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LGD and new animals

 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
Posts: 1254
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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What advice do you have for people with expanding homesteads and LGDs? I currently keep chickens, ducks, rabbits and pigs. Two days ago I brought home an eight week old Maremma (male) who is just awesome. I would like to know what tips you may have in regards to bringing new animals onto the homestead in the future. Within the next two years I'd like to add a cow or some sheep to my ever expanding "project". What can I do to help make those transitions easier for me, my family and of course the dog, who will be keeping an eye over things?

Thank you for your contributions here this week. It's perfect timing.
 
Jan Dohner
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Posts: 39
Location: Michigan
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Hi Craig,

A well-trained livestock guard dog will generally just be curious about new animals coming to the farm. If the new animals are not used to livestock guard dogs, the period of getting used to each other will be critical. It's best if you place the new animal in a nearby area so both the dog and stock can become comfortable over some time. If the stock is not frightened by the dog, take the dog on a leash into their area a few times so you can observe his reaction and behavior. This acclimatization period will be longer if the stock is not used to dogs. Don't allow them together unsupervised until you are confident things are going well. In addition, be very cautious about introducing the new animals to your old stock with the dog present. Sometimes the inevitable squabbles may upset the dog and he might try to protect his old charges. Wait until things settle down in this case.
 
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