What are next steps w/9wo Great Pyrenees to protect poultry

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by brainfog, May 12, 2018.

  1. brainfog

    brainfog Chirping

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    I have a ~9 week female Great Pyrenes (Kira) that I would like to provide protection for free-range poultry. The present unmitigated danger are *daytime* fox or larger attacks inside the poultry yard. Kira parents and grandparents are working sheep protectors at the breeders farm. Kira's secondary purpose, is to be an outdoor pet - my young kids play with her whenever outside - possibly to excess for Kira. We have only Kira and poultry.

    Kira lives in the garage at the back people door, left open during the day, and views the chicken yard and opens into the small yard (dog yard) that borders the chicken yard. At times, a turkey and some chickens enter dog yard where Kira is present and causes NO drama. Kira comes with me on my chicken rounds and is curious about chickens and doesn't chase them. Often when chickens enter the people yard, for food scrap feeding time, the pup sits nearby to watch or sometimes wonders in for treats, the poultry keep 3-4 ft distance from her. She likes to approach the chickens for sniffing, and doesn't chase when they run off.

    There are some issues however. She is hated by the present flock guardians (alpha rooster, geese, tom turkeys) as they will and have initiated attacks on her - so she can not be left with the birds. In fact, last evening my rooster got ahold of her a few seconds and the geese like to sneak up on us.

    Kira, is also obsessed with turkey feathers (that my kids have collected and brought into the people yard) and likes to chew on them. We also have a nesting turkey that I visit to open/close hutch and Kira gets very excited and tries to get into the hutch - not clear if its to snuggle, eat the eggs, or the hen. I can't find out as the aggressive hen is 10x more aggressive with the pup present. When the hutch was closed, the pup goes to sniff and gets nose pecked. Kira's reaction is curiosity from a greater distance.

    In the long run, I intend to keep Kira in the chicken yard by day, and inside the chicken coup at night (due to probable barking in suburban area). By then hopefully the geese will just decide to keep their distance - or get to live outside at night (which actually seems to work without loss).

    Its unclear to me what training more of, less of, and what new things I should be doing.

    One thought is to crate Kira at night inside the coup - or possibly wait until more she's more confident since it could be traumatic for her.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  2. Duckstail

    Duckstail Songster

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    You're really asking for a lot... there's nothing anybody can type here to answer your questions. You need to learn how to train a dog.. there is a plethora dog training videos online for free and some you have to pay for it!!

    Just like how you are involved this forum and know a lot about chickens. you got to become knowledgeable about dogs especially your breed or else things he out of hand fast.

    There is no one word answer for your problem you will have to spend many hours watching video and practicing with your dog. Plus that's to fun bonding part you will have with her.

    Also stop feeding your dog turkey feathers unless you want her to eat turkeys.

    Having the dog sleep in the chicken coop is a ridiculous idea that you clearly have that thought about, chicken poop can cause serious illnesses to humans and dogs. Dogs love to eat crap...

    Furthermore What if they gang up on her and start pick on her all nighy? at that point it's fight or flight and if your dog is fight she's going to have a lot of chicken nuggets that night! Better idea mighy be a big dog house next to it?!?

    Anyways good luck you definitely have your work cut out for you keep us updated and obviously cute dog photos are encouraged#
     
  3. brainfog

    brainfog Chirping

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    So you actually answered alot - both by what you addressed and didn't.

    Important to get feedback on my future thought of dog in coup. Would you think there is any value to having her crate in the coup (as a pup of some age) to improve bonding w/poultry?

     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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  4. Duckstail

    Duckstail Songster

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    Looks like u need to talk to @Dr.Dale he has a great thread about gp
     
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  5. brainfog

    brainfog Chirping

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  6. brainfog

    brainfog Chirping

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    watchiing.jpg
    coming.jpg
    watchfeed.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  7. brainfog

    brainfog Chirping

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    Today Kira doesn't seem to be interested in snuggling w/mama hen (there are 2 chicks now).

    DSCN9924.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  8. lcwmt

    lcwmt Songster

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    a few random thoughts.
    At 9 weeks old, your pup is very young but not too young to begin basic puppy obedience classes. If she has learned her name, she is ready to learn "come", "sit" and start work on "leave it". Those commands will serve you well, especially as there are birds on your place that she is quite fascinated by.
    If you can go to classes with a trainer, do it and take your child as well. It would be a good investment of time and money, especially for a working breed that you want your children to be comfortable with. Some LGDogs are independent to the point of not making especially good pets. They can also be very stubborn. Early and consistent training can help.

    As for crating her in the coop - IMO, that will not do anything to promote bonding with the chickens, with you or with anything else and it does not leave her free to dissuade unwelcome visitors.
    Likewise I would not put her in the coop at night. Predators come in from outside the coop - she will keep them at bay by being OUT. Once the unwelcome critters are inside, it's probably too late. I would keep her night time quarters the same as daytime... shelter with a clear view and scent of the livestock areas.

    If she is crated in the coop, she is isolated and immobilized - neither of which can be good for a dog. (again, this is my opinion). She does not need to bond with the chickens; she does need to learn they are not toys, and that she is to protect them. The latter may come naturally as you build a routine.

    We have a Catahoula who learned within 3 days that the little fuzzballs were hers, that they were not toys or prey ("leave it!", "sit" followed by lots of pets as a reward). She herds the cat away from the chickens, alerts to overhead predators. They are her chickens <G>. Both our dogs spend most of their time out of doors.

    In my area, livestock guardian dogs are with their flocks 24/7 once they are old enough... somewhere between one and two years of age. They learn from the trainers but also from the experienced older dogs. The GPs are great working dogs, both for herding and for keeping the coyotes off.
    Good luck! start training early, learn as much as you can about the breed. Just having a yard dog goes a long way toward protecting the chickens.
     
  9. Dr.Dale

    Dr.Dale Songster

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    It seems like your situation was similar to mine in a lot of respects. We also had daytime predator attacks (stray dogs and foxes).

    I don’t have a lot of expertise trying different approaches, but I definitely went slower than you are going. For the first month or so we kept the puppies in a fenced off area with the fenced chicken run entirely inside that. They could smell and see each other, but no contact. During that time we worked to socialize them with the family and to establish “polite” puppy behavior. Basically, we just taught them “off”.

    Then we let the chickens out into the fenced area for an hour or two in the evening with supervision and with leashes. We did that most evenings for a couple of weeks.

    Then we moved to off leash with one of us following each dog very closely. At this stage is when most corrections were needed. We used “off” and if that didn’t work then we would physically restrain them on their back in the typical submission posture. They learned quickly, so this didn’t last long. We also started holding the chickens so that the dogs could see that they belong to us. I think we probably should have done that sooner.

    After that they seemed trustworthy and we gradually started more distant supervision, then longer periods, and finally unsupervised.

    Now they all coexist very well and we have not had any injuries. I don’t know if we were overly cautious, but we didn’t put them together so fast.

    I still expect that they have another year to go before they are really reliable, and there may be some injuries while they go through adolescence. But at this point I am confident that they have suitable dispositions and any mishaps are temporary and can be overcome.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  10. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Crossing the Road

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    This is part of a post I just put on @Dr.Dale's thread:

    My understanding is that their chicken chasing usually begins around 8 or 9 months, not so much as young puppies. It might be that if they have always been around chickens they may not chase at that age but forewarned is forearmed.

    Good fencing is step one and a MUST, it keeps the dog(s) in and predators out.

    Do not even try to lock the dog up at night, and certainly not in the coop, you will drive it crazy. Make sure it has shelter but don't be surprised if it chooses to sleep out in the snow, at least as an older (ie, no longer a puppy) dog. Have the shelter somewhere the dog can see or get to a lot of what it is supposed to guard, "livestock" and property.

    GPs guard during the day by looking like they are dead to the world but their ears and noses are always working. They are jet powered if they perceive a threat even from a sleeping position. They guard at night by BARKING if they hear, see or smell something of concern. And they can hear a flea fart a half mile away ... even if they are asleep in the middle of the night in a building. If that is going to be a problem, you've chosen the wrong breed. Are they going to bark all night every night? No, but if they sense anything is amiss, they will be barking and that can happen pretty much every night sometimes on and off hours apart, sometimes almost constant. They stop barking when the perceived threat has passed.

    They have a couple of guard barks, one is a general "stay away, I'm here and I'm big". The lower "BOOF" bark means the threat is closer. If they "BOOF" and growl, something is way too close and very concerning to them. Go outside, let them know you are there to back them up, and be ready to do so. You and the dog both need to know that you are equal partners in their job.

    Some are watchers, staying back with the guarded animals, some are patrollers, walking the perimeter. BUT if you have only one GP, it may defy its natural tendency and be a patroller. Hopefully if you have 2 there will be one of each.

    As others noted, GPs are independent thinkers. They will come when you tell them to ... if they think there is a good reason ... just because you say "come" isn't one of those reasons. They will sit when you tell them to, if they want to (assuming you can get them to think there is ever a reason to sit on command in the first place). They will "stay", if they want to. It is a good idea to get them leash and vehicle trained so they can be taken to the vet for shots, illness or injury (unless the vet comes to you). They DO want to please you so positive reinforcement is a key training tool. Treat training is not recommended. You want them to do something because they want to please you not because they will get treats.

    Good luck! I hope your dog will be a great addition to the family and property.
     

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