Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Never Bring A Goat To A Dog Fight

This is my every morning. I let the dogs out to roam around, hunt varmints, bark at the neighbors dogs, and get all their wiggles out. One of the ways they do this is to play. First let's get this out right now - they are not fighting. This is what it looks like when big dogs play.

See why I'm always saying to never let your dog play with your goats? Look at my Kai, our little princess. We call her Wiggles - anybody want a piece of her? I didn't think so.

You might be wondering where Lucky is in this brawl? Well he's standing beside me while I was taking these happy snaps.

Since Lucky is the low man on the dog pack totem pole he'd be the one getting pinned by the rest of them. But Zander loves this kind of play so he's happy to get the take down.

To be sure this game is as rough as it looks. I can hear the "thud" when they all tackle The Bubby and bring him down.

But he loves it and gets right back up and starts the chase again. It normally starts with this kind of "clash of the curly tailed bear killers."

See how powerful Kai's back legs are? She uses her whole body weight and can easily knock Zander off his feet. And she's our littlest dog!

I'm showing these pics as a reminder to supervise your dogs around your livestock. When you aren't looking your Mr. Woofywoof acts like this. And he really wants to kill your goats. All of them. It doensn't matter how your dog acts when you are standing there watching him. Given the chance he will be very happy to unleash his inner wolf and take out a flock of chickens, your favorite duck, or your goats. Or your neighbor's flocks. You have to supervise your dogs. At all times. Always.

I read a post from a distraught woman who asked on a forum why her normally good dog killed her chickens. Because that's what they do, that's why. It isn't nefarious.  Dog are predators. Your flocks are prey. Left unsupervised it ends with your dog on a rampage much like these guys.

But your chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, or goats are no match for even a smallish or mediums sized dog. Your dog may not even know that your flocks are a food source - he probably just thinks they are fun. They smell like poop and run and flap when chased, what could be better for a dog?

Imagine your favorite little goaty-woaty pippin' and poppin' around as cute as can be....then insert her into one of the pictures above. It's not even a fair fight. Even that big buck of yours doesn't stand a chance against one determined big dog or 2 medium sized dogs working together.

If you're lucky your dog may not have a high prey drive, or even better you've got a Livestock Guardian Dog who is hardwired to guard flocks.  But unless your LGD knows that he's supposed to guard those specific chickens, for heavens sakes don't just bring him home and pen him up with your flocks. It will go badly for everyone and you'll stand there wondering what happened.

I'm reiterating this point because lately I've been hearing that folks have had flock losses due to dogs. Not roaming around strange dogs - but their own dogs. Anecdotally I'll tell you the biggest threat to your flocks are dogs. Sometimes it's your dog.

What's the solution? Supervision. Fences. Keep your chickens and goats and your dogs separated by fences and not good intentions.  Take a good look at how dogs play. Then go and get your fences set up.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Is anyone getting the big snow? Not us...not yet.


David said...

Good reminder. It smells like snow up here. Nothing till tonight though.

freemotion said...

Wow, they are so gorgeous, aren't they? Impressive!

People have gotten away from knowing the power of their dogs, haven't they? And their true natures. A chicken is so much more exciting than a tennis ball or a frisbee!

I'd like to add that chicken wire/netting is useful ONLY for keeping chicken in or away from each other. There its usefulness ends. When building a fence, whether it will keep your critters in is your second consideration. Your first is keeping predators out.

buddeshepherd said...

I live quite close to my brother. They have a black dog of indeterminate heritage we have a Great Dane/boxer mix.
When brother's family's chickens got out the dogs would kill them once in a while. The dogs also love to chase cats.
However, after some explaining to the dogs, they no longer chase chickens, or cats which they (the dogs) think belong to us.
These dogs chase anything that will fly or run. They also tend to eat what they catch. (It was actually harder to get them to stop chasing bicyclists. Took 20,000 volts)
I am completely amazed that the two of them seem to realize what belongs to us and what does not.
There have been some relapses with the cats but not with the now-free-range chickens.
Not that I would push my luck...

Chai Chai said...

LGD's and Border Collies!

I see the playing, but if it got serious is Titan still "Top Dog"?

Chai Chai said...

I forgot to mention that I used your Amazon portal yesterday to get the relatives a few gifts. It didn't hut me a bit!

You may appreciate the purchase, most of our family thinks we are crazy already anyhow.


The Commander has some relatives at Pebble Beach - imagine the shock this will cause!

Unknown said...

oh I love watching them play. Unfortunately Chez didn't have lots of big dogs to play with when she was young, and Chime did, so Chez can't work out why Chime keeps jumping on her. Chez just licks other dogs on the nose, don't know where she got that from, she also tries to lick the cattle. She did used to have a rooster who "played chicken" with her (both running at each other and then turning away at the last moment), but after we killed him, none of the other chickens knew the game and a few got eaten before we figured out what was going on. They are too old now, the chickens are safe, even the one that lays eggs on the dog bed....but you're right, when the chickens were getting killed, we said, well that's just doggy nature and its our fault for not separating prey from hunter.

Anonymous said...

Which is why stray dogs are shot on sight here. Period. If it's gotten that far away from its owner, they're not watching it. It doesn't get the chance to become 'my' problem.

Merry Christmas!


Debi said...

I just wanted to say, that I love all your dog pictures. Kai looks so much like our lab/shepherd mix that is named Icy. He is so sweet and gentle until I am by myself and then he turns into my bodyguard. He is a momma's boy for sure.


Ohiofarmgirl said...

Yep. Dogs will be dogs for sure, Dave.

Chickens are so exciting - its the flapping. Dog just love it and will tear thru just about anything to get to them.

Great work BShep!Sounds like those dogs know what is and is not off limits. We teach our dogs "thats mine."

CC - Ti will probably be overtaken by Zander at some point. But he'll always be my #1! And thank you for your purchases!!!!

Great thoughts, Farmer Liz - and a great attitude. Some folks are too quick to blame the wrong end of the leash.

Aint that right, BR!

Thanks Debi! Great to have you here!

Anonymous said...

My cousins dog got out of his pen and killed a neighbors sheep

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