What kind of guard animal?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by frank4570, Dec 18, 2003.

  1. frank4570

    frank4570 Active Member

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    My sheep were attacked by dogs the other day. I didn't see the dogs but I recognized the tracks. A huge german shepherd at least 125lbs but probably a lot bigger, and possibly his mate, another shepherd. The only thing that would have been worse would have been more dogs.
    I need a guard animal.Any suggestons?
    Right now the shepherd is penned up. If he ever gets loose somebody may get the chance to shoot it. Untill then I need to defend against it.So what could win aginst a pair of really big shepherds?
    Thanks.
     
  2. ponylady

    ponylady Member

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    'Ever heard of Great Pyrenees? If you have livestock that you want guarded without the worry of them being aggressive with people - that's your answer. They are true Guardian dogs. Of livestock and babies! Get one (or two) that was raised with and among the sheep.

    http://www.greatpyrenees.com/
     

  3. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    DONKEYS.
    They make great gaurds for sheep. Ive watched them gaurd goats, horses sheep... my neighbor has 3 and a flock of sheep and they chase EVERYTHING away especially dogs.. I see them often chasing dogs out of the fields at a full run ears down, they are very protective.
    do a search on donkeys as shepards and youll find lots of people swear by them. My donkey HATES dogs. every now and then a neighbors dog gets in the paddocks with them and they get run ragged till they litterally either climb the fence to get out or curl up in the corner and whine.
    and he is just protecting his old horse buddy who outweighs him 3 times over. :haha:

    plus donkeys are very affectionate pets... and are easy to keep healthy. they are tough lil critters.
     
  4. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    The best guard animal I know of is a longhorn cow, preferably with calf. Nothing will touch her herd and they tend to wipe out predatory dogs pretty quick. I've loaned out cows to friends with sheep for years and they've had no problems with the cattle and no further problems with predators.
     
  5. You might also consider a llama. They make excellent guard animals, hate anything that resembles a canine with a passion but will still allow humans to work with the sheep. They are quiet, clean and will do fine on anything sheep eat. You will probably want to find a castrated male for a guard. A big male should have no trouble with a domestic dog(s) but they are no match for wolves or big cats.
     
  6. bulldinkie

    bulldinkie Well-Known Member

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    Not sur about longhorns we have raised them for years our dogs go in they dont bother them. Donkeys yes we have 2 of those too theyd be great. I had some chickens killed 2 years in a row the dogs come in kill move on. This last time My labs chased them but my little jack russell ran them to thewoods...Great little dog.
     
  7. Gary

    Gary Member

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    I like my Great Pyrenees because they are concerned about the welfare of my
    goats,stay with them in the daytime,sleep with them at night.A fox or bobcat
    can snatch a lamb or kid before a donkey or llama would notice.Also my Great
    Pyrenees circle the fence line of each field every morning to check for scent
    of anything that went through the field the night before,if they pickup a scent
    they track the intruder down.I have 3 GP with my main goat herd,when they
    confront a stray dog they do it as a pack and are fearless.
     
  8. brosil

    brosil Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a llama that works well but I've got strong fences and the dog packs are few around here. I'd tend toward a donkey in your situation. Dogs are nice but you have to feed them separate from the flock.
    Llamas are reputed to work well against eagles if that's a worry for you.
     
  9. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    The reason I prefer using Livestock Guardian Dogs ( http://lgd.org ) to guard my stock, is they are fearless against anything that wanders into their territory (which is defined by fencing). Livestock guardian Dogs (LGD) actually live among the flock, bond to the flock (sheep, goats, chickens, people) and take this job seriously...even lay their life on the line for their charges.

    I prefer to work my dogs in pairs as they work as a team. One dog moves the flock away from the threat while the other dog stands his ground posturing and barking, giving a warning that you are not welcome here. If the predator/threat doesn't move on the dogs will take care of the problem.

    Since I have packs of coyotes and dogs as well as bears, mountain lions, bob cats, raccoons, fox, weasles, hawks, and 2 legged predators to name a few, my dogs will only let us (myself, husband and children) in the pastures. However, if you are with me and I bring you into the pasture, don't be surprised if the dogs don't gently try to move you into flock (oh look, Mom brought us another one!) thinking that is where you belong! <smile>

    I also have LGD's that have run of the farm. They freely run around the house, chicken coop and rabbitry and garden areas. These dogs are more socialized toward people but only if you say the magic words! <wink> This is because I have children and they have friends. The dogs recognize the words and the childrens smells and let them have full run of the palce. However, if a UPS man comes onto the property...the dogs let me know!

    Another reason for using dogs is they do bark! oh and how they bark, when something isn't right. This then alerts me to a problem and I am able to assist. If a doe or ewe is birthing they let me know, if it is raining outside the dogs nestle up to the baby to keep it warm. My stories about my dogs are not the exception, but rather the rule.

    While Alpacas/Llamas or Donkeys do not like canines (unless raised with them..but then goats and sheep don't like dogs at first either), they are no match for a pack of dogs, coyotes or wolves. They can't stop a mountain lion or bear. They do not bark to give warning which usually is enough to cause the predator to mosey on down the road.

    I feed my dogs in the pasture with the goats and sheep, I pet these dogs, bursh them, touch them but only while in the pasture.

    While a llama or donkey may be a quick fix, a dog takes time to train if you get a puppy. I tired jacks back in the 70's and have found that livestock guardian dogs tend to work better for my and my operation.
     
  10. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    bulldinkie, we've had longhorns for years as well and we're in an area that brings a lot of dog packs into our area. They learned a long time ago that our dogs belong and never really bother them but foreign dogs and coyotes end up dead. It's quite common to have an old cow come up for feed with blood up her horn and find a dead dog or coyote in the pasture later on. In all the years we've bred longhorns, we've never once lost a calf to predators but the people that share our fenceline seem to lose a couple each spring.
     
  11. If choosing a donkey for a guard animal, make sure it has been raised or trained to that purpose.

    You can't just take any old donk and put him in with your sheep.

    We have a gelded male and I have to keep him seperated from my calves. He chases them ruthlessly. Putting one like him in with sheep would probably cost you some sheep.

    As for guard dogs, I think they are great if trained. Once again, you can't take just any dog, no matter the breed. There are a couple of great pyr dogs about a mile from us that will likely be shot. They do not stay home. They do chase livestock.
     
  12. There will be pros and cons to every choice for a guardian and it would really depend on the size and location of your farm/operation. I use llamas as they work best for my location. I share a common boarder with a chunk of a state park. People and dogs off leads parade by part of my fence line on a daily basis. I run a tight tall fence and keep my fence line immaculate but people and dogs still get over/under it. I would never consider barb or electric wire, as I would be too afraid some idiot would get himself into trouble. I would never run a guardian that might do anybody any harm no matter which side of the fence they were on. The llamas would never hurt, bite or kick anybody unless they were severely threatened and even under the worst conditions you would probably only end up with a face full of spit. Just too much of a liability in my area. I had a weimaraner in the fence late yesterday. He was interested in the chickens but the llamas sent him packing. What a nice looking dog. If I had been able to catch him I might not have returned him to his owner. Livestock Guardian Dogs sound great but I need something I don’t half to worry about when I am at work. I was also told that they have a very short lifespan and feeding would be a pain in the bum.
     
  13. The post above was me - Mona in Ok.

    Something about this board just won't let me log in.
     
  14. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    Here in southcentral Michigan where I am we have problems with coyotes and feral dogs running. The amish around me keep sheep and have used llamas with success. They usually have two to a field. I would try them for the short term solution and consider the GPs, which are certainly wonderful guardian dogs!!
     
  15. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

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    Glycerine based antifreeze.
     
  16. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    dont bet on it... these lil donkeys notice everything. they aint got big ears fer nuttin!

    as for training them to gaurd, I dont think so. once they take a shine to the shep or any other animals they tend to protect them.
    of course, the donkey may not like sheep, so i'd be sure they were sheep friendly before you left them alone...
    but donkeys are pretty smart. mine knows if I move anything anywhere in his fields, and he gets really upset over it. I moved one of my fences and he was so irate he hee hawed and ran and kicked for hours... he even gets ****y if I cut the weeds and change the appearance of things. If i move a rock it seems he knows right where I did it. goes to show youhow observant they are. my horse couldnt care less if I move anything. my donkey I have watchedhim walking around, watching the cats, watching birds... watching the horses across the road. I wouldnt sell a donkeys senses short.

    if you feed anything antifreeze you need smacked in the face with a shovel.
     
  17. Pops2

    Pops2 Well-Known Member

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    i would strongly vote for the LGD. LLamas & donkeys are prey species. dogs are predators and even alone can take down animals more than twice their own size. the biggest deer i ever saw my dobes take down was 150# dressed or 180-200# live weight. the 73# pup took the healthy 6 point buck down alone & had it's throat torn out before i got to it & only got a couple of cuts. dogs are bolder & more aggressive than coyotes and in packs can take down very large animals. if the pack is large enough even coyotes will get brave. the one thing wild predators will generally avoid is anything resembling a "fair" fight. even a minor injury could be fatal for them so they avoid fights especially w/ other predators. coyotes won't mess w/ the dogs unless they have at least a 3/1 advantage & a total weight advantage ( 3 30# coyotes won't take on a 110# GP unless they have to but 3 45# coyotes might).
    predators are just more effective at dealing w/ predators. an aggressive prey animal might scare off a loner or a couple of small predators but big predators just treats them as an inconvenience until they have to kill them or choose to.
     
  18. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

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    i LOVED my pyres, the lady who now has them LOVES my pyres.

    have a friend who has akbash, she LOVES them.
     
  19. 1farmgirl

    1farmgirl Well-Known Member

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    If you consider a donkey, you'd want one that is familiar with goats. I had one given to me because he belonged to an elderly lady who had to go to the nursing home and he did NOT like my goats. He bit half of my buck's tail OFF and took a chunk out of his back. He would not let them near the hay. But he was the gentlest, loving animal to people. When we had to load him in the trailer, we were wary of pushing on his backside, but he never offered to kick or anything. He just didn't like smaller animals.

    Kathy
     
  20. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to consider is cost.

    The initial cost is the first to think of. I am not familiar with the prices on trained guard dogs but I know llamas are dirt cheap right now (I've been trying to sell some). I'm not sure about donkeys or longhorns?

    The feed cost is a consideration--llamas eat pretty much the same things as sheep. Again not sure about donkeys. Dog food is expensive.

    Longevity is another thing to look into, another cost to consider if you are buying guard animals every so-many-years.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to sell you on llamas or against guard dogs. Llamas and donkeys are prey animals and are no match against a pack of canines. They are effective against a single animal--killing them sometimes. If you have a big problem, you probably will have to spend more to save your investment. Just something to consider. I would check with others in your area to see what is working and what isn't.

    Note to Mono in OK: Let the weimaraner pass!! I have one we saved from the pound. I call him stupid dog and some other choice words. His whole life centers around food and getting to the food. He is one of the better hunting dogs we have had though (so I can't get rid of him :confused: ).