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Gloria
Dec. 29, 2008, 05:14 PM
OK. We're losing guineas left and right to predators so we are considering to get a guardian dog of some type. Any one has any suggestions? This dog will live outside on our 15 acre land, with necessary protection from the elements of course. Here are some criteria:

1. I don't want them to chase my horses around so herding dogs are out.

2. They need to be tolerant of "normal" strangers such as FedEx guys while we are not present. Our house is situated at the very back edge of the property and the FedEx and UPS guys drive into our property to leave our packages at the door. I need the dog to allow them to do their job.

3. Low maintenance. No daily grooming to add to my list of chore please.

4. Somehow independent. I want this dog to be a working dog, not a needy pet.

Any ideas? Thanks.

jubilee43
Dec. 29, 2008, 05:22 PM
Great Pyrenees-we have one and love him. Google the breed for a better idea of what i am talking about- also .. we get ours clipped in june(live in Northeast) which makes his coat easily managed. They shed dirt unlike any dog I have seen. He will be black from mud at night and white in the am with no rain...

horsetales
Dec. 29, 2008, 05:31 PM
Our alpaca neighbors have Akbash. They are bred to live with and guard the heard but are people friendly. They also have guineas that live protected by her. Another that I know several horse people have are Anatolian shepherds (except I do know one that hasn't a clue that he should be stopping the fox from taking the chickens ;) )

cloudyandcallie
Dec. 29, 2008, 05:39 PM
It can be any breed of dog, even a crossbred from a shelter, as long as the dog knows that all animals, including fowl are "his/hers" and not to be messed with.

Best protectiors of my bantam chickens when I was a child were my father's two Llewellyn Setters, father and son, who once they learned that they were not to retrieve all the bantams, guarded them from other predators, including the opossums who in rainy weather attempted to eat my bantams in their tree roost beside the feed building. Those dogs would climb the fence up into the tree to get at the possum while I held the flashlight for my father to dispatch him.

CanterQueen
Dec. 29, 2008, 05:52 PM
Mini-donkey!!! :yes::D:yes:

Bluey
Dec. 29, 2008, 05:57 PM
I doubt that anything can protect gineas.
They will roam and get high on trees and hawks and owls did ours in more than coyotes or bobcats did.

Gineas and other such fowl are only completely protected if you confine them, at least at night.
So, what you need is a herding dog that rounds them up for you every evening, one that can also fly to get those that insist on getting high up in the trees.

Gloria
Dec. 29, 2008, 06:38 PM
Great Pyrenees-we have one and love him. Google the breed for a better idea of what i am talking about- also .. we get ours clipped in june(live in Northeast) which makes his coat easily managed. They shed dirt unlike any dog I have seen. He will be black from mud at night and white in the am with no rain...

I thought Great Pyrenees were aggressive toward stangers? Now I don't know anything about Great Pyrenees except for the very short research I have done on internet....

Gloria
Dec. 29, 2008, 06:40 PM
Our alpaca neighbors have Akbash. They are bred to live with and guard the heard but are people friendly. They also have guineas that live protected by her. Another that I know several horse people have are Anatolian shepherds (except I do know one that hasn't a clue that he should be stopping the fox from taking the chickens ;) )

Do you know wheter Akbas is friendly toward "normal" strangers like mailman? I initially ruled Akbash out because I thought these guard dogs were very protective, which can mean aggressive toward stangers? Now granted the little I know about Akbas has been the very short research I have done on web....

Gloria
Dec. 29, 2008, 06:41 PM
It can be any breed of dog, even a crossbred from a shelter, as long as the dog knows that all animals, including fowl are "his/hers" and not to be messed with.

Best protectiors of my bantam chickens when I was a child were my father's two Llewellyn Setters, father and son, who once they learned that they were not to retrieve all the bantams, guarded them from other predators, including the opossums who in rainy weather attempted to eat my bantams in their tree roost beside the feed building. Those dogs would climb the fence up into the tree to get at the possum while I held the flashlight for my father to dispatch him.

cloudyandcallie, do you know whether your father had to train those two Llewellyn Setters?

Gloria
Dec. 29, 2008, 06:49 PM
I doubt that anything can protect gineas.
They will roam and get high on trees and hawks and owls did ours in more than coyotes or bobcats did.

Gineas and other such fowl are only completely protected if you confine them, at least at night.
So, what you need is a herding dog that rounds them up for you every evening, one that can also fly to get those that insist on getting high up in the trees.


Oh Bluey,

I forgot to mention that my guineas are trained to come back into their coop at night and we lock the coop every evening so owls should not be problem. I don't know how big a prey a hawk can carry. Our guineas are just as big or bigger than the hawks we see around here. I am convinced that there are loose wild dogs, coyotes, or foxes looking for free meals in my yard :mad:

horsetales
Dec. 29, 2008, 07:41 PM
Do you know wheter Akbas is friendly toward "normal" strangers like mailman? I initially ruled Akbash out because I thought these guard dogs were very protective, which can mean aggressive toward stangers? Now granted the little I know about Akbas has been the very short research I have done on web....

I know theirs is very people friendly. They had gotten her at about 9 months of age and had lived out with the herd. They had no problem working with her. Since she was out with the Alpacas, I didn't actually meet her until about 18 months when I showed up help them out and feed for them. She greeted me with wagging tail. They told me they are not supposed to be bred for people aggression. They have moved her to a pen near the house and whenever we pull up shes at the gate wagging. Also, her Mom is a Home shopping Network order aholic and they have never had an issue with UPS and I know lately she has learned to escape the fields and is often roaming the yard.

Bluey
Dec. 29, 2008, 08:05 PM
Good that you keep the gineas in at night.
We didn't, they roosted in the cottonwoods with the wild turkeys and we felt like the old song, we had one less every day.:(

The local feed store here has a great pyrenees and that dog sees people come and go all day long, without giving anyone any trouble.
I think that akabash are supposed to be a little more territorial and protective.

I would guess that, as so much with dogs, dogs tend to be what we make of them.

Jetiki
Dec. 29, 2008, 08:11 PM
I have a Great Pyrenees, He's an awesome dog, He was guarding 4 chickens and a couple of goats when he came to me, he now guards my place, when I got him, he was very depressed with in a day of having nothing to guard, I put two of the minis in with and he totally came out of his shell. He does bark a lot, but NOTHING goes unnoticed by him, Once he knows the various vehicles that are supposed to come and go, he doesn't bark at them ie the neighbors. He will bark at my car but once I say hello he's fine. If you do get one, make sure their handle able, mine was a rescue, and I can't do much more than pet him, leashes and collars are out of the question he was obviously mishandled in the past. He is totally awesome with my kids ages 3and almost 5, don't let them cry he will sniff them from head to toe to try to figure out whats wrong.
I just wish I could handle him a bit more, I've tried and he won't let me and its really not worth getting bit over.

Karen

JSwan
Dec. 30, 2008, 07:45 AM
I think any good natured family dog is going to cut down on predation by virtue of the increased activity in the yard.

I've never had any problems with my dogs chasing livestock, and I do have one hunting dog (retired), and one herding dog mutt (never was a working dog though). My previous dogs were Basset Hounds, and one was bred to hunt - though he never hunted). None of them every looked twice at any of my livestock. Good souls, all of them.

I've lost two hens to hawks, but other than that have had no predation. Like your poultry, mine put themselves to bed (in their coop) when the sun goes down.

Whatever type or breed of dog you decide on, I think the key is always going to be training. The instinct to guard/herd/hunt may be naturally present, but unless you work diligently to train the dog, that instinct may go awry.

cloudyncallie's father's dogs are a good example. Dogs that you'd think would want to mess with poultry, because of their breeding, but were obviously beautifully trained and excellent partners.

(From her previous posts I'm pretty sure his dogs were his hunting dogs)

cloudyandcallie
Dec. 30, 2008, 08:17 AM
cloudyandcallie, do you know whether your father had to train those two Llewellyn Setters?

He trained them from puppyhood on quail and dove, since one was my "brother" and his son was also my "brother", confusing to a small kid. But once the father dog was taught not to retrieve my first 2 bantams "Henry" and "Henrietta" (named after family friends), both dogs got right into the spirit of protecting them, so when my 20 or some bantams started screaming for help, we cut on flood lights, 2 dogs ran outside (they slept in my parents' bed) and the hunt was on. The dogs knew when the gun came out, something was going to get shot, and they knew when the bantams screamed for help, it was a possum who was going to die.

mayhew
Dec. 30, 2008, 08:52 AM
I'm just loving the image of the poor banty being retrieved by the dog. :lol:

cloudyandcallie
Dec. 30, 2008, 09:02 AM
I'm just loving the image of the poor banty being retrieved by the dog. :lol:

NOt a pretty scene! Henry and Henrietta came full grown from my grandparents in SC. Dan the dog catches Henrietta, my other grandfather, who lived with us, chases him with the hoe, my father gets Henrietta out of Dan's mouth with a one inch tear in her skin on breast(bad dog, supposed to not do that but he was about 6 months old then). Mother takes medicine and needle and thread and at the dining room table sews up hen.
Henry and Henrietta then produce a long line of named bantam chickens for possums to covet, and for Dan and his son born a few years later, to protect.

eventerdrew
Dec. 30, 2008, 12:53 PM
I love love love my Mastiff/lab cross. She is a great guard dog with the agility of a lab but big enough to scare off predators. has a great big bark but doesn't use it unless necessary. She doesn't have a herding instinct whatsoever which is good because my horse has been known to hurt dogs who try it :eek:

Chief2
Dec. 30, 2008, 03:31 PM
Get a donkey. Standard size would be best.

A friend of mine, who has a yard full of GSD's and rescue dogs, was having coyote problems and losing guineas, so we gave her our donkey. They let him patrol the perimeter of the property at night for a few weeks, and she stopped losing poultry. Years later, she still has both poultry and the donkey.

Gloria
Dec. 30, 2008, 06:26 PM
Get a donkey. Standard size would be best.

A friend of mine, who has a yard full of GSD's and rescue dogs, was having coyote problems and losing guineas, so we gave her our donkey. They let him patrol the perimeter of the property at night for a few weeks, and she stopped losing poultry. Years later, she still has both poultry and the donkey.

Are you saying that they let the donkey roam free everywhere? How exactly does it work? If we are to keep the donkey in the pasture, it would be useless for our guineas in the yard right?

Chief2
Dec. 30, 2008, 08:20 PM
My friends' property abutts a state forest, with plenty of coyotes, etc. around.
After a few weeks of allowing him to roam inside the perimeter of the farm 24/7, they turned him loose to roam outside of the fencing at night, which he did, staying near the farm fencing. Donkeys usually hate coyotes and have no problem taking out a coyote by kicking them in the head or coming down on their backs with both front hooves. The noise alone from a donkey is usually enough to warn off a coyote. In this donkey's case, he had already taken out a few coyotes and dogs before moving to my friend's. Once the coyotes knew the sound and smell was there, they stopped coming into the farm and left the poultry alone. To this day, my friend's chickens and hens roam around the farm safe and sound.

If you can do it, get one with a known reputation for hating coyotes. They are not expensive, get the same routine health care as a horse, survive well on hay, water and a small amount of grain (like a cup or less). The donkey above is a standard (44 inches at the withers) Sicilian.

OneDaySoon
Dec. 30, 2008, 09:05 PM
This is very timely. The dogs were howling tonight and we went outside to hear the foxes screeching to each other across the golf course that surrounds our small farm. The foxes have little regard for our 140 pound black lab that hates them, or the 75 pound lab that chases them down every chance he gets. Those darn foxes come right through the riding ring and up to the barn for morsels of dropped grain, and to the kitchen door to steal cat food - all the while, the dogs are going bonkers and chasing them everywhere.

Naurally, we are losing chickens at an alarming rate during the day (whatever chickens are left, come in at night). We are not entirely sure if it is the fox or the hawks that are getting them but we are down to two chickens (and four cats) who are in a very concerned group coop huddle. The dogs need therapy :no:.

Will a donkey hang out at the chicken house or wherever the chickens are...or will they hang out near the horses? I just ordered 25 more chickens but maybe I should start with something more sinister or a Live Chick Cam?

Bluey
Dec. 31, 2008, 12:29 AM
That is why farmers that depend on chickens for food keep them in a chicken coop.
The only place a chicken is safe is confined, they don't have much protective instincts.

If you want them to be somewhat free, how about those "chicken tractors", that are coops on skids or wheels that you can keep moving around from patch to patch?

Safer for the chickens and you won't need anyone to protect them.

jubilee43
Dec. 31, 2008, 07:00 AM
another note on pyrs- we got ours at 11 months old right out of the mountains in the west. Just coming in the house was a major deal for him. Within a year he was greeting people happily at the door, not agressive with food or any of our dogs or new dogs he met and just a big love.They also have slow metabolism, so ours is eating 4 cups of food per day and ave lifespan is between 10-12 years. We can put a steak on the floor in front of him and tell him no and it will be there when we come back in the room. he is awesome!

gallupgirl
Dec. 31, 2008, 07:35 AM
I'm going to second, third and fourth the 'shaggy sheepdog' breeds (since we're not sure which specific breed ours is). We were also having chicken problems and since we got 'the dog' haven't lost one since. In fact he keeps our free-roaming chickens separated into three 'herds', divided by color!

I run a lesson business and once a family has come once or twice he won't give them a second look.

Other critters coming onto the property......no way. We miss seeing the deer that used to cross the corner of the property and drink from the pond but they aren't allowed on the place anymore, maybe because we couldn't introduce them to the dog. And he hates anything that flies, even airplanes!

There seem to be quite a few advertised on Craigslist and on Freecycle, probably because of their quirkiness. That's where ours came from and they even delivered him.

tradewind
Dec. 31, 2008, 09:38 AM
A Great Pyr or a Kuvasz would be the choice I would make..They were both designed to protect herds, not chase them..They are used in the west for predator control rather effectively. The Pyr is easier to find and generally a little more mild in temperment. Good Luck

JanWeber
Dec. 31, 2008, 02:52 PM
I have one of those movable coops (chicken tractors) - my flock of seven roosts at night and roams free during the day. We have had a big red-tail swoop down to take one (I ran screaming at it and saved the chicken) and we've had foxes take them in the backyard during the day while we were in the barn. I've found keeping the coop close to the house, locking it up at night (not just slide the door closed because racoons can readily open them) and encouraging the chickens to stay near the house reduces the mortality rate. Ours hang out under the bird feeders hoping for dropped seeds or play "can't catch me" in the pens with the horses.

yellow-horse
Dec. 31, 2008, 02:54 PM
the 2 best farm dogs i had were an aussie and a lab/beagle mix, neither dog chased horses, altho the aussie would spend hours sitting in the pasture watching everyone, neither dog roamed, the beagle/lab was trained to not kill kitties, anything i told her was a kitty she left alone, 1 day she was carrying around a baby bunny i told her put that kitty down, she looked at me like are you daft, do you really think this is a kitty
i had that dog with all kinds of small animals and fowl, she never killed an off limit animal
the aussie bless him has a stronger protective drive then herding drive, sadly i will put him down with the next week or 2, and will terribly miss him, good natured kind dog
one day one of the cats got a bird, he chased the cat off the bird, picked t up very gently and bought the bird to me and stood guard over it, he was like that, chased away any strange animal, very protective of his animals
i really don't have a good dog to take his place as far as a guard dog, the rest of them are hounds, bless them and i love hounds, a hound will break your heart but they generally arn't very good guardians

Luckydonkey
Dec. 31, 2008, 06:29 PM
I have a llama -who does not think he is a llama.... I don't lose my poultry anymore. I also had a donk, but ha to put him down, and have yet to replace him- i keep my chickens penne up except for in the evening for about 2 hours before dark- that gives them plenty of time to scratch and run around getting bugs, then they go roost again. The llama roams freely around my pastures, and is a great gaurd...

Chief2
Dec. 31, 2008, 11:33 PM
If the chickens are near the horses, then the presence of the donkey should do the job. But, if the chickens are 10 acres east of the house, and the donkey is 10 acres west of the house, then don't get your hopes up. The coyotes need to know that the chickens are within the donkey's range of patrol, or at least could be. Combined with the movable chicken coop, you could probably have the best of all worlds. Remember, the donkey must show a hatred of dogs for this to work. Don't just go out and buy the sweetest donkey you meet, and get at least a standard size donkey (above 40 inches at the withers.) The mini's are too nice and not threatening enough. A mule might just do, too. That loud braying let's 'em all know the guard equid is in town!

Another thought: one of my SIL's has a mustang mare that has the same hatred for predators as the donkey has. They have zero problems with coyotes, bear or mountain lions due to the addition of this mare. She has absolutely zero tolerance and a rap sheet similar to the donkey's.

silver2
Jan. 1, 2009, 12:24 AM
sadly, I think guineas may be too stupid to be helped by the presence of a dog. Or several dogs.

mlranchtx
Jan. 1, 2009, 04:14 PM
I adore our donkey... He's nothing pretty, a middle aged jack, standard size but small. He is such a character though. He HATES dogs but has a working relationship with ours. He will chase him occationally to keep some respect but for the most part if we're around Jake leaves the dogs alone.

Here's the funny story about how we got him... We lived on 10 acres and Jake lived next to us. The people who owned him moved and left him there (he was fine, had 14 acres, shelter, large pond and the other neighbors were told to keep an eye on him.)

One day Husband hears a racket (Jake is very vocal but this was different), looks out the window and sees Rowdy, our beloved-useless-hound-mutt being chased by a coyote. Here comes Jake, tearing across the pasture, he-hawing his head off and that coyote gets trampled and makes a hasty exit from the pasture. So we decide that Jake forever has a place in our hearts for saving our goofy dog from being coyote food.

Fast forward a bit, we move to 93 acres a few miles away and my husband decides we should go back and see if we can have Jake. We talk to the neighbors and of course they say, "yes," come get him.
So we've had this wonderful long eared critter for 3 years now. He's a mess :D We have never seen a coyote in a pasture that he has access to. When they howl at night he hollers back and, (i think) in donkey language cusses them. He will do anything for a peppermint, piece of bread or a beer. He will gingerly take a beer bottle in his lips and tip it up.

He has no interest in my mares even though he's a "stallion". I won't be graphic but he seems to be more interested in himself ;):no: :eek:

Anyway, if you can find a perfect donkey they sure are an asset. We had another, prettier spotted, gelded jack but he only wanted human attention if you had food. Jake, on the other hand, loves his people:yes:

I don't know what our place would be like without Jake. Oh yes, in keeping with the post topic, we have 2 guineas and 6 chickens who are free range and seem to be safe.

SillyHorse
Jan. 2, 2009, 01:20 PM
the beagle/lab was trained to not kill kitties, anything i told her was a kitty she left alone, 1 day she was carrying around a baby bunny i told her put that kitty down, she looked at me like are you daft, do you really think this is a kitty
:lol::lol::lol:

I've met a few Pyrs that are a bit reserved at first (as I think they should be) but then just fine with the people they know. The are truly fine livestock guardians.

chestnutmarebeware
Jan. 2, 2009, 04:42 PM
Sadly, I lost most of my chickens when they were locked securely in their coop at night. Apparently a weasel found its way in and slaughtered every single one. Ate the heads and left everything else. A patrolling farm dog did nothing to deter the little devil. And I sat up with a gun one night to shoot a fox that was picking off my ducks. I must have dozed off, because when I woke up, the fox was SHARING the food dish with the two "guard geese" that roamed the property. I couldn't risk a shot because I probably would have gotten a goose instead. And a black snake took several just-fledged peeps from under their mother.

Bottom line—poultry have no sense of self-preservation, and a dog probably won't make much difference. There's too many other predators around who have a taste for chicken.

cloudyandcallie
Jan. 2, 2009, 04:52 PM
Previous poster, chestnutmare is right, chickens aren't safe anywhere, so I don't have bantams now.

My grandmother, who was a crack shot, once nailed a fox escaping from her chicken wire fenced in area with one of her chckens.

So what are you getting? A dog? A donkey? A llama?

Remember, most dogs will chase and kill chickens unless you teach them not to do so.

cowboymom
Jan. 3, 2009, 01:03 AM
A GP is what the situation calls for but you have you know how to handle them best for protection and not treat them like a housepet,though they can be an outside pet. Nothing else compares, no mutt from the pound or shepherd or donkey. A GP is the best farm guardian there is, bar none.

pAin't_Misbehavin'
Jan. 3, 2009, 11:22 AM
If you want an LGD that won't kill the UPS man;) I'd suggest either a Great Pyrenees or a maremma. They look almost identical, but maremma's are slightly smaller than Pyrs and generally the maremma coat is lower maintenance. And since maremma's aren't AKC recognized and aren't in the pet market (yet) - you're more likely to find one that has the right stuff for its job. Although I'm told maremma aren't quite as reliably people-tolerant as pyrs.

Akbash, Anatolians, Kuvaszok, Komondorok, Pulik and the like tend to be more people-aggressive, at least IME.

The two downsides to either breed: 1. if left unfenced, they will roam. What you consider your perimeter and what they consider your perimeter will differ. If they can get into traffic or over to the neighbor's, you'll have a problem.
2. They deter predators by barking. BarkbarkbarkbarkbarkBARKing.
The only way I've found to shut off the noise is to go out to the dog, look around, and say "Yep, you scared 'em off all right. Good job." Yelling "ShaddupYOU" from the house has no effect.:lol:

Oh, and you have to leave the dog with the critter it's supposed to be protecting. If ever you let it into the house, guess what critter it will choose to adhere itself to? :winkgrin: But you need to handle them enough so that you can catch them for first aid and veterinary care.

OTOH, if you just want an all-round good dog who will follow you anywhere and is protective without being aggressive - they don't snarl or growl but if threatened they will mash whatever they consider a threat to the ground and hold it there:D - then I can't recommend a better house and farm companion dog. There's a half maremma/half border collie (aka the sheepfarm love child;)) warming my feet as I type this.:)