As was pointed out Livestock Guardian dogs are not the easiest to handle, they require training (some people think they will lose their "guarding" if they are trained but then what happens if the dog needs to go to the vet or god forbid gets loose?). they also have to be raised with animals and trained not to kill your other creatures (like cats, chickens, children... 8-D that kind of depends on the breed). They do better in pairs. A pack can outmanuever one dog. AND they need STRONG fencing. There is a good yahoo groups called Goats and Live Stock dogs.
Research all the breeds well, some are better for some areas than others and some are more people aggressive than others. They really are better at protecting sheep and goats.
in the meantime I'd add or up the hotwire coverage to the pastures/buildings and keep Kitty inside at least at night. Coyotes LOVE cats and they will hunt them in the daytime.
I would not get the donkey AND the dog, donkeys do not separate dogs and coyotes well, they are all canines to them. Also just get ONE donkey because it has to bond to the horses to protect them. If they are bonded to another donkey or mule they will not be as effective. There are plenty of people raising nice tame donkeys specifically for this purpose, just google for them. Donkeys have a natural hatred of canines. (not all of course, some flunk out of the canine hating school) Donkey are not long eared ponies though, be sure to research their particular (and they are very particular!) psychology!
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GET A LLAMA!!!! I love donkeys, but the llama would be much easier for you (well that's me assuming). Llamas eat less than a bale of hay a week and since they don't have hooves (they're like cow feet shape wise, but have pads on the bottom making the bottom of their foot like a cushion. I'm assuming the equivelant to like the gel soles some people put in their shoes) they can't dig up pasture like another horse would. My local 4-H club has had them for about 2 years now and they are worth their weight in gold. They're very protective of our sheep and are very very very alert. The only two cons i can think of are they need to be sheared in the spring and they need their toe nails trimmed every 6 months or so. Apart from that they're very interesting creatures and can be quite fun to have. The two we have are both neutered males. This is for two reasons: females will get to protective (protecting the sheep from you) and males will try and breed the female sheep which can break their backs. Now, i know you don't have sheep and this doesn't apply to you, but i think a neutered male (called gelded like a horse ) would be a good choice for you. As far as living requirements go, they don't need alot. We have a run in shed for ours and find that they like being outside more than being confined. So if you have a run in shed they're going to be fine. You can feed them grain if you choose, it's not a necessity. Don't feel bad about them being outside all the time. During the winters here (im in MA) they enjoy sitting on the hill in our pasture while it snows just scoping things out. Llamas are also fairly cheap price wise...I'm going to say maybe 600 for a nicely trained guard animal. Of course it's the same with horses if you want a high end show quality llama the price increases. PM me if you would like more info because i don't think the COTHers would like it to much if i kept babbling on about Llamas
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Nah, just kidding. The llama sounds like a great idea. Donkeys are cool, but man, do they wake up early! TropicalStorm, you should get one just to fox the neighbors from hell. I bet they'd move pretty sharpish after a couple of weeks of being serenaded by a Sicilian jack (actually very attractive donkeys! ) starting at about 4AM. Of course, you'd have to get your custom-made earplugs before getting said jack, but that's easy.
One of my clients has a mini-donkey that she got to be a pasture mate for her QH. He is a feisty little thing, but an easy keeper. They even tack him up and lead their daughter around on him. However, I've seen him chase thier dogs around, so I can definitely tell how it would work with a coyote. That little donkey isn't afraid of anything! The one downfall is that they make a really terrible noise, so you may not want him very close to the house. It's loud!
Donkeys are used in sheep and goat heards to keep the beast away. they are also easy keepers. I have a donkey and love him. He goes out with the horses and only puts up with s** for so long, and then he gets the best of the horses, they realize its best to leave the little guy alone.For the noise Im used to it and I dont hear it when Im sleeping. Ive had offers on him and just cant sell the little guy hes part of the family.
At the risk of getting flamed here, please keep in mind your neighbors if you go the GP route. My neighbor has two of them. And, although it is hard for me as a dog lover to say this, I HATE them. I can't walk anywhere outside of my house or even in my garage without them barking at me. Granted it is possible, or even likely given the owner, that these two are just ill-mannered but the link above about livestock guardian dogs did mention that the GP's bark a lot. The two next door to me have surely demonstrated this trait.
So, please, just keep your neighbors in mind if you aren't on 20 or more acres.
Of course if you hate your neighbor then ignore my post ;-)
What about 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks? They were originally used to hunt lions in Africa, but the breed standard says they make excellent guard dogs! They withstand large temp changes, LOVE to run and hunt, and have great endurance. I wouldn't get just one though, as they do better in a pack... I'd guess if they handle lions well, a few coyotes are easy!
I'd advise against getting a dog purely for coyote protection. Dogs need social contact and shouldn't be outside 24/7, and if your dog comes in at night the coyotes will quickly attune to that schedule. Not fair to a dog - a pack animal - to deprive it of family contact just to keep the coyotes away.
Not true of breeds like Great Pyrs--they are bred to be very independent and somewhat antisocial toward humans. They prefer to be alone with their herd.
I have an Anatolian Shepherd who lives outside 24/7 and does a great job with the coyote. I hear coyote singing many evenings, but we have not lost a laying hen (loose in the day, unlocked henhouse at night) or barn cat since we have had him. Basically, he has set up a "territory" that the coyote respect, although they test the edges of it.
Our dog is actually a rescue, I think we paid a $200 adoption fee for him as a puppy. The rescue delivered him to us from Texas. The website for the rescue is www.nasrn.org
As for the Ridgebacks...I have a pair of them, and although they guard the farm (and all of its precious horse turds) during the day, and bark if something unusual is going on, they have no interest in patrolling the farm at night.
SimpleSimon, I admit, our dog would not work on a smaller property. He barks ALL NIGHT LONG some nights.
If you get a Great Pyrenees, you need to get 2. They run better in a pack. One will be the lead dog and the follower will be your attack dog. They are a nocturnal breed and will not interact with people so much. Great guard dogs, but are very territorial. Burmese Mountain Dogs & English Sheepdogs are also great. I would recommend a GP though...even though most of the ones I meet are very aggressive.
I agree with the Pyrs, though mine were not at all agressive with their human family.
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Never used donkeys, but have used Great Pyrenese. Worked beautifully. Furthermore, I might mention about the mini donks, a lady I know that breeds them just got a new pyrenese; mini donk foals were killed. It's suspicious HOW they died though.
Never heard of a Pyrenese die from a coyote, BTW. Not saying it will not happen, just never heard of it.