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Birds of prey and LGD

 
Susan McGuinness
Posts: 8
Location: Creuse, France Like zone 5 in the States Rain:43inches per year
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Buze (a kind of hawk) used my free range chicken flock as a convenient supermarket - got through 30 ish birds in a season. They are protected so I couldn't shoot 'em. How are LGD against birds of prey?
 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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I have many birds of prey in my area (hawks, vultures, eagles, and owls). I do not have any chickens on my farm yet. Our young Great Pyrenees has kept a watchful eye for birds of prey, even while seeming to be asleep. I have seen her chasing owls, vultures, and hawks on many occasions. Since her arrival, the wild rabbits on our place have flourished.
 
Jan Dohner
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Location: Michigan
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Most LGDs will guard against large birds and birds of prey, since this was a common threat in the homelands where they were developed - mountain highlands and steppes.
 
Susan McGuinness
Posts: 8
Location: Creuse, France Like zone 5 in the States Rain:43inches per year
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Thanks for that.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'd say that depends. The great horned owls we had would simply not go near the ground and pick the chickens off while they were roosting. Not much an LGD could do against that.

I did have a peacock that would go absolutely nutso when he saw a bird of prey. One morning I heard and saw a hawk circling my barn. I was just getting shoes on to chase it off when the peacock flew onto the roof and puffed himself up all threatening. A lot of people say that peacocks are not protective, that it's a common misconception. I say I've seen it happen twice. At a young age he puffed up to an owl and as a 2 year old he scared away a hawk. I'll stick with my peacock for bird protection!
 
John Weiland
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Location: RRV of da Nort
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Our Anatolians have gotten pretty good at recognizing hawks, but like elle said, not so good at night when owls are after chickens roosting in the trees. As expected, when an eagle, hawk, or even crow/raven flies nearby, the chickens and geese set up a holler and their collective vocalized anxiety generally will get the dogs out of their sleep to check out the situation. And yes, he will scan the sky after scanning the ground, which is pretty impressive.
 
Brian Brown
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I'd like to add just a little to this for folks having issues with Raptors. I have been a Falconer for over twenty years. Here are some things I have learned over the years to guard against raptors and your livestock. LGD's can and will help to an extent with most raptors that are just passing overhead and not predating your population on a daily basis. For most the juice isn't worth the squeeze so they keep travelling looking for an easier meal. Chickens are a tough row to hoe for most all raptor species with the exception of just a few. Far more are lost to mammal predators and the blame goes to owls or raptors. These will be all but negated with a good LGD that is allowed to do his job. I have a ton of experience with Pyrs and think it is hard to find a better LGD but they must be allowed outside at night to work. That is when they really shine. They are lazy during the day but at night they wander and patrol almost constantly.

On the raptor front, the one thing that can make or break your flock is pre-warning. Nothing does this job better than Guinea fowl. Their eyesight is so acute that they will spot an inbound raptor miles out and give an alarm. The chickens will come to respect this alarm and go to cover. The LGD will also learn to respect it and get out to have a look. The two working together will disarm a raptor who hunts by stealth as well. Just something to keep in mind.
 
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