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do I want chicken killing dogs or dog killing coyotes?  RSS feed

 
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hmmmmm. I just witnessed two coyotes chase one of my neighbors "chicken killing black labs" across the width of my property with his tail tucked between his legs. I am not convinced they were playing based on the head down low to the ground sprint of one of the coyotes tailing him. the other was just loping along behind a little more lazily. I have heard of coyotes teasing out dogs and then killing them.

of course it is possible they were playing. my dogs like to play chase. but I am not entirely convinced......if they do kill him I am not quite sure how to feel about it
 
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Dang, girl ...where's your video camera when you need it!? I wanna come to your house & critter watch!
 
Leah Sattler
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I was really looking forward to sitting here and drinking my coffee and seeing if the lab escaped and makes his usual rounds this morning but its too foggy to see down there.
gee. I am obviously in need of stimulation........ 
 
pollinator
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i know what you mean about the animal delimna..i have two cats..the one kills everything in site (except the deer)...and there are also coyote around here and wild running dogs.

i would LOVE to have a few chickens for eggs and an occasional meal..but...i'm afraid if my cats didn't kill them..which they likely would..that the coyote or stray dogs would.

however on t v the other day..in our neck of the woods..4 nice biddies put to death a fox that entered their henhouse
 
pollinator
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Between the coyotes, bobcats, and raptors, poultry don't have much of a chance in these parts unless you have full fencing with a mesh ceiling.  It only takes days or weeks for unprotected birds to disappear...

I'd guess that two coyotes chasing anything are not playing.  You can tell when they are playing - it normally doesn't involve two critters in all-out sprint.

The coyotes do keep the stray cat population down...

I'm glad we have them, but seeing them do their thing can be harsh.
 
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I say shoot the coyotes in front of the dog maybe it gets the msg. >
 
              
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thought there were breeds of chickens that would take on some of the predators?

and aren't there breeds of dogs that will protect the chickens and kill the coyotes?
 
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Dr Temp wrote:thought there were breeds of chickens that would take on some of the predators?

and aren't there breeds of dogs that will protect the chickens and kill the coyotes?



I don't know about killer chickens but with dogs, size and general temperment aside, I would guess it's more about training than breeding. My dog is a border collie mix and he would herd critters if he had been trained that way. but so far, in his interactions with chickens (limited) it was much more in the 'catch it and shake it' vein. (the rooster in question survived, much to the chagrin of it's owners, it was an adolescent).
 
pollinator
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Jonathan Fuller wrote:...with dogs, size and general temperment aside, I would guess it's more about training than breeding.



No.
Livestock Guard Dogs have been bred for a specific purpose. Thousands of years of work have gone into it. Why are most LGDs white? Because that color allowed the shepherd to distinguish them from wolves. That's just one selected trait out of many.

Actually, all dogs have been bred for a specific purpose (except mutts). If you get the right type of dog for a certain purpose you're half way there.

Maremmas and Pyrs are particularly suited for guarding chickens (and other livestock). Their job is not to kill coyotes (or other predators) but to convince them to look elsewhere for an easy meal. I worry hunters will accuse my dogs of running deer but they're not. They are merely escorting them off my property. A dead deer is fair game, however.
 
Jonathan Fuller
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Cj Verde wrote:

Jonathan Fuller wrote:...with dogs, size and general temperment aside, I would guess it's more about training than breeding.



No.
Livestock Guard Dogs have been bred for a specific purpose. Thousands of years of work have gone into it. Why are most LGDs white? Because that color allowed the shepherd to distinguish them from wolves. That's just one selected trait out of many.

Actually, all dogs have been bred for a specific purpose (except mutts). If you get the right type of dog for a certain purpose you're half way there.

Maremmas and Pyrs are particularly suited for guarding chickens (and other livestock). Their job is not to kill coyotes (or other predators) but to convince them to look elsewhere for an easy meal. I worry hunters will accuse my dogs of running deer but they're not. They are merely escorting them off my property. A dead deer is fair game, however.



I agree that certain breeds are more suited to certain jobs but my point was more that any dog could be trained to hang out with chickens and help protect them. as you say, get the right breed and you are HALF way there. Dogs (nee wolves) entered into partnership with us humans a long time ago becuse we are both such good multi-taskers and that hasn't gone away. But if you teach a dog that a group of creatures are it's pack (sheep, people, chickens, etc.) they will try to protect that group up to their ability and percieved authority.

Staffordshire terriers are a great example of this. A dog that was bred to kill small and medium rodents also makes one of the best family dogs in the world and also can be made into one of the most fierce dog killing dogs around.
 
Cj Sloane
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Jonathan Fuller wrote:
... my point was more that any dog could be trained to hang out with chickens and help protect them. as you say, get the right breed and you are HALF way there



I don't think that's true. I have a book about raising poultry which says certain dogs just can't help themselves. The authors had a Siberian Husky who constantly went after chickens - and had it's tail between it's legs while doing it - as if it knew it was being bad but still had to be bad! I would imagine any birding dog or retriever type would be a disaster.
 
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forest garden homestead hugelkultur
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I have a pack of Border Collies that I use for guarding livestock. They love to chase animals away from my garden or livestock. They do have to be trained though. I introduce them as babies and Atlas (only male) sniffs them and then even growls at the other dogs to let the know he is protecting them. Border Collies are easy to train, but if not they can be trouble. I have a litter right now and I call them super Border Collies because I breed them large. Someone came to my property that had two Anatolean(SP?) guard dogs and she thought he looked similar & also his bearing and attitude. I don't know, it's possible that a guard dog & herding dog out on the range could have hooked up somewhere in his gene pool.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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What kind of livestock is the border collie guarding? I have an Australian Shepherd in addition to my 3 LGDs. He doesn't get along well with the turkeys and occasionally likes to chase the chicken, especially if they are eating the other dogs food. The LGDs let the chickens steal their food. The Aussie had my "permission" to kill one rooster but that's it.

Shepherds/Collies are smart and they use "the eye" to herd. LGDs don't have that and tend not to look anyone, people or livestock, directly in the eye because they need to appear submissive to gain the animals trust.

BTW, Samoyed was the breed that couldn't stop killing chickens.
 
Hazel Reagan
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Nigerian Dwarf goats and fowl. We also have 2 cats that live in the barn for mousing. Whatever belongs to the pack gets guarded, that includes people&plants. When we have people camping, one dog always stays at the tent. One of the cats comes in the dog door and eats their food and their ok with it. Although the cat is not allowed in the kitchen because they aren't. They will however, chase neighbor cats up a tree. The goats are free range & the entire pack goes, goats, dogs, cats. We all stay together with the dogs on the peripherial. When the animals are penned in they patrol the area. They change off who is the front posts with others relaxing until front guard asks for back up.
 
Hazel Reagan
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The neighbor had a blue heeler that came with a pit mix & killed my fowl when I only had the one standard size border collie. I think herding breeds can be a nuisance if they are not trained. Nothing worse tha a bored border collie. There JOB thought is to guard and they take their job very seriously though.
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Cj Verde wrote:

Jonathan Fuller wrote:
... my point was more that any dog could be trained to hang out with chickens and help protect them. as you say, get the right breed and you are HALF way there



I don't think that's true. I have a book about raising poultry which says certain dogs just can't help themselves. The authors had a Siberian Husky who constantly went after chickens - and had it's tail between it's legs while doing it - as if it knew it was being bad but still had to be bad! I would imagine any birding dog or retriever type would be a disaster.



Nope...all my LGD were lab mix dogs and all were perfect around the chickens. Most retrievers aren't bred for hunting nowadays but for family dogs. Mine were quite sweet with the chickens and mostly would mother them. My latest one is Lab/BC mix but he neither kills them nor tries to herd them....he will, however, lick them and snuggle with them when they are little.


For high predator areas, one can always keep a dog inside the electric poultry netting type fencing to get good protection from 'yotes and from hawks. Just today my lab went postal on a low flying buzzard, growled, barked and ran at it. It suddenly remembered it had other places to be. He is currently on duty guarding 53 meat chicks and one young WR rooster. Between the roo calling the alarms and teaching the chicks when to take cover and the dog taking care of the rough stuff and the fence guarding his back, it's really not a problem to have chickens in high pred areas.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Jay Green wrote:all my LGD were lab mix dogs and all were perfect around the chickens.



One example doesn't nix the entire premise.

Labs aren't as aggressive as some dogs. I just don't think it's possible to train any dog to get along with poultry. You might know 1 Samoyed who get's along great with chickens but the next 99 are going to kill them. You can work with the odds or against them.
 
Jay Green
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Actually...it was three examples, not one. I've had three excellent lab or lab mix dogs that work well with livestock. I must have gotten REAL lucky to have gotten 3 out of all those other potential killer Labs.

I don't think it's plausible to expect that one can train ANY dog to work with chickens either, but going on the premise that, if a dog is a retriever breed~ or any other high prey-driven breed, it won't be a good choice to use is also a poor advice to give. I know many people who attest to the good qualities of their Labs, coonhounds, Jack Russells, Schnauzers, Poodles, pit bulls, etc. all working with and guarding their chickens. I've learned that the breed isn't always indicative of the dog's abilities~ or handicaps~ in this regard.
 
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At one time I use to live in the middle of 80 Acers. In our back yard we had a fenced in dog kennel. One day I started to notice 1 coyote walking up the kennel like he wanted to play. He would run around the kennel playing tag. It was cute, but one day I was outside with my daughter and my 2 cats and he got to close for comfort. It was like he was tame or something. But I heard form a vet that that also can be a sign of rabies. So for the safety of our child and the dogs we shot it. I don’t have any problem with coyotes like some people do, the good lord made them with a purpose. We have far too many deer and rotting animals around here without them. We now have chickens live out in country and heir them howling all night. We have never had any problem with them killing our chickens.
 
Cj Sloane
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This is a good article about Maremmas guarding a threatened population of penguins down under. The experiment was a success, they went from 10 penguins up to over 200 but the article talks about some of the problems. The biggest were adolescent maremmas killing the birds by accident, and occasionally leaving their post to hunt the foxes hunting the penguins. One of the biggest problems was that an early article was written about the experiment and people started coming to the island to play with the dogs.

With their floppy ears, shaggy, white coats and placid demeanor, Maremmas look unthreatening and act calmly around sheep, goats and poultry. Unlike herding breeds that nip and chase, Maremmas do not confront livestock but integrate with them, forming social bonds.

Some of this is heredity; the dogs are bred to be docile. They also bond to the animals they’re to look after so they identify them as members of their pack. This bonding takes place through the critical period of socialization — eight to 16 weeks — until the dogs are about 12 months old. During this time, they are monitored closely for harmful play behavior. The dogs scent-mark their territory, indicating their boundaries to potential predators, and disrupt hunters by vigorous barking. They defend rather than act as aggressors.

As Sydney, Australia, Maremma breeder Cecilia McDonald says, “The dogs work by instinct. But they need to be introduced to the stock they’re looking after so they can differentiate the predators from what is to be protected.”



I would just like to add that only 70% of LGDs actually workout. My first one was too aggressive but we lost no livestock while he was around. The 3 I have now are great, each with distinctive personalities. My Australian shepherd likes to hang out with them and doesn't kill chickens but that doesn't make him an LGD, just a good farm dog. While it's important to bond the LGD to the family they were bred to be left alone with livestock over long periods of time.
 
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