The Goat Spot Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm moving to a new area with my goats (7, alpines and boers) and poultry (chickens and turkeys) and I'm concerned because I've heard that there are a lot of coyotes around the new house. The property is about 3 acres, but most of the time the goats and poultry will be in a pen near the house.

I'd like to get a couple of LGDs, and I've heard good things about Great Pyrenees for guarding both goats and poultry. I found a breeder with 4 month old GP puppies that have been raised around goats, but their parents are not working dogs (their grandparents are), so they have not been field trained. Alternatively, I found someone else who is selling two GP cross dogs that are 1.5 yrs old. Those dogs are guarding goats right now, but their owners think they would probably kill chickens. My question is, does anyone know how hard it would be to train those dogs not to kill chickens? Or if I got the puppies, does it matter that they have not been field trained? Any advice would help! Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,075 Posts
I don't have lgds but have a friend who breeds/raises them. Hers are great pyranees Anatolian mixes and are raised with poultry, rabbits, goats, cows, all working parents...and even then some of her puppies would kill poultry. Personally I would wait for a better pair who have working parents and have been trained and raised with both poultry and goats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info. I just found another person with 8wk old pups that have been raised with sheep and chickens, so they might be a better choice. I was thinking of getting two, but I'm not sure how hard it is to train them since I've never had LGDs before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,075 Posts
From what I understand the first two years are rough and they require a lot of time and training, but after that they're the most valuable members of your farm! Most people I have seen recommend two, one drives predators off and the other stays to protect the herd.

One of my doelings was actually saved by lgd puppies as a one month old. Hee dam left her in the snow and the puppies found her and huddled around her all night, saved her from death. Her ears suffered frostbite but she survived thanks to those puppies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
My almost 10 month old Turkish Shepherd puppy came from non-working parents but the grandparents on both sides were excellent LGDs. I got him at 16 weeks of age and began introducing him to my goats, honestly I don't think he's been any harder to train than a puppy who was raised with stock would be. I don't have my 3 chickens in the same area as the goats so I can't really answer your question about a puppy being safe with them but just know that poultry is the hardest thing to train a dog to be safe with. Don't expect the dog to be completely safe with stock until it's at least 3 years old either, they are still babies or teenagers until then and will make mistakes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
My Great Pyr came from working parents and we got him at 8 weeks. It took some patience and time, but well worth it! We have coyotes and bobcats, and once lost almost an entire flock to them.

Here is what we did - For the first two weeks, he was in the house with us and bonded with us first. A lot of people say don't do this, but it worked out well for us. Then, we moved him to the barn next to goats and baby chicks - all separated but could see each other. We would hold goats or baby chicks and let him smell them, but not bite at them or paw them. We interacted with him a lot too, I wanted to be sure he continued to be bonded with us.

Anyway, for the next few months when he was outside, he was in an area next to everyone, not with them. Then we did probably 4-5 months of supervised visits with the goats and chickens twice a day. When he did chase or nip or paw at anyone, we did the puppy roll (not sure what it's called) but rolled him on his back, held him down and told him no firmly. When he laid down and just watched them and was being "good" he got treats. He was probably almost a year before be settled down enough to trust him unsupervised around everyone. We made a way for the chickens to come and go with openings big enough in their coop for them but not him or the goats (cattle panels worked well for this)

He is 2.5 years now and never killed a chicken. He still chases them some but mostly when they are eating his food or when they are trying to lay eggs in the goat stall (this bothers him for some reason, lol). He is doing a good job - very protective of both the goats and chickens - I have seen him chase the chickens into their coop when a hawk flew over a few times. Our other old dog that we've had before chickens, would kill chickens, but even he can be in the pasture now, the Pyr won't let him hurt them. He is protective of the goats too, when it is dark they stand right next to him until I go down to put everyone up. He is okay with visitors to the barn, he isn't aggressive at all, but makes himself a wall between the goats and the visitors until we hold him, introduce them to him and reassure him they are ok. Only takes a minute then he is about his business.

Last year was a bad year for coyotes, they were coming into yards in broad daylight and many of our neighbors lost pets, but we didn't have any problems, thankfully. Didn't even see one.

So it takes a lot of patience. At this point, we are considering getting a Pyr puppy - now that our other is well trained, and hopefully he can help train this one.

So that was longer than I meant to write, but hope it helps, lol... One thing I will add, they love to bark, and will bark like crazy at night. For this reason, our Pyr has his own stall next to the goats and he goes in there at night. Our goats and chickens are all put up after dark. We give him a rawhide chew every night and he settles right down.

Edited to add one more thing - make sure you have a really good fence!!! He could get over our fence with no problem when he was at that age where he wasn't filled out and wasn't neutered yet and he saw something/someone interesting walk by. We ran a top electric tape around our pasture and that took care of that. He didn't really try to dig under. He hasn't tried to get out since he was neutered and put on weight, he seems very content in his space now.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
I would start with one if you don't have experience training a LGD. I would get one from working parents that have been in the pen with whatever animals you want them to guard and one that's at least 8 weeks but the longer with the parents the better. Don't get a puppy that is mixed with a breed that isn't a livestock guardian breed. We keep any new dogs in a pen inside our goat pen to let everyone get used to each other. Then take him for daily walks around the inside perimeter and to introduce them to the animals. It's best to keep them outside with the animals they are guarding but don't leave them unsupervised. Chickens are harder to train them to guard but just supervise visits and correct any chasing or play behavior
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate it! I've decided to go with 8wk old pure great Pyrenees pups that have been raised with chickens and sheep. My plan is to keep the pups in a chain link pen by the goats and turkeys, but spend a lot of supervised time with them this summer in with the goats. We actually just found out that some of our chickens got salmonella, so we will just have the turkeys for the time being :( I think it might be easier to train the pups for poultry with turkeys anyway, since they are a little tougher and able to hold their own a little better. Still no unsupervised time with them though until the dogs are much older.

I have heard about the barking at night thing with GP. I know that some barking is good, since it helps keep predators away, but I don't want dogs that are just going to bark nonstop all night. Does anyone have experience in curbing unnecessary barking?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,294 Posts
I have 2 Pyrs, well actually had 2. One of my girls died of a sudden heart attack while protecting the house from people walking by the house.

They bark, there is no way to really stop it, that is part of what they have been bred to do for hundreds of years. Personally, I wouldn't try because you will interfere with what their nature tells them to do.

Mine protect the house, the goats, the chickens and the other dogs. However, eggs are fair game!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So sorry to hear about your dog! I've never heard of sudden heart attacks in dogs like that! Do you think she had heart problems to begin with?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
961 Posts
Yep, pyrs bark, they dig, and mine love our goats. I haven't heard a coyote peep since I brought my first one. My second will try to wedge her way in with the goats and Elijah. She's going to be wonderful as well. I love this breed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
I'm not sure about curbing the barking, some nights mine doesn't bark at all others he won't stop. I've found that it's always for a reason though, the neighbors are out at 2am or there's a dog barking in the distance, it's always something to merit a response from him.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top