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Friday, March 11 2016

I'm on several Livestock Guardian Dog lists and a question I see regularly is this:

"Will a LGD protect my chickens from hawks?"

Yes! Yes! Yes!  When Briar was just a year old, my mother witnessed her saving chickens from two separate hawk attacks. How many others did she save when no one was looking?

Livestock Guardian Dogs are just that, guard dogs. Briar was not imprinted on chickens, she was there to protect the sheep, but a dog knows what does and does not belong in the barnyard. Hawks don't belong. Once a Livestock Guardian Dog knows what 'normal' is, then he can defend against the abnormal, and they do look high and low when they patrol.

I shot these pictures yesterday as The Boyz were on duty. Note how they put themselves above the flock to supervise.

I would not even have noticed the vultures if not for the dogs.  Several were perched in a tree at the end of the driveway. One circled above.

  Judge checks out the ones in the tree while Jury watches the one in the air.

No one is lambing or kidding now, so I'm not too worried about the vultures at the moments. We haven't had a problem with our birds, but in other parts of Texas and across the country, black vultures are becoming notorious for killing calves, lambs, and kids during birth. They descend upon the birthing mother and kill the baby immediately or peck its eyes out. Ranchers have found calves with no eyes staggering around the pasture. A friend of ours  in central Texas lost a calf to vultures last year, so like Jury, we keep a wary eye on them.

But on this day the bird was just cruising the friendly skies. Without the dogs I would worry about the lambs. They're still little and while some of them are small enough to be taken by a predatory bird, they are more likely to be pinched by an opportunistic coyote or bobcat. For that reason, I always turn the boys out to patrol prior to releasing the lambs.

After all, a free meal isn't really free around here.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 07:44 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Do Judge and Jury ever object to the border Collies moving the sheep for you?
Posted by Andrea on 03/11/2016 - 03:16 PM
No, I generally put them up so they don't distract Mesa, but it's one of the reasons why I let the dogs interact with each other. Judge was quick to "politely" shove Dillon away from a lamb when he was getting too excited. Briar has grabbed Trace by the tail to slow him down before, but it's all in fun. Briar does not like Lily though and has snatched her up before.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 03/11/2016 - 04:10 PM

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