The farmer and I decided a long time ago that if we were going to farm, that we couldn’t farm foolishly. Now that doesn’t mean we haven’t made our fair share of mistakes. Because we certainly have! We like to learn by doing and some times that even means doing it the wrong way.
What we meant and agree’d upon was that any animal we had on the farm that we were spending our hard earned money to buy food for and care for, would need to have a purpose. Of course, we had to grandfather in our at the time old black lab, Bull and our house cat. (Don’t get the farmer going on the cat thing OK?)
So how did we justify getting another dog? And not just one other dog….but two! Well, we really did have a need; and a need that they have successfully filled.
We live in the country and the country has fox, coyotes, hawks, bear, possum, raccoon and an abundance of other wild animals. All of these animals are predators, meaning that they are enticed and intrigued by a meal of chicken, young turkeys and small pigs. A pack of coyotes will even attempt a calf in the right situation. We particularly had an abundance of coyotes and fox. They killed our chickens and some times they even ate them. But most of the time, they just killed them ate a little bit and then left it. What a waste! And what a way to watch our investment of time and money go right out the window.
That’s where our Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD’s) came into play. As I started reading about how other farms protected their investments from predators, it was easy to see that the most successful deterrent was an LGD. A Livestock Guardian Dog is a very complex creature. It is not a Guard Dog, a Herding Dog, a Hunting Dog or a Sporting Dog. It is a working dog and a very serious one at that!
These are a few of the qualities of a LGD.
- They are loyal : more so to their animals, then the owners, although they are wonderfully loving dogs to people.
- They think like no other and have a mind of their own. (Truly because what they do is instinctual and they truly know better then us in regards to predators. No matter how smart we think we are)
- They have a memory like no ones business.
- They look like they are sleeping all of the time, but they are not. They are most always awake and using senses other than sight. (not kidding)
- They are gentle giants: They are big, strong, fast and fearless. They mean business when they are working, but they like nothing more than a good old belly rub when they are “off duty”.
- What ever terrain they can see, is theirs to protect. (This can be a problem: the further they go, the further they can see)
These are just a few of the qualities that a Livestock Guardian Dog has. I’ll dive in a bit deeper into these qualities on separate blog posts. But for now, let me leave you with this.
Don’t get a Livestock Guardian Dog breed (yes, there are several breeds in this category) unless you have a job for them to do AND acreage.
Know that they WILL do their job. You can’t stop them, it is instinctual.
Know that they are worth every amount of time, energy and money that you put into them as they will protect your livestock and flock investments.
If you truly desire to homestead or farm, we would encourage you to make sure every animal has a purpose before you buy or get it. It is easy to fall into the “oh, it’s so cute!” trap and end up with a homestead full of animals you spend a lot of money on and give you nothing back. Talk to others in your area in a similar living situation and see what the “need” really is as apposed to the “want”. Be purposeful with your investments of time and money and make sure everything you do and everything you have, has a purpose.
Be blessed and remember; if you are interested in Livestock Guardian Dogs, please “Follow” us on facebook so you don’t miss out on the next blog. – Staci