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LGD for small acreage

 
Steve Lansing
Posts: 43
Location: Cumming, GA
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Building a homestead now with plans for 3 goats to bare kids for harvesting in the future. From what I have learned from the neighbors, we get coyotes from time to time in North Georgia. It gets below freezing at night and high 90s with high humidity in the summer. With only 3 female goats and once a year, their kids. Not a large herd. So, that said and the location, with cost factors, what would be the best LGD or should I turn to another animal. I plan on double fencing to keep local dogs out, but have heard that coyotes can jump fences. There was a mother bear and two cubs seen once, a year ago, so not a normal visitor. So, LGD or donkey or what for my climate and such a small heard? Thanks in advance. Rich.
 
Jan Dohner
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Posts: 39
Location: Michigan
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Hi Steve,
If there are bear, roaming dogs or multiple coyotes, I'd suggest a livestock guardian dog (LGD). Llamas or donkeys can't handle larger predators or multiple dogs or coyotes. One dog will probably be sufficient. Most LGD are perfectly comfortable in Georgia, although some of the shorter coated dogs - Akbash, Anatolians, Kangals - might be more comfortable in your summers yet are perfectly warm in the winter - although Great Pyrenees and Maremmas are also good choices for the small farm and can deal with heat too.

Your fencing plan sounds really good. If you are going to start with a pup it is probably best to have stock for the pup to bond with early. If you want the pup to be a full-time guardian, he needs to be raised outside next to his animals. My book has guidelines for raising a pup and troubleshooting issues that might come up and good information is available elsewhere. Don't believe the people that say the pup can be thrown in with the stock without some training and supervision. All dogs need some training to do their jobs.

The other possibility is finding a reliable older LGD that needs a new home. If your goats aren't used to working LGDs, everyone will need a period of getting used to each other separated by a fence. Many folks build a enclosure for the pup of adult LGD out of livestock panels and T-posts, that can be removed later.

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