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LGD's...

                          


Joined: Mar 21, 2010
Posts: 1
I'm looking for info on LGD's.   I will be having a small flock of chickens (around a dozen or so) and no other livestock.  I'm interested in getting a dog that is people friendly, not a barker, low maintenance & will protect my flock...any suggestions  Is there such a breed or mix out there
gary gregory


Joined: Apr 09, 2009
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
I think you can achieve all your goals except for the barking part as that is the way they claim their territory and make themselves known to predators.

You can search this forum and find a large amount of recent discussion about LGD's.

Gary
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 969
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
All dogs will bark to some extent.  The Livestock Guardian Breeds bark to warn predators off and mark their territory, so barking is part of their job and their character.  (Some bark more than others, of course.)

For the small flock of chickens that you will have, and to meet your other criteria, I would recommend that you look into either an English Shepherd, or an Australian Shepherd (not show lines).  Or a dog that's not purebred but is registered with the American Working Farmcollie Association.  With careful supervision and training, most of these dogs can become good protectors of your poultry (VERY careful supervision and training, as it's totally natural for any dog to chase and kill poultry!  But many can be trained NOT to do that, esp. these three breeds/types).  They are generally good with people, smart, sweet, and easy to work with.  They can be protective of you and your family, but usually as long as they are socialized while young, they won't be aggressive to your legitimate visitors.  (I'm using some qualifying words since there are always exceptions in any breed!)  Do a search and you'll find the English Shepherd and American Working Farmcollie websites.  The English Shepherd is, IMO, misnamed, since it is not and never was an English breed -- they are descended from the Scottish collies brought over after the Highland Clearances in the mid-1700's, and are by now, 250+ years later, a thoroughly American breed.  The Farmcollies are generally of the same ancestry, but without a full pedigree to prove it, or some of them have been crossed with Collie, Australian Shepherd, Sheltie, or even Border Collie. 

Kathleen
gary gregory


Joined: Apr 09, 2009
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
We have Anatolians with our chickens right now, and a couple years ago provided Pyr x Anatolians to friends with an organic egg and poultry business.  The dogs are very good protection, but there is a learning curve for all involved.  I'll see if I can come up with some photos if there is interest.
                    


Joined: Mar 19, 2010
Posts: 63
Location: N.W. Arkansas
For nearly 20 years I have had a bloodline of Great Pyrenees Mountain Dogs, and I adore this line.  At the time, my vet recommended them to me for my goats, kids, and poultry.  He was impressed that at that time, there had not been a reported case of them turning on their owners, or stock.

I do have to watch them around baby poultry, for whatever reason, they just don't associate that bit of downy fluff with poultry, but once it has feathers, they are safe.
I have never had issues other than that with this breed.  And I have accepted 'chicken killers' that were GPMD and they were quickly broken of this, by the other GPMD, who simply would not allow it.


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gary gregory


Joined: Apr 09, 2009
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
gary gregory wrote:
We have Anatolians with our chickens right now, and a couple years ago provided Pyr x Anatolians to friends with an organic egg and poultry business.  The dogs are very good protection, but there is a learning curve for all involved.   I'll see if I can come up with some photos if there is interest.


[Thumbnail for anatolian with chickens.jpg]

Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Anatolian is my choice of LGD too.... Pyr are not so readily available here... long coat. I need a shorter haired dog to spot ticks.

Nice animal you have there.........

Interesting that it guards chickens. I was wondering about that. Did you have to train from young or bought an older dog already trained? How difficult are they to train?

Ozark Lady: Nice that you had another dog to do the training

Chelle
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14969
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
My understanding is that if you raise your dog in wide open spaces, your dog will bark ten times less.  If you pen the dog up, then the only way the dog can do it's job is to bark.

I had a great pyr and she should bark about once an hour through the night.


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gary gregory


Joined: Apr 09, 2009
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
Interesting that it guards chickens. I was wondering about that. Did you have to train from young or bought an older dog already trained? How difficult are they to train?

We make sure the pups see goats when they first open their eyes.  Usually a couple of older does that do a lot of the training for us.  The pups imprint on the goats and the goats gently teach the pups a few boundaries.    I introduced this mature dog to the chickens for the first time two weeks before the photo was taken, watched him for about an hour, but everything was cool.  I had the chickens in the garden for a couple of weeks before getting ready to plant.  Now the dog is back with his goats.  [and much happier]
I had a great pyr and she should bark about once an hour through the night.

We have Pyrs also and they are great.  They really seem to love humans.  Their long coats are difficult in our environment  With adult confident dogs barking usually means something is going on, could be just a deer making its way down the mountain for water, but the dogs alert at those kind of sounds and movement, otherwise they are quiet.
                      


Joined: Jun 26, 2010
Posts: 1
Live in Oklahoma and have 2 Great Pyrenees and a Australian Shepperd (I put him up at night). We have a free range farm with goats, ducks and just starting on chickens. I introduce all animals to my dogs, keeping them separated by fencing for a few weeks. This helps my dogs know they belong. My ducks are put up at night (we have coyote problems). My pyrenees are pets and roam all night long. They do bark when they are warning an intruder. They sleep all day and my aussie is on guard during the day. I am training my aussie to "baby sit". I have one baby silky chick that was given to me. I put her in an outdoor pen during the day. My dogs are curious, and I let them smell her as I'm holding her. We will see how it goes. We use some rotational grazing combined with free range (depends if I'm home or not).
                                    


Joined: Sep 08, 2010
Posts: 2
We have two Anatolian Shepard's, a male and a female. Brother and sister. They guard the whole small animal barnyard, chickens, guinea hens, ducks, geese, hogs, sheep, goats and calves. We haven't lost anything to hawks, coyotes, cats(mountain lions) or eagles. The small animal barnyard is a two acre plot with a fence 52" high. Nothing bothers the animals.

What is really funny about them is they won't let the other dogs in "their" pen. They run and play with the others outside the pen but the pen is a no-no right down to drag out fights between them and their buddies.

We use Great Pyrenees and Great Danes for the cattle and horses. One of the Great Danes drags in every coyotes she kills. Nothing like opening the back door at 3am to trip over a body.

Incessant barking is the only problem with the Great Pyrenees. At night they bark pretty much constantly. Seems like warnings to the bad guys. Two and four legged.

CC
Will Sustane


Joined: Sep 29, 2010
Posts: 10
Hi folks!

I have a question regarding LGD. We will soon be setting up a homestead, and want to raise chickens, goats, and possibly rabbits with a goal of being natural and sustainable in our methods. We hope to get two Great Pyrenees dogs to protect our flock. I hope to cut feed costs for our livestock via free ranging or using the paddock method suggested in the great article by Mr. Wheaton.

I would also like to lower our dog feeding costs by providing them with what I believe could be a natural addition to their feed: fresh meat. I think much of the scraps from butchering goats, chickens, and rabbits, along with a selection of organ meats from the same, might provide a nutritious supplement to any other feed the dogs may require, hopefully cutting the feed costs.

My concern and question is: Will feeding the dogs a diet that includes meat from the very animals they are asked to protect, cause them to become killers of those same animals? Although it could be a wonderful sustainable means of utilizing every last bit of the livestock we slaughter, might it be a counter productive paradox that may be disastrous?

Thank you in advance for any insight you might be able to share with me on this.

Will
gary gregory


Joined: Apr 09, 2009
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7

My concern and question is: Will feeding the dogs a diet that includes meat from the very animals they are asked to protect, cause them to become killers of those same animals? Although it could be a wonderful sustainable means of utilizing every last bit of the livestock we slaughter, might it be a counter productive paradox that may be disastrous?

Thank you in advance for any insight you might be able to share with me on this.

Will


We've never had a problem.  Our dogs get raw chicken and sometimes goat meat.    A bigger concern for us is that these dogs are very food protective and if they are given more food than they can eat right away or large bones that lay around they will fight over them.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 969
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
No, feeding them raw meat doesn't make them aggressive towards the animals they are supposed to be protecting.  I've fed my dogs raw chicken and rabbit.

Kathleen
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
Suki wrote:
I'm looking for info on LGD's.   I will be having a small flock of chickens (around a dozen or so) and no other livestock.  I'm interested in getting a dog that is people friendly, not a barker, low maintenance & will protect my flock...any suggestions  Is there such a breed or mix out there


We have livestock guardian and herding dogs. Vocalizing is part of how they tell predators to keep back. It is part of their toolkit for territorial marking. This is not incessant barking of a bored dog but rather talking to predators who are out and about. Very different. Read this for some info on our experiences over the past 20 years with our dogs:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2007/08/lgd-expectations.html

We keep a pack. One dog is not enough for high predator pressure situations. What you need will vary with the situation.

Do note that chickens are the hardest animal for dogs to guard because the chickens are soooo prey like, sooo tempting. Ours protect our chickens, and eat wild birds, but you may need to train. With only a dozen chickens it is a major investment. You might try geese with them.

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in Vermont
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2527
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  61
This LGD, the Caucasian (for the Caucasus region) or Georgian Shepard, is new to me.

From comments, it sounds like it prefers cold regions and lots of space, as I've heard some (many?) of the other LGD's do. Not necessarily recommending it to the OP, just didn't see another generic thread about LGD's.

Pic is from http://mustwatchdogs.blogspot.com/2011/01/caucasian-shepherdcaucasian-ovcharka.html.



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Ron Donally


Joined: Jan 07, 2013
Posts: 3
Location: minnnesota
I dont believe in all the trouble of, or for, the pure breeds
My hunting dogs and our farm dogs were all mixes ...
and for hunters (flushing bird dogs) my Lab/ Cocker cross
out hunted several prize hunters with ribbons...
however in defense of others...
my hunter ran free on the farm and probably knew the pheasants by name ...:)
as for cattle dog our German Shepard cross Collie
a. would drive cows as needed ...just point
b. guard dog, nobody came in the yard without a reception and was followed and barked at until asked not to by familly...
c.would stop all sorts of critters from setting up shop in the area... skunks ,badgers, fox. etc.
d. when I was so stupid as to leave a gate open .He kept the cows in ( dog received steak after.....)
e. did not bother any farm animal pigs, ducks, chickens,cats,horses,cows unless asked to ...( ie sick'em and point)
F. UNUSUAL yes but to this day I believe cross breeds are smarter and Collie/German Sheppard fantastic
g. I swear all this is true,
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2300
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
You are talking about a HUGE investment for a dozen chickens. If it is also to protect YOU and your property, that is fine; but there are cheaper easier options for just the chickens.

We had problems with our dogs not accepting new breeds once they were adults. They grew up with chickens and goats and never had an issue. But we had all kinds of problems adding sheep, pigs, ducks--in the end we had to get rid of the dogs to change our flock mix. Just one more thing to think about in long-term planning.


"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2527
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  61
R Scott wrote:
We had problems with our dogs not accepting new breeds once they were adults. They grew up with chickens and goats and never had an issue. But we had all kinds of problems adding sheep, pigs, ducks--in the end we had to get rid of the dogs to change our flock mix. Just one more thing to think about in long-term planning.


What kind of dogs were they?
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2300
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
Komondor-Anatolian cross. Pair of brothers, both fixed. They were REALLY good guards for GOATS. I watched them chase down coyotes, closing 400 yds in the time the coyote covered 200. They also took out possums, coons, and the occasional deer! Unfortunately they really liked the taste of suckling pig, too.

Friends that got dogs from the same litter had the same problems with new animals after they grew up. Just that family line. They absolutely LOVED kids, but any stranger taller than them was put on notice he was not where he belonged.
Devon Olsen


Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 996
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
    
    6
thos caucasion shepards look like great dogs for my tastes... huge, fluffy, stubborn and useful for LGD purposes, thanks for sharing


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Jonathan Allen


Joined: Jan 15, 2013
Posts: 8
    
    1
Good morning Suki,
I would like to speak a wee bit about terriers. Specifically female White West Highland Terriers. There are larger working class terriers that you may wish to investigate. I have a small place in North-West Mass with 10 chickens. I've had as many as 15 chickens at one time. The chickens are free range. Our Westie was there when they arrived as chicks and loved to keep an eye on the chicks as they grew in the tub. She was fascinated with them for the longest time and viewed them as part of the pack I guess. However, that changed as they grew. You see one of young chickens went nose to nose with the Westie and the Westie got pecked right on her nose! Hysterical!

The Westie avoided getting too close to the chickens after that, but generally was unsuccessful. There were two chickens that felt she was part of the flock and they would tend to 'hang' with her whenever they were all out in the yard. They still do to that to this very day.

Some observations about the Westie/Chicken solution that needs to be taken into consideration:
1. The Westie was NEVER taught how to 'speak', I do not like yappers. Dogs bark to announce visitors, welcome you home, and announce their presence to critters. Its natural, so don't yell at them for barking.
2. The Westie had a litter early in life. She made a great mother and has been extremely protective of the 'pack'. This includes our children, ours and other children, and young chickens. I have had Westies in my family since I was young as I am allergic to most dogs and cats. Terriers have hair and don't shed, but like us, their hair does fall from time to time. With that many years of experience with the breed, I strongly recommend female Westies. But they are not outside dogs for most climates, especially the Northern States. I have always allowed the dogs to reside/sleep/eat inside the home. Most folks with larger flocks (chickens, goats, sheep, etc) require a larger dog that lives outside closer to their charges. Goats in particular are likely to ignore a Westie or intimidate them. Therefore a larger breed is necessary so the goats see the LDG as a peer.
3. I have no roosters. Sometimes, I like to sleep in. So, no roosters.
4. The chicks upon arrival lived in a large galvanized bucket in doors where the Westie could keep her eye on them. That is where they were introduced to each other by my eldest son. She was tolerant of them from that experience I believe.
5. The chickens are free-range over five acres and they sleep in their coop at night. They do wander a bit close to the forest line from time to time. I also back up my dogs barking at night with my presence and a shotgun. The one time I thought that she was wrong about an 'evil' presence I almost lost a chicken to a fox.

There are 'working' breeds out there that make better LGD, but any dog with a good nose, a good bark, and attitude to warn off black bear, coyotes, foxes, is perfect for me. Some mixed breeds (aka mutts) tend to be quick to learn and guard if they are of the proper heritage. AND I strongly prefer a fixed female in the role. If they've had a litter, they are even better than most.

Just my two cents, your mileage will vary...
Jonathan Allen
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6491
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
AND I strongly prefer a fixed female in the role. If they've had a litter, they are even better than most.


I tend to agree here if the dog is protecting animals smaller than itself.
Their mothering instinct easily transfers to all little creatures under their care.

Many males feel that they need to dominate.

Sheila Nyomo


Joined: Jan 19, 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Missoula, Montana
When we got our dog they said she didn't bark often, didn't jump, and wouldn't chase animals. Well when we brought here home she howled, jumped and chases our cats and our neighbor's livestock. She is doing better now though...except she follows us down to the highway.
 
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