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Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Martha80, Jan 13, 2012.
What do you dog people think about a rottweiler/lab mix as a chicken/farm dog?
My lab does well with the chickens as long as they don't run. I don't know about the rottweiler part. However, I have heard that Great Pyrenese are good with chickens when raised with them.
from what I remember about the heritage of Rotties they were bred to be herding dogs.. so around livestock they are great.. however they are also very "needy" of attention from people as opposed to a dog like the pyr who is more independent. So I think one would be a bit lonely if kept out with the livestock all the time.
Will the dog be just a livestock guardian? or do you plan to have them in the house and around the family part of the time?
Rottweilers are bred for garding and protecting. I am not sure if they are bred for hunting? Labs are bred for hunting, but we have a lab and he was scared of our chickens. I would read up on each breed and see what they are like.
are you talking about as a dog to be left alone outside to watch the birds? If so, then I would say "NO" unless you spend the majority of daylight hours working outside. IE you are a farmer and the dog will be with you at work all day. Labs and rotts are both bred to work with people. If you want a dog to stay outside alone, look into a guardian breed like Pyrenees or Antalotions.
Assuming it is properly trained to be around poultry, I would expect no real problems. It will be large enough to deal with most predators with ease. To be effective during day against foxes and hawks it must be out, in sight, and have access to chickens when they are threatened if free ranged. At night it need not be out continously but must be out and about at least a couple times where birds roost. This leaves fresh scent to ward off most mammals (except oppossums) and greathorned owls seem to monitor an area for a while before hunting so occasional observation of dog will slow its approach. To be effective at night dog must be able to get to alarmed chickens, at least when they are on ground.
Roaming will be your biggest concern.
Lab breeding is iffy for poultry because they are bred to be bird dogs in the first place.
Individuals *can* be an exception though. Even if you decide to go for a Pyr or an anatolian don't leave the puppy unsupervised with the birds. My Pyr boy mistook one of my ducks for a squeaky toy once (bird was fine. No problems now, dog or bird) and a contact's anatolian used to catch the chickens in his paws and lick them until their hearts exploded in fear when he was a puppy.
Labs are hunting dogs and love nothing more that to bring a bird to you, rotties are herding/guard dogs so if you got it you would have a dog that would herd the birds possibly kill them but then guard them! Rotties should be okay but i personally wouldn't have a lab if they are free running. Although they are very docile and easily trained so if you got a pup its very possible you could have a very nice chicken dog.
Breed is not most important issue. I have always used short-haired hunting dogs of some sort (most were black and tan hounds) and presently a German short-haired pointer which is decidely used as a bird dog in this country. Even the latter can do quite well if it stays on site. In east-central Indiana the coyotes are going to be bigger so a larger dog needed to deal with them consistently. All dog breeds can be a problem if not properply imprinted or trained. The typical livestock guarding dog is typically prepped by imprinting while the hunting dogs require more in the way of training although imprinting can be used with them as well. Key point to remember is that none o fthe currently used livestock guarding dogs were developed to protect poultry and most breeds of dogs have at least some ancestry (thousands of years worth) where they where used extensively to defend the farmsted. Protecting poultry has a lot more in common with defending a farmsted than a mobile flock of sheep or goats.
I agree but imprinting definitely has a part to play. I know a lot of collies who herd birds just because they HAVE to. Unrelated though, i worked with a german wireharid pointer a few years ago in the kennels. oh my lord. I had to give up on it, it was just totally untrainable and a total nightmare the whole time. He would jump up to the top of the cage and get his paws through the top of the door then let go and hang himself, barked all day, chewed the doors off, fought with every dog it saw, jumped out of the 9ft outside run, was UNWALKABLE, pushed you over and nipped at your anytime you went near it and would barge past you to get out of the cage when you opened it to put food in. We eventuially had to put it in the "dangerous dog" pen purely because he was such a nightmare but he was so dopey he would not go to the other side of the pen to get locked in so we had to put his food in then walk around to the otehr side and call him and run for dear life to get to the other side to close the door before the dope ran back in to greet you. The owner was asked to go elsewhere if she ever wanted to go on vacation again. That dog scarred me for life lol