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Having to get 3rd LGD for my puny 5 acres!

Discussion in 'Livestock Guardians' started by Ridgetop, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Jun 4, 2018
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    Ok so we had been doing fine with our first Anatolian, Harika. We have had Pyrs for years, but last one died of cancer and we started having coyotes take sheep during the day. We got Harika at 18 months old and we were assured that she would be all we needed for our 5 acres and small flock of about 10 sheep. Everything went well and no more dead sheep. After several years of annual cougar sightings we decided to add a male Toli to assist her if the cougar came in. Rika is a brave and fearless protector but we didn't want to lose her to a cougar attack. Bubba is now 2 years (Harika is 5) and although he is not as fanatic a guardian as she is, he is very good and still learning. 2 is still a puppy for a Toli male. Everything good, no need for more LGDs right?

    After the fires this year we have had about 5 coyote packs, yes packs not individuals, take up residence in our neighborhood. Last month while the dogs were kenneled for 8 hours during the day (workmen on the property) we lost a lamb. Last week the dogs were loose but the sheep were out overnight and we lost another lamb. Rika was bitten in the face - probably got there just in time to chase off the coyotes who had dug under the fence. We figured the coyotes had drawn the dogs off to the other side of the property enabling others to get in and kill the lamb. They were not able to eat it since Rika and Bubba drove them off. We are back to locking up the sheep.

    Does anyone else have this much trouble on a small 5 acre parcel? We do have a deep gully steep brush areas. Fenceline is accessible by predators (not people) on all 4 sides with 100 open acres in the back. Easy access to National Forest lands several miles away too.

    Let me hear from you about your problems with predators. We have never had this much trouble since getting LGDs years ago. I was told to get a third dog so am booking a bitch puppy from same lines as Harika and Bubba.
     
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  2. Jun 4, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Number of dogs is not determined by land size alone but predator threat/attacks as well.
    I do not agree with a 2 year old male not doing his job though. A good dog will be doing his job well before 2. I have never bought into that 2 year old nonsense and never will. By 12 months-14 they should have the power and strength and ability to do the job.
    In our case our males do better with each other. Females on our farm do not go together well. Kinda like the 2 women in the kitchen thing.
     
  3. Jun 4, 2018
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    Oh Bubba is working fine. He takes the night shift most days and Rika goes out with the sheep. He does like to stay closer to the house and gates but can be at Rika's side when she give the alarm almost instantly. On the other hand, he does tend to follow her but then she is THE PERFECT LGD :love so I hate to compare him to her.

    I hear them both at night going from one side of the property to the other and they have been overworked lately. We have gone back to locking up the sheep and after a week of that they seem to be less tired.

    Oops got to take my grandson to the barn, he is 10 and going to halter break a couple lambs for me. Back later.
     
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  4. Jun 4, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 True BYH Addict

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    We have to remember the dogs, coyotes and cugers don't read the fine print about it being only 5 acres and there being more ground a few miles away which they can stomp on. All they see are sheep on grass. I would definitely have thought that 2 LGD's would be enough for 5 acres though, especially if it is fenced and electrified, but you can never have too many LGD's right?:D
     
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  5. Jun 4, 2018
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    OK, back again. Anyway, I am getting 3rd Anatolian this year. At 5 and 2, Rika and Bubba can help train the new pup till she is old enough to do more than help bark. The breeder keeps her working pups with mom and livestock till 16 weeks to ground them in LGD behavior before letting them go to new working homes. The puppy is closely related to both Rika and Bubba out of Erick's dogs. I have had such wonderful results with these dogs that I want to stay with those lines.

    The 2 dogs I have now are very different in attitude and also temperament. Bubba is more aggressive against people but has been calming down more. I have been told by many Toli people that this is a normal difference in attitude between male and female Anatolians. Also, as he goes through his teenagerhood he is learning what is allowable and what is not. Rika is tolerant of people coming into the yard as long as they are with us. Him not so much but getting better since he turned 2.

    When I say that he is not as good as she is, that doesn't mean he is not a good working dog. He loves the sheep, adores lambs, is great with my grandkids, and is protective of the property and flock. My husband thinks because he spends time on the porch between the barn and house, or on the front patio where he has a view over the front slope (where one of our resident coyotes lives), or near the gates that give onto the road, that he is not guarding. Rika sleeps during the day at the top of the gully where she has a view over the back of the property, the gully, and north side. He watches the front of the property, street, and south side. The sheep usually graze down the back slope into the gully. I think that they have divided up the work locations between them. The problem is that we are being hit from 4 sides at once so we just don't have enough coverage. For a while he worked more at night and she worked more during the day but lately
    they haveboth been working 24/7.

    Like I said in another post to someone else, figure out the total $$ value of all your livestock. Your LGDs are each worth at least that much or more. I am willing to pay the price to avoid losing more animals. I just replaced my ram and ewes that died with expensive purebred registered Dorpers since I am changing over to avoid shearing. The meat will be just as good or better for my customers, and I will have breeding stock in a few years for which there is a good market here in southern CA. Instead of losing a $200 lamb I am looking at losing $600 breeding stock each. )

    When you look at the cost of several thousand dollars for a quality LGD from working dogs, then spread it over a 10 year lifetime, the price of the dog is minimal per year compared to the losses. The cost of food and vet care is negligible compared to the cost of annual feed I put into livestock that is killed by predators and then is a dead loss. (Oops a bad pun.

    3rd LGD here we come.
     
  6. Jun 4, 2018
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    Can't really electrify due to topography. We have tried but wires come down in high winds or short out with brush. Too difficult to get into bottom of gully (and back out again) to check wires there. We have run chain link sideways like fabric along bottom of fences to prevent digging under fences. We are now raising the fences to 7' around the perimeter.
     
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  7. Jun 4, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Sorry you're losing animals... Since you seem to have animals out front, and animals out back, and the dogs have to cover both areas simultaneously, I'd say perhaps setting up a better paddock system with rotation might help. All the dogs should be with all the animals, in the same general location, at the same time. Coyotes are smart and will divide and conquer if they can. Since you know you have issues, I'd keep the sheep up close and secured over night with the dogs close to them as well. During the day, I'd be sitting at a high point with a rifle and HOPE that the coyotes decided to make a try. Any time you need to secure the dogs (workmen) the sheep should be secured as well.
     
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  8. Jun 5, 2018
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    Absolutely! We are using the old round pen and have the new ram and the breeding ewes in it for now2 new ewe lambs are penned in the barn temporarily till we can convert the horse corrals. The 6 12 x 24 horse corrals are at the top of the property abut 50 feet from the house. We have to put wire around the bottom since they are 4 bar. I like plastic mesh instead of wire about 3 feet up which will confine lambs as well. I need to get out with DH and DS to put shelters back on. They have been off since high winds 10 years ago flipped the entire line of corrals upside down on the hill. Luckily we removed the horses during the night since high winds could have blown stuff in to spook them and I didn't want any injuries. The horses are 30 years old (one went down last week) and we haven't corralled them in years preferring them to wander on the field. Healthier. So the row of stalls is standing empty and I decided to convert them into night pens for the sheep. It is safer on top of the hill since the predators have to get all the way in over open ground, past the dogs and the mule. We need more pens now since we are converting over to purebred registered Dorpers. We will need to separate some of the lambs instead of simply running them back out with the rest of the flock and will need to have 2 separate breeding herds occasionally.

    Anyway, we need to put the shelters back up and then just use the barn pens for lambing and a creep. My son wants to remove the pipe corrals in the barn and build convertible wooden lambing jugs and creeps. I think we can run electric wire around the exterior fencing on the lamb pens in the barns where there is a border fence with the neighbor. This is the only place where the dogs cannot easily get right to the fence. They have to go through the sheep to get there. An electric wire might protect from coyotes coming in there although we haven't had any trouble there YET. That big barn is about 35 feet from the house. Our danger point is the gully. That is where all the kills but 1 have taken place in the past 7 years (before we got Rika).


    We always brought the sheep in at night to do a count, physical check, and feed once the forage is all gone in the summer. Our hope was with 2 dogs to be able to leave the sheep out 24/7 when forage is high. It looks like that is not going to happen.

    Comments on these plans?
     
  9. Jun 5, 2018
    secuono

    secuono Herd Master

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    Sorry, but what's a "toli"?
     
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  10. Jun 5, 2018
    mysunwolf

    mysunwolf True BYH Addict

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    Short for Anatolian Shepherd.
     
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