So I have sheep that I keep in electric netting. My property has a physical fence around part of it, however on the side by one neighbor it's very dilapidated.
The other day his dog (one of three tethered 24/7) got loose and broke through my electric netting. Long story short it killed one of my sheep before I managed to snatch it up by the chain it was dragging. I didn't have a gun at the time (I'll be getting one tomorrow). I tied it up to a tree while I tried to get my other two sheep into pens. Time I had that done the neighbor was over here looking for his dog. I was terribly upset and told him what happened and told him he needed to come get it. He was somewhat frail and on a cane so I ended up having to walk the dog over there for him. I told him he needed to get rid of it ASAP and he refused. I had the sheriff's officer come out and do a report and we have a court date for May 1st. I'm not really sure for what. The officer didn't seem to think they could make him get rid of the dogs, but I could be reimbursed for the sheep. This county doesn't have animal control.
Anyway I took off work to put up three strand of electric fencing in a panic until I could get the perimeter fence fixed. I'm going to try and do that this week even though I can't really afford it.
I'm thinking about using 4 ft woven wire fencing with a strand of electric along the top and bottom. Does that sound sufficient to keep a dog or anything else out? I'll be getting a LGD puppy as well, but of course that won't do me much good for a while.
Any suggestions on the fencing or other ideas would be much appreciated.
Unfortunately fences are very little deterrent for dogs. The only thing that will stop is a guard animal or as you mentioned a fire arm. Unfortunately the latter will more than likely cause some friction between you and your neibour after you shoot his dog..
Paige, sorry for your loss, I can imagine how you feel. While I have not lost an animal to a dog so far (thank goodness), everyone in my area that has a dog has their canine either fenced in or tied to a tree, except one neighbor. There always seems to be one guy that thinks rules or the law doesn't apply to him. While his dog did come over and get popped by my electric fence, so far I've had no losses. I recommend googling dog laws for the state you live in. I live in tennessee, and here it is illegal to let a dog run at large, wether it's intentional or it gets loose from it's tether or out of the fence, the dog owner is liable for any damages, and people have every right to defend themselves or their animals against an at large dog. Check up on those laws, but I imagine the judge will find your neighbor responsible for the loss and will award some monetary damages to you.
Electric fences are great, but I think LGD's are even better.
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
I'm not sure if this would be an option for you or not, but here in NY state a lot of people have a small donkey (burro) as a guard animal against coyote and wild dogs. They are very feisty little animals with a good kick, but really gentle with people and other livestock from what I have seen. My neighbor had one burro to protect his 3 sheep 2 horses and many chickens and ducks.. He only lost chickens from the mink sneaking into the shed, but no coyote or dogs ever bothered them. We have large coyote wolf hybrids in the northeast of the United States.
More electric fencing should work; I've keep dogs in and out of places with cattle-strength electric fences. The weaker stuff doesn't work with dogs with long hair.
I've seen llamas used for coyote protection quite effectively. Like burros, they can give quite a kick. My family felt llamas were easier to keep fenced than burros. Llamas seem to want to stick around. The burros were very adventurous - the "goats of horses"- but they did have two of them. Two of anything seems to shift a dynamic pretty quick.
I'm sorry for your loss and hassle. Hope you can work this out with the neighbor. I've been on both sides of this fence. It's always unfortunate, but it was an accident, and however you can find a common ground will probably pay off in the end.
Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts. ~Wendell Berry
Sadly this is all too common, as domestic dogs kill more sheep than even coyotes statistically speaking nationwide.
The only real deterrent will be quality sheep fence which is Page Wire Fencing 48 inches high. If you really want to dog-coyote proof your pasture, then you can staple a single strand of barb wire along the ground to prevent digging underneath the fence. A single strand of electric fence on the OUTSIDE of the fence, using stand-off insulators about a foot high will also give the dog a jolt before it gets inside the fence. It is an expensive fence, but a very robust one!
I am not a huge fan of donkeys as sheep protectors because my donkey killed more sheep then it ever protected. Typically they do not recognize lambs as midget sheep, and instead go after them and kill them by kicking thinking they are a threat to the sheep flock. Another thing seldom said about donkey's is their Hee-Haw. It comes out of a donkey at 120 decibels, the same as a train horn...it does not seem like a big deal until one starts braying at 3 AM in the morning.
I agree on getting a Livestock Guard Dog, but would not get a puppy, but instead get a working, adult livestock guard dog. I have a Great Pyrenees that is 6 years old and NOBODY dares to get close to the pasture. I love my sheep; she loves them more.
Finally get a gun. Farm laws are archaic, and as such a person has the right to feed themselves, and as such they have a right to protect their livestock which subsequently feeds them; either through sales or directly. That means I know of no state that does not allow a sheep farmer to shoot a dog in their pasture.
If you are nervous about pulling the trigger for fear of repercussions, here is 3 pieces of advice:
Not really recommended for ex-husbands or ex-wives, but sheep killing dogs are another matter. (Comic relief for a very troubling and serious subject...obviously I am only teasing here).
Sadly the neighborhood dog will always be regarded as "Oh Fido would never do that", even when confronted with the evidence. protect your sheep, as they cannot.
As a full-time farmer, I do my best work with a hoe, but what does that say about my wife Katie?
Keeping dogs out of my sheep pasture has been difficult for me too. I have 48" high field fence with a strand of barbed wire top and bottom. Dogs under 30 lbs can come right through this fence, regretfully. I wasn't aware of that when I put the fencing in, and quite frankly, I wouldn't have been able to afford 2"x4" fencing for the pasture perimeter. I've got almost 3 miles of perimeter fence. I soon learned that my fencing would keep out pet style dogs but not experienced hunting dog. Over the years I lost many sheep to lost, abandoned hunting dogs. I resorted to putting a hotwire top and bottom on the outside of the fence. It seemed to work fine until some neighbor (or friend of a neighbor) stole the solar operated charger. I replaced the charger twice, putting it in different locations, and both were eventually stolen. So I resorted to a donkey.
Not all donkeys are good flock guardians. My neighbor has one that abysmally bad at the task. But my own donkey is a champ. While she isn't really protecting the sheep, she has killed two hunting dogs to date, and I've lost zero sheep. She patrols the fenceline if she senses a dog in the area. Yup, a through and through dog hater. I've watched her threatening my neighbor's dog, who was intimidated and wisely choose not to enter the pasture to be one victim #3.
My own donkey has been tolerant of the lambs, up to a point. She threatens them, making mean faces & snapping her teeth & kicking the air nowhere near the lamb, but doesn't do anything else. I've seen the lambs go between her legs and force their faces into the feed trough literally right under the donkey's nose. While the donkey doesn't concede an inch, she doesn't overtly attack the lambs either. I've had three lamb crops since acquiring the donkey, and so far so good. Oh yes, the donkey doesn't take any garbage from the rams either, but she will kick a ram that is being obnoxious. Thus my rams defer to the donkey. She hasn't tried to kill a ram, but I don't think I'd ever try introducing a new adult ram into the flock for fear that the new ram would become victim #3.
Personally I prefer this particular donkey to a LGD. Though she will bray at feeding time, she is otherwise quiet. (Travis is right on, braying is very loud.) Thus no consistent barking in the middle of the night at perceived danger due to passing feral pigs, wild goats, and mouflon. Persistent barking for over 15 minutes can cause legal problems for me. Plus no fear of legal action due to dog bites when stupid visitors try to "pet the pretty doggy". Yes, I've seen people try to make friends with a dog who obviously isn't interested. Yes, those two people both got bitten. Stupid people. Luckily I wasn't the dog owner, so I wasn't the one who lost sleep over it. My donkey doesn't like strangers and keeps a good distance from people. Having been a feral donkey, she isn't trusting. Nor does she look to humans for treats.
I think a barrier fence with a hotwire top and bottom would probably work in your situation. But hotwires standing alone may not. If the dog has no experience with a hotwire, it will simply run right through it. It won't know in advance that the wire produces a searing shock.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
If you catch a dog harrassing your sheep, you can kill it with a clean concious. In the interest of maintaining good relations with your neighbor, it may be worthwhile to try a non-lethal method.
If you are nervous about killing your neighbors dog, get a pellet gun (or a good bb gun) and shoot it any time it comes onto your property. If you are a good shot, a wrist rocket sling shot may work also. It's best if the dog doesn't associate you with the pain. You want the dog to think, "That area over there must be cursed. Every time I go over there I get this sudden pain in my rear end. I best not go over there and awaken the demon."
I hope it doesn't make me a bad person, but if a dog killed some of my livestock, I would find the idea of shooting the hell out of it with a pellet gun oddly attractive. It might even be seen as theraputic, and it might save the dogs life.
If you opt for a non-lethal gun, I would put some food out to lure it over the line, repeatedly, so I could shoot it repeatedly to get the lesson taught. (Of course, you need to remove the food when you aren't watching, otherwise the dog will learn "Sometimes the demon sleeps").
There are two tricks I've found to making a hotwire a canine will be less likely to run through when first shocked.
First, make it very visible. Flags or the like. It needs a warning.
Next, you run second strand of visible wire above the hot wire. Basically, you are making a very rudimentary fence then. So the hot wire is down low, maybe 6-8inches off the ground.
Then the second wire that is not hot, that one goes about 10 inches above it. You are basically trying to make a very simple fence, to encourage the dog to either crawl under or step between the two wires. This is a more normal behavior for most average sized canines - they'll usually step through or crawl under before considering jumping.
If you can a third plain and also visible wire up higher will really make it work well. Of course then it's a fence.
But the point is, you want the predator animal to need to slow down and take some care in going through the fence. They need to see it, and hopefully have to alter their speed. Then they are way less likely to just burst through it when first shocked. Usually they will feel the shock and spring back.
I learned this when my Dad had to build fencing for keeping our dogs in our yard. They were very large, very furry, and very persistent, and the first hot wire attempts didn't work. That's when we learned it needed to be cattle-grade. The cattle-grade stuff is very memorable, stops your heart a bit ...I say from experience!
Hope that's useful.
Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts. ~Wendell Berry
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