Predators.........

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Kazahleenah, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Kazahleenah

    Kazahleenah Disgruntled citizen

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    OK... anyone have experience with predators? I'm not talking the dog type... but more inclined to need help with cougar and bear types. In the spring I am planning on getting a couple doelings. However, we do have bear and cougar in the area where I live. What precautions would you take? I plan on a TALL (5-6 foot) electric fence, and keeping them indoors at night. Would you also add a large dog to the pasture? (Kuvas, GP etc?)

    Kaza
     
  2. moosemaniac

    moosemaniac Well-Known Member

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    We have coyotes in my area and a few stupid dog owners as well. I recently added a guardian dog - pyrenese mix. She's wonderful and I haven't worried since I got her.

    Ruth
     

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    We have cougars and bears in this area, along with the regular coyotes. All of my animals spend the night behind solid walls and doors, and I do not leave any sort of feed out. I feed the birds inside their coops, I feed the goats inside their barn. I don't have bird feeders hung out, garbage is inside the garage, the barbeque is inside the garage... Anything that a bear could consider food is kept inside as much as possible. The bird coops are inside of fences backed up with electric tape.

    The bears won't come around if they aren't used to finding food in your yard. They're just looking for an easy meal, make sure the easier meals are out in the woods.

    Cougars are a different story. My dogs do just fine against coyotes, but I sure wouldn't like their chances against a cougar. That's why everyone gets shut in at night. It is a pain in the neck sometimes getting all the goats into the stinking barn at the end of the day, but in several years now the only stock loss I've had was to one of my own dogs (who found a different home very quickly).
     
  4. trnubian

    trnubian Twin-Reflection Nubians

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    If I were you I would get 2 dogs. Make sure they are bred to be livestock guardians (Kuvas would be GREAT, Pyrenese's, Antolian Shepards, even Belgian Malinois, Belgian Shepards, and Belgian Taverns would work.) Again I would get 2 if I were you.

    Also, put them up at night behind solid walls.
     
  5. Goat Freak

    Goat Freak Slave To Many Animals

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    Hey, the more animals the merrier! :p
     
  6. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

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    A bear probably won't even realize that it went through an electric fence unless it coincidentally poked it with its nose, and it won't stop a motivated cougar. Use alternating hot and ground wires so anything that contacts the fence has two sources of grounding - the earth they are standing on and the circuit between the wires.

    Unlike herding breeds, good guardian dogs (regardless of breed) will be very independent and do their work in SPITE of you. They will not stay in a small area (barnyard for instance) they will establish as large a territory as they can roam to. Train them to electric fencing early in their life and you will probably be able to establish their boundary for two or so years.

    One dog against a bear or cougar is a disadvantage for the dog. I've known of dogs trained specifically to hunt and kill (disable) bear, but that is a different animal than you want (most of the trainer/owners of these dogs have horrible scars from training them).... If you get 2-3 good livestock guardian dogs, they will work independently most of the time but as a team when needed.

    Breed? I have a Great Pyr. Great puppy becoming a great dog. He's attentive, patrols his area, warns at the slightest hint of anything out of the ordinary and so far his presence has seemed to deter the predators that we have (coyotes, raccoons, skunks, opossoms, weasels, and yes he even warns of birds - those evil blue jays!!....) but I wouldn't give him much chance against a cougar. And although GPs were bred and developed specifically to guard sheep against bears and large predators (they were probably a much larger breed 3000 years ago) I think I'd look for Bull Mastiffs or Rotweillers that were bred and raised specifically as livestock guardian dogs - they might have a better chance against a cougar. That's going to be pretty difficult to find unless you get lucky or are willing to travel to get them. Took me two years to find my GP that was 4th generation of farm-raised, born-in-a-barn, only-reason-to-have-these-dogs-is-to-protect-the-livestock, healthy pedigree. Then I had to drive 300 miles to pick him up. Lesson here is that good guardian dogs are not common, and just because a dog is a Great Pyr or Anatolian or whatever does not make them a candidate as a guardian dog.

    The good news is what Jen said. Bears are basically lazy and opportunistic foragers, not predators and would rather sit down in front of a blueberry bush than try to chase down a chicken or goat (just too much work). However, if a properly motivated (starving or frightened) bear wants into a barn or shed it will try to find a way.

    Good luck
     
  7. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    Great Pyrenees are truly GREAT! My goats LOVE them and are relaxed with the dogs. We have cougars in the area too. Also the ever present slinky coyotes and wandering local dogs. Pyrenees have been guarding flocks for 6,000 years. It is an instinct that is genetic. They are a breed that certainly won't win obedience trails...can't really teach to fetch and do tricks etc. but they will really watch your place. Mine were introduced to the goats and other livestock when they were young. They spent time in the goat pens and bonded with the goats, but dug out becuae we live in the sand. In fact one doe kept trying to nurse them. The dogs run outside the pens and guard the whole ranch. These dogs do need space. The are great diggers and landscape artists. They only bark when necassary and then you can really hear them! In the Pyrenees mountains of France/Spain, where they originated from, they were used against bears. You need more than one. A bear could get one I'm sure, but a couple of them sure would make the bear decide to go else where...I would think! I haven't even lost a chicken since we have gotten these dogs. Do a search. Go to AKC.com or Google and read up. I can't say enough good things. Registered dogs are expensive around here $400-700. We could not afford that. Pups without papers are around $100-150. They are not herd dogs like Australian Shepherds or Border Collies. They don't chase or herd. They lay around calm until there is something to protect. Then off they go. They make rounds to check on things. They LOVE cold weather....I've said enough!...Diane
     
  8. Kazahleenah

    Kazahleenah Disgruntled citizen

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    I've been around Great Pyrs and most the other breeds mentioned.. (I used to show dogs and go to herding trials, field trials etc... I like Pyrs, also like Kuvas (but they are VERY expensive here). So far it's looking like a Great Pyr may be in my future. Now the next question.... male or female?

    Kaza