with it as well. If I can just let the dog out in the back yard with the birds unsupervised, that would be a bonus.
    I am also looking into Entlebucher mountain dogs. They seem to be pretty good with pets as well.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Two of my male's brothers are kept in two related (to wife and I) households. Both are kept in areas smaller than 1/2 acre and they are exceptional family dogs although both are more hyper than mine. Neither would be allowed at my household because risk they would pose to chickens. My sisters would catch everyone and bring it to me while my while sister-in-laws would simply kill them. Both are very sharp and train very quickly but neither would be trust worthy outside of confinement. I have doubt both could be trained relatively quickly to leave poultry alone but they are not as likely to be independent minded like Scoob. Scoob I can take anywhere and he will come back when called. Only real difference was upbringing; Scoob was outside a lot and taken on long walks starting at a very young age. He is not leash trained and can chew through in about 2 seconds unless its chain.
     

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