Coyotes - time for an LGD?

Discussion in 'Guard Animals' started by StockDogLovr, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. StockDogLovr

    StockDogLovr Well-Known Member

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    I will start by saying that I pasture-lambed sheep for 9 years, in an enclosure that was within a very wild horse pasture in the Santa Cruz mountains, and never lost anything to coyotes. Far as I knew, none ever dug under to get in with the sheep, even though they lived in the pasture surrounding my field-fenced enclosure.

    Fast forard: We have lived at our current place for four years. 40 acres that had dilapidated barbed-wire fencing of the perimeter. Coyotes worked the fallow acreage hunting gophers and ground squirrels. Then we came along and fenced the perimeter with field fencing topped by two strands of barbed wire, and graze our sheep on the 40.

    At this time of year, with the rain softening the ground, we have coyotes dig under. I've seen one out there during the day, hunting gophers. The sheep are mostly unconcerned, though I have seen them flock together at times. In these four years, we have had no attacks, though I know these coyotes manage to get in. We walk the perimeter and block the holes with branch wood from the old plum orchard that used to be here, but that of course doesn't stop them.

    I have been dreading committing to a LGD but fear the time is near that we will have to go there. I am hoping these coyotes remain unambitious and content with the gophers. Where I kept the sheep before, there was coyote scat full of rabbit fur from the abundant rabbit population, so the coyotes just never felt it necessary to go after the sheep. I am worried that if we kill these coyotes, worse ones could replace them.

    So, I have several concerns about introducing an LGD. We have herding dogs, and I train on the sheep. I would need for the dog to know that my dogs are acceptable. I've seen video of BCs gathering sheep with the LGD present without trouble. So, the dog would have to be socialized with my other dogs. Doable. I also have visitors come for herding lessons. So, I'd put the dog in a kennel during these times. Any problem with that?

    The other concerns are our cats. They are indoor/outdoor and like to go out in the pasture to hunt gophers. How to ensure they'd be safe with the LGD? I know the pup is supposed to live with the sheep (in a pen to begin with?) but would it work to bring the pup up to the house for short stints on a daily basis to see the cats? Same with the chickens, which live in an area separate from the pasture?

    Lastly, we have a real problem with foxtails and rip-gut brome during the dry-down of late spring/summer, and I worry about a dog living out in those conditions. Someone mentioned the short coat of an Anatolian might be more suitable, but they seem more problematic with unwanted aggression Does anyone here have experience with using LGDs under such conditions?

    Advice welcome!
     
  2. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    A good coyote (one that isn't acclimated to eating livestock) is the most effective livestock guardian you can have, no vet bills, county dog tags, or feed bills. Good coyotes will chase away bad coyotes just like any dog. Every once in a while, one, or a pair, break bad and have to be dealt with. The same can be said for LGDs. Sounds like with your fences, and recognition of coyote dig-unders, they would be super easy to eradicate.
     
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  3. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have to agree with barnbilder. The coyotes are not bothering your border collie or your cats. The coyote parents will continue to teach their offspring that gophers and rabbits are food, so each generation will kill them for you.
     
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  4. wendle

    wendle Well-Known Member

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    If you aren't having problems you may be fine. If you start having problems with coyotes keep in mind it will take a year for a pup LGD to be able to protect against coyotes. If you are having a problem you will likely need two LGDs. Started dogs cost a little more, and are hard to come by. It's not a bad idea to prepare by starting a pup.
    The LGD will learn to work with the border collie and tolerate the dog if he is raised with them.
     
  5. Forcast

    Forcast Well-Known Member

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    What about adding a donkey or mule? Hot wire on bottom of fence?
     
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  6. SpringCrkFarmTN

    SpringCrkFarmTN Active Member

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    We use llamas & they do a wonderful job for us.
     
  7. naturalfeddogs

    naturalfeddogs Member

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    As long as they are only bothering the gophers you are probably ok. My worry would be if they kill off all the gophers eventually, and that food source runs out. They may leave then and look for other smaller prey like rabbits. If you are worried, I would get a donkey. They do awesome jobs at going after and sometimes killing coyotes. But again, you would have to separate it while you are working sheep with your dogs.
     
  8. Calesta

    Calesta Member

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    I have 2 and they are best friends with the border collies. But we made sure they were well bonded with the sheep first. They get along well with the cats also. The older one is very friendly with people of we are present but the other goes right to her sheep when someone stops by.
    I lock them in when i am training, but since they are in the fields with the sheep they just come along when the collies are bring the sheep home.
     
  9. krackin

    krackin Well-Known Member

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    When I started out commercially 20 years ago (hobby gone wild) I worked a deal where I was having several thousand yards of manure trucked in, fall/winter/early spring. I also accepted many ton of wood ash. Mix and apply as needed off the piles.

    I had piles of manure, 500 to 600 C yards at 25 yards per dump, distributed where trailer dumps could go. Not easy in an ag field. Spread from there. At this time, I would would be planting row crop. I was also a field tester/resailer of a coyote urine product. I used it heavily while working my fields. My sponsor didn't like my results, thus I was dropped.

    Results. About AM twilight I'd get spring field work started by serving equipment. About the same time coyotes would show up and climb the manure piles, dig a little and wait for the sun while watching me. I had contractors using my stump dump asking me why I had so many dogs in the field. I just explained that they adopted me and keep deer out. They did for couple years, then they decided sweet corn was easier than running whitetails.

    Now coyotes don't fare too well in my fields, same as everything else. I did have a few trained years back, sorry it didn't last.
     
  10. Calesta

    Calesta Member

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    20170409_115427.jpg I haven't ever had problems with older lambs or adults. Small lambs however are a different story, just to tasty and easy for them. Haven't lost a one since the first LGD came.
    Last summer was second really dry summer and even the gophers were scarce. My neighbor lost 4 of 6 lambs that were a couple months old.
    My first LGD was 4 months old and came straight from sheep field. It was early winter and my sheep were in paddock close to the house. My sheep were terrified of him. So i put him in a pen in the paddock, after a week I started putting a few sheep in with him for the night, in a short time he was sleeping in the center of the group.
    When I got the second one she was only 8 weeks old and I was worried about her getting lost but from day one she went out to pasture every day with them.
     
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  11. ijon1

    ijon1 Active Member

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    Very cool picture.