Question

Discussion of the training, use, and management of guard dogs, guard llamas, guard donkeys, guard goldfish, etc.

Question

Postby Chad » Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:36 am

Hi, everybody, first post here! though Bill and some others know me from the Working Stockdog Forum.

We have a Great Pyrenees, four years old, who guarded a couple of adult goats over the past couple of years. Otherwise no guarding experience. She has now mauled and half-killed two of my chickens who were unwise/unlucky enough to get into the fenced-in area where she stays. No idea whether she was playing or looking for a chicken dinner, but she hurt them badly enough that I had to dispatch them.

My question: do I need to be concerned that she might do the same to a lamb or other infant quadruped? Or are chickens different in the GP mind than sheep? I ask because none of our five Aussies or one border collie harm the chickens at all, they don't even try.
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Postby wsp » Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:10 pm

Sorry to hear about your chickens. I placed a pyr last year who would guard sheep, goats and chickens, she is great with the birds, but will kill and eat other critters like possoms. My pyr /anatolian keeps cats, flying birds, tries to catch mice, (never been around chickens), and coyotes away. It probably depends on your particular dog, by the same tolken I have heard of pyrs, other guard dogs, as well as unsupervised herding breeds killing sheep and birds.
How long have you had your chickens? If she was never taught to tolerate them as a youngster maybe she thinks they don't belong.
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LGD and fowl

Postby DeltaBluez Tess » Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:29 am

About 1 yr ago, Kodi went into the chicken coop and proceeed to maul the chickens....I heard the ruckus and chased him out with a crook and all the way back to the gate. He was more than happy to go back to the sheep.

He has seen chickens before but for some reason he wanted to maul them. I chased him with such a fuss, whacked the stick near him and yelled at him (never hit him) that he got the message that chickens and ducks were not to be messed with. The few times I did see him glance athe chickens as if he was interested in maybe chasing, I went after him...so now,he is fine with the chickens....he just ignores them....HOWEVER if I get a new chicken I have to lock it with the residents or he will CHASE it down the drive (not maul) but chase it off the farm.

The wild Canadian geese pair that raise their youngin's each yr, have learned not to bother his sheep or he will chase them into the pond. They get protective but do not bother the sheep anymore....it was interesting to see this dyanmics all work out


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Postby irenafarm » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:08 am

We had to teach our adult Marremmas that the ducks were not a threat, when we introduced them a couple years ago. I brought the ducks over to the flock as a group. If one of the dogs went into guardy mode, I'd correct them. I would not even let them position themselves between the newcomers and the flock.

Now the ducks follow the sheep around and eat the bugs they attract. The dogs even guard them, too, now - including against flying predators.

I want to get guineas this year to address pests a little more aggressively, and I'll probably have to go through the same routine with that new species, also.

The dogs still guard against other winged intruders into their pasture. When we moved this year they had to teach the local buzzard population that lambs were not fair game.
Becca Shouse
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Postby irenafarm » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:17 am

Oh, I need to add that you might need to be VERY vigilant with your dog and young stock. If she was not brought up to respect babies, she will have to be taught carefully and closely supervised the first couple of years she'll have youngsters in her charge.

And don't be disappointed if it doesn't work out - it's possible she may never learn to treat little ones gently. It's frustratingly difficult to reverse the process from a pet, being used to play any way she wants, to having to control her impulses around babies.

It doesn't mean she's mean, or a bad guard dog, or that a guard dog wouldn't work for your situation. You just might want to consider raising a pup to guard your lambs, if your four or five year old dog doesn't work out for that job. Guard dogs are happier in pairs, anyway. :)
Becca Shouse
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funny item

Postby DeltaBluez Tess » Sun Apr 23, 2006 11:28 pm

I just got home and the spouse told me about two new lambs so I go out to the field to see them. We have 5 new babies born in the last two days. The two new arrivals are just hours old.

I am watching and hanging out....I see the new ones trying to nurse off Kodi, the Grt Pyr, ....he just stands there and lets them nuzzle his undersize all over until they wander off.....pretty patient.....and later as I unload the truck , I see the all the moms literally drop off the lambs so Kodi can lamb sit.......they wander in the nursery, the lambs start to climb and jump all over Kodi and the moms scoot out for some grazing.....pretty soon, the lambs are in piles, some on Kodi, some next and not a ewe in sight. All the lambs and Kodi were passed out.

I remember the first yr with Kodi...he chased lambs all over and we had to put a drag on him. He busted a couple of lambs that we had to put down and now.....he is the babysitter and the guardian.....even to the ewes who never were raised or seen a LGD until they came here last yr.

I think Kodi has a sign hanging out the Nursery "Will watch your lambs for a lamb cuddle"

Business is brisk today....


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Postby irenafarm » Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:39 am

I often tell people purchasing younger dogs from me - be patient, the BEST dogs are the ones you have to work hardest on the first year a lot of times. Dogs that will grow up to be active flock tenders, often start out with that intense interest a little misdirected - they have to learn to command respect without injuring the sheep, to get sheep moved to safety without chasing, and the difference between tending a lamb and making a squeaky toy out of one. :roll:

Shhh, don't tell my Border collies, but I think I love my Marremmas the best sometimes . . . :wink:
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