I’m very happy to feature a guest post on using livestock guardian dogs to protect poultry. This is perhaps the most challenging task we ask of these dogs, since poultry are not their traditional stock.
I’m so pleased that Anna Abney offered to share this useful information with Mother Earth readers. Anna Abney is the founder of the popular Facebook group Learning About LGDs and a professional dog trainer in upstate South Carolina. She also raises laying chickens, meat ducks, meat rabbits, and pack goats as well as working Central Asian Shepherd Dogs.
Livestock Guardian Dogs and Poultry
Many modern homesteaders and farmers are turning to livestock guardian dogs to protect their chickens and ducks and other barnyard fowl. Poultry are particularly vulnerable to predators, which often limits the poultry farmer’s ability to free range her flock. A well-trained, reliable LGD can prevent losses from predators and allow the poultry farmer to achieve a more natural, healthy lifestyle for her birds. However, poultry are not traditional livestock for LGDs to protect so using them with birds presents special challenges. Not every LGD will turn out to be a trustworthy poultry guardian even with the best training and genetics but there are a few things you can do to maximize your chances for success. The first step with any working LGD is to purchase a dog from a reliable breeder with good references who can prove the working heritage of her dogs.