I employ dogs, fences (hot and not), traps, a light rifle, and flexibility in my approach that comes with common sense. It is that last part so many people simply lack. The "my way or the high way" prevails for many. Dogs are the most expensive part but they are also the part that can make adjustments when I am not there. They also make defending ares larger than an acre cost effective. When you have the densely setup cockyard that covers only an acre or less then fencing and traps alone can keep you safe most of the time. The tight little setups means you do not have green grass to put pens over and the battle with worms is nonstop. Without good dogs just call yourselves hawk bait. For me hawks are simply pretty, Yes, dogs are the expensive part that requires using your head and usually a slow ramping up to get full protection. There use is also typical of those that have longer term experience with keeping chickens outside of a poultry buildling or hardened run. Do not use dogs if you are fly by night or do not like to use common sense.