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Posted : 4/22/2008 10:35:36 AM
We're seriously considering getting some chickens. Making a coop, the whole nine yards. And we started wondering what dog breed would be the best to guard poultry. My first thought is Great Pyrenees. But there's also the Anatolian Shepherd, Maremma and I'm sure many more.
Does anyone have any input as to what breed would be best for guarding chickies? Of course the puppy would have to be raised with the chickens and trained.
Thoughts on breeds? Pros and Cons?
Edited to add: We're not going to get a dog after all, just build a really strong coop.
Posted : 4/22/2008 10:41:29 AM
Can you use one of your dogs you already have? Or wait your wanting one that is constantly with the chickens right?
I had chickens Cheyanne did a good job at keeping wild animals away
from them. She would go in their pen and make her rounds. If there was
any disturbance with the chickens we would go out and she would find
whatever it was that was messing with them. It was always opposumes
after the eggs though.
What would be the main predator after the chickens your worried about?
Posted : 4/22/2008 10:47:49 AM
Well you have all the "big white dogs"...Pyr, Maremma, Akbash, Komondor, Kuvasz, plus other LGD's like Anatolians as you say, one or two others I think...there are a lot of things to consider: the predator you need to protect the chickens from, the availability of the dog (I have a decent idea of how many Maremmas there are around the US, but not sure about the others like the Kuvasz, they might be rarer) and of course the traits of each and what would be best suited to your situation.
www.lgd.org might be a help.
Posted : 4/22/2008 10:49:46 AM
We would want to raise a puppy to live with the chickens. Our dogs would not be good with chickens. They would eat chickens. The predators here would be coyotes, foxes, bobcat, hawks and owls.
Posted : 4/22/2008 2:17:59 PM
If I wanted a dog to guard poultry or other farm animals, I'd go with a Komondor From what I know of them they are pure working dogs, take their job seriously. They get along well with other animals and guard livestock as though their lives depend on it. They are quite fierce, and rather aloof with most people. If you need the name of a Komondor breeder, I think I know someone who still breeds them for work ...
Posted : 4/22/2008 3:05:15 PM
HoundMusicIf you need the name of a Komondor breeder
Thank you. If we decide on one, I'll contact you.
We haven't decided on getting a dog, I just wanted to explore the different breeds. I've been having fun reading about them. We may just build the chicken coop area such that our dogs could go all around it (but not inside) and use them for guards.
Posted : 4/22/2008 3:09:20 PM
Wouldn't an aggro Rooster or Tom Turkey, or Gander do as well? Course the rooster would give you more chickens but the turkey? they raise holy heck from what I hear and then you could take over with the gun or whatever's needed.
Posted : 4/22/2008 3:52:42 PM
rwbeaglesWouldn't an aggro Rooster or Tom Turkey, or Gander do as well? Course the rooster would give you more chickens but the turkey? they raise holy heck from what I hear and then you could take over with the gun or whatever's needed.
i recommend the large birds over a dog. but dont leap into it lol geese will attack because they are very territorial. if you learn how to "talk back" to them they'll leave you be... that is... if one comes up and tries to peck you then you stamp your feet and say SSSSSSSSS like a snake.
turkeys can be mean and territorial but it seems ONLY if provoked. we have a tom and he's indifferent. but i met a few when i was a kid that i would have gladly plucked and stuffed in the oven myself! Our Jack Russell does fine with the birds. we let the ducks free range in our front yard sometimes. the first time we introduced her to them she wanted to chase. it only took one scolding for her to leave them alone. i havent let her in my moms yard with the chickens in a while and i dont really remember her reaction. she learned quickly for being a six year old dog. but she's always been a pleasing sort. rodent type animals are different. she managed to kill one of the baby bunnies when it escaped it cage.... i had just let her out onto the porch and turned back around to get my shoes from inside the door. when i came back out she had it in her mouth. she was scolded again and i took the dead bunny away from her - they ARE food but not yet, and not for when SHE decides - i didnt want to reward her for that. she can kill rats and such outside in the field or barn, but she isnt allowed to kill anything on the porch or front yard.
if you have larger predators then you probably dont want a terrier sort..... my personal opinion is keep the dogs you have and build a good strong chicken yard and keep their wings clipped and shut them up at night and let the dogs patrol the area frequently. thats how we do it and we havent lost a bird or rabbit to a wild predator yet.
Posted : 4/22/2008 4:13:20 PM
DumDogmy personal opinion is keep the dogs you have and build a good strong chicken yard and keep their wings clipped and shut them up at night and let the dogs patrol the area frequently.
I think that's exactly what we're going to do (except for the wings). I have been researching the chicken thing for a couple days now and we're pretty sure we're going to do something like this, on a smaller scale. A garden on each side and a compost pile and chicken coop in the center. Then we're going to cover the whole thing and extend the dogs' yard to go around the whole thing.
This design is from this page.
Posted : 4/22/2008 4:29:05 PM
rwbeagles Wouldn't an aggro Rooster or Tom Turkey, or Gander do as well? Course the rooster would give you more chickens but the turkey? they raise holy heck from what I hear and then you could take over with the gun or whatever's needed.
Guinea fowl are great noisemakers. Great for bugs also. I have known several people that had them and they sure put up a racket. But keep them separate from the roosters.
Posted : 4/22/2008 5:00:25 PM
I'll be honest, I wouldn't get an LGD *just* for poultry- a well-built coop is MUCH more efficient and much, much cheaper.
That said? Some of the smaller general farm guards- specifically farmcollies and English shepherds- are very efficient poultry guardians if you want a dog that is social with both poultry AND people.
Posted : 4/22/2008 6:13:04 PM
Okay, this is small, right? If so, I agree with the geese suggestion. Here's why:
Really, to consider this wisely, you need more information. Or you need to share more information if you want help.
You probably want guineas or just aggressive roosters, if:
Larger fowl like peafowl, swans, or geese might be a good choice if:
A farm breed might be a good choice if:
A large independent guarding breed of dog might be a good choice if:
None of this is set in stone. There's a lady in uh, I think it's Wisconsin, who breeds a cross of livestock guardians, just for small homesteaders. They are selected to be homebodies, very stock attentive, and friendly with farm visitors if properly socialized when young. One of the reasons I don't like Komondors, for instance, is that they tend to be the opposite - actively people aggressive, but kind of clueless about stock.
A friend of mine has a Komondor who bites friendly visitors to the farm, but lets all and sundry wildlife walk off with the lambs - because they don't fit his picture of what "aggressive" is - he goes by his own feelings, not the distress of the stock. Thus, he missed the fact that crows were pecking the lambs to death, and raccoons were walking off with poultry, right under his nose. My friend is borrowing Tully, my big male Maremma, for the rest of her lambing season.
That's not entirely accountable to breed - one needs to look at the lines and what the breeder in question breeds for. Look at the operation and ask yourself honestly how it compares to what you are going to need. Someone who has 3000 acres in the middle of nowhere and has very heavy predation is selling dogs who will frankly get bored out of their minds guarding chickens, unless you are planning a commercial pasture broiler operation. I know someone who's doing about 100 laying hens on pasture and has a guard dog with them - they are all behind electric netting which is moved every day, so the dog always has something new to think about. He's got an Anatolian/Akbash cross, another cross that is getting quite popular.
Posted : 4/22/2008 11:15:09 PM
i dont like guineas.... we started with two and they NEVER. SHUT.UP. oh it was a night mare!! then my mom bought two more and it got a little quieter.... the man who sold them to us said theirs have torn small predators to pieces if it landed in the chicken yard. i dont know if thats true or not..... he's a salesman, soo.... lol the one good thing that i would say they have is they do eat bugs..... ticks especially..... AND butterflies... so its good and bad.. thats just been my experience for the last two years.
the problem i have with geese is they're not particular with whom they goose. when i was two and living with my grand parents i was pecked quite hard by one of my grandmothers geese. i was minding my own business, helping her hang laundry when these two geese walked ACROSS the property just to bite me on the ***!
by the way.... that chicken yard lay out looks my mom's back yard lol its IDENTICAL!! only the garden is on the other side..... and the chicken coop is built against the "barn/feed shed"
one thing to consider is... rats. birds and rats go together like bread and butter according to an exterminator i know. might be because of the eggs or the food waste. i'd say its true..... we had an old smoker/grill that was FILLED with grain, corn, and sweet feed.... some little rat's stock pile... rather i should say colony.
Posted : 4/23/2008 7:38:23 AM
Even though we've decided against an additional dog, I think we
would have gone with a Maremma if we could find a good one. And I'll
answer some of brookcove's questions for the thread's posterity.
predators here would be coyotes, fox, birds, skunks, raccoons, snakes,
bobcat, you name it! LOL Very few visitors, and the boundary fences
are fairly light. Our tolerance for noise is high, but I don't really
want other birds. I would be willing to train and I envision a dog to
drive away intruders.
But since we're going with the setup
above, we'll be using our own dogs, who server perfectly as guard dogs
for us, so if we can keep them away from the chickens by building a
tight coop and garden area, I'm sure they can guard a few chickens.
Dumdog, thanks for the word of warning about rats. Ugh!
Posted : 9/23/2009 2:53:29 PM
Best breed to guard chickens in my experience has benn the hinze 57 variety. Especially rescued or pound doggs. They are so gratfull for you wanting them as part of your pack they are easy to train and just want to be good dog. I live in the country, have free range chickens and live near the woods way out in the boonies,
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