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Livestock Guardian Cairn


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It was a long hot summer, and Murphy didn't get much time at our farm.  The weather here in Florida is starting to cool off (mid to upper 80"s), and we needed some extra help.  Murphy to the rescue!

 

Long (long) story short.  We are hatching eggs at home, brooding them here and when they feather out we are taking them to the farm. We are on our second set.  Two days ago hubs put the chicks out in the yard in a little fenced area to stretch out and learn how to be chickens.  He checked on them three time over the course of 30 minutes.  When I got home I walked across the yard to peek at them and a giant hawk flew up out of the pen.  Got hubs and found one dead chick. Thankfully the other 11 were safe.  Yesterday we put them out but hovered like a nervous parent, and knew we needed an extra set of eyes.  

 

Why not Murphy?  He barks at everything.  If there's a tortoise or snake or lizard in the yard he lets us know. He's always looking up for birds flying and squirrels jumping.  So hubs set him out attached with his harness and lead to a 35 pound dumbbell for a couple of hours this afternoon.  He was great!  He barked a couple of times and hubs went over to check.  One time it was a squirrel jumping and the other time he was looking up at the sky - hubs couldn't see anything, but you never know!

 

Going to let the boy guard all the baby chicks from now on!!  And the big chickens when he gets to hang out at the farm this winter.

 

 

Disclosure:  Murphy was never truly alone.  One or both of us were either in the yard or close by.  He was checked on very frequently and HE was never in any danger.  

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I'm a first time chicken owner this year. I thought that things might be a little dicey as far as the dogs were concerned but I had a really nice kennel that the dogs were never, ever going to be using so...what the heck? I brought home three one month old chicks and locked them safely in the dog kennel. Unfortunately I underestimated just how smart chickens really are---yeah, really! Anyway it took one of the chicks about half an hour to figure out how to escape from my super secure chicken coop/kennel. While taking her victory lap around the kennel the escapee spied me, spun around and ran right into my dog. BIG MISTAKE!!! She startled the dog and the dog pounced. And then there were two.

 

That was in May. I bought two chicks to replace the unlucky one (2 just in case of future accidents) and I now have four really nice laying hens.

 

The dogs really could not care less about the hens. The empty kennel is now being used. I have enough fresh eggs to satisfy myself and the dogs. Happy ending!

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Hmmm... I was interested in your mention of a "35 lb. dumbbell" as a tie-out.

I've never seen this type of tie-out mentioned on this site before. Sounds like a practical alternative to a tree for instance, where the leash can get tangled. I assume the weight keeps the dog secure, but still gives him a measure of freedom.

I wonder if there are any drawbacks to using it?

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FEAR THE CAIRN!

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Hmmm... I was interested in your mention of a "35 lb. dumbbell" as a tie-out.

I've never seen this type of tie-out mentioned on this site before. Sounds like a practical alternative to a tree for instance, where the leash can get tangled. I assume the weight keeps the dog secure, but still gives him a measure of freedom.

I wonder if there are any drawbacks to using it?

 

Well, Murphy is kind of a couch potato.  Whenever he's been out, he's either been on a leash or his long, long rope.  We spend a lot of time in our garage and want to include the boy as much as possible without him running away, so a dumbbell does the trick.  He doesn't get tangled up, he can't drag it and hurt himself.  Today was day 2 of his new career path, and he did exceptional!!  

 

I think the only drawback of it would be if the dog isn't checked on or supervised in some sort of manner.  (one does need to replenish their Friday night glass of wine without too much worry)

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I'm a first time chicken owner this year. I thought that things might be a little dicey as far as the dogs were concerned but I had a really nice kennel that the dogs were never, ever going to be using so...what the heck? I brought home three one month old chicks and locked them safely in the dog kennel. Unfortunately I underestimated just how smart chickens really are---yeah, really! Anyway it took one of the chicks about half an hour to figure out how to escape from my super secure chicken coop/kennel. While taking her victory lap around the kennel the escapee spied me, spun around and ran right into my dog. BIG MISTAKE!!! She startled the dog and the dog pounced. And then there were two.

 

That was in May. I bought two chicks to replace the unlucky one (2 just in case of future accidents) and I now have four really nice laying hens.

 

The dogs really could not care less about the hens. The empty kennel is now being used. I have enough fresh eggs to satisfy myself and the dogs. Happy ending!

 

Murphy goes from indifference of the chicks to wanting to lunge at them.  He's weird.  We have incubated all of our chicks at home and brood them for two weeks in the bathroom (I tolerate until they do some Alfred Hitchcock moves and they get the boot to the garage).  We try to handle them frequently and let Murphy smell them and say something that doesn't sound anything remotely like "kill the rat".   He's a terrier through and through, so I will never trust him to be alone with the baby chicks.  

Although...August was a rough month for all of us.  My father in law was very sick - in the hospital and rehab and hospice and back to hospital and rehab - and we were on the go.  Poor Murphy had to spend a LOT of time in his box.  One day in between potty breaks and hospital visits, somehow his kennel didn't get latched properly and we had a bathroom bin full of baby chicks.  All were present and accounted for upon our return home late that night.  Murphy was a good boy!

 

 

PS:  What kind of chickens do you have?

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We live in a household with an interesting combination of predator and prey.  My Cairn children, ages 15, 13 and 13

have generally been respective of my wishes with regard to our bunny, gerbils, hamsters, birds, etc.  If we had an indoor chicken,

they would be part of the family; I think they would get the same consideration.  Actually I think my brood would respect an

outdoor chicken as part of the family.   I dunno.

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Max and Nelly
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Good job Murphy!  I suppose it get a little confusing once in a while with the hunter being a bird and the chicks being birds. :confused1:  "Now which one am I supposed to protect?" 

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Elsie, Max, Meeko & Lori

 

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PS:  What kind of chickens do you have?

I wanted to jump into the shallow end so I got Buff Orpingtons---big, fluffy, golden and very easy going. I've always wanted a Golden Retriever but this is probably as close as I will come. :D

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PS:  What kind of chickens do you have?

I wanted to jump into the shallow end so I got Buff Orpingtons---big, fluffy, golden and very easy going. I've always wanted a Golden Retriever but this is probably as close as I will come. :D

 

 

Buffs are beautiful heritage birds!!  My neighbor has a beautiful group and I'm planning getting some from him later next year.  Currently we have Barred Rocks (a very old blood line), Copper Marans, Delawares, and one lonely Ameraucana (hopefully a hen, but I'm doubting it).  

I have a barnyard mix in the incubator.

 

We'll be adding another line of Ameraucana's in a month or two and Dorkings (old English bird).

 

 

Murphy did another great job this afternoon.  Scared of a gopher tortoise...LOL

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Do you still have goats?  How is Murphy around them?

 

We do!   Today is actually our 1 year anniversary of having them.  We now have 13 - and have more on the way.  Murphy had done well.  He hasn't been out since before summer (too hot for the little guy).  

He'll be out a lot this fall and winter as we spend longer hours and do a little camping.  

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We use weighted objects to slow down and tie out Packy and Kirby when we're at the farm. We don't have a fenced yard yet (working in that) so weights are the next best thing if we want them to be with us outside without leashes. Packy actually does really well with just a Flexi locked out at a long length. It gives a little drag so he feels like he's leashed but let's him move around. That wouldn't work for Kirby though; he'd drag that leash for miles if a squirrel took off in front of him.

Tuesday, you might like a Facebook group that my breeder started for Homesteading, Livestock and Pastoral Dogs. They talk a lot about the chickens they're raising, plus goats and other animals. Oh, and livestock guardian dogs. You can tell them about your Cairn LGD! Good recipes, too! Here's the link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/homesteading.livestock.pastoraldogs/

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Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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We use weighted objects to slow down and tie out Packy and Kirby when we're at the farm. We don't have a fenced yard yet (working in that) so weights are the next best thing if we want them to be with us outside without leashes. Packy actually does really well with just a Flexi locked out at a long length. It gives a little drag so he feels like he's leashed but let's him move around. That wouldn't work for Kirby though; he'd drag that leash for miles if a squirrel took off in front of him.

Tuesday, you might like a Facebook group that my breeder started for Homesteading, Livestock and Pastoral Dogs. They talk a lot about the chickens they're raising, plus goats and other animals. Oh, and livestock guardian dogs. You can tell them about your Cairn LGD! Good recipes, too! Here's the link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/homesteading.livestock.pastoraldogs/

 

Thanks for the link to the group. I'll definitely check it out.  We are considering some type of LGD in the future possibly.

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Ooohh I have wanted chickens but we have a HUGE rate problem around here.  We are close to the water and the rats are everywhere - we have traps etc. but I was told NO CHICKENS...wahhh....

Pepper's Mom

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Ooohh I have wanted chickens but we have a HUGE rate problem around here.  We are close to the water and the rats are everywhere - we have traps etc. but I was told NO CHICKENS...wahhh....

 

That sucks!!!  Good Cairn fun, but not for chickens.

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  • 8 months later...

Just like a Cairn Terrier I've dug up this old thread. 

Last summer I brought home some baby chicks and we immediately got off to a bad start. One of the chicks busted loose and ran right square into The Enforcer, a fatal mistake! Well, actually, The Enforcer was a very mild mannered Toller who was so startled he pounced bringing his full weight down on this crazed little demon racing at him. Being a very reasonable dog it was simple for me to explain to him what he had done wrong and what I expected from him in the future. That much is okay but there was also a less reasonable Cairn Terrier in residence. It took quite awhile with lots of supervision before the Cairn was trusted around the chickens. The Cairn, Griffin, was approaching 14 years old and starting to slow down anyway so that helped, well, that and the only chicken bright enough to figure out how to escape was no longer around. Pretty soon the surviving chickens were big enough that even Griffin decided that they were best ignored. And peace reigned.

A few weeks ago Griffin and I walked out into the yard just in time to see a hawk trying to get away with one of our chickens. The chicken didn't survive the hawk encounter and I'm pretty sure that stock protector dog Griffin didn't even see the hawk. The chicken, by now a tough old bird, went into the pressure cooker and Griffin enjoyed chicken dinner for the next few nights. I had always wanted just three chickens and that is what I now had.

Today I found myself at the local feed store where they made me a deal I couldn't refuse---slightly used Transylvanian Naked Neck chicks for the price of babies. Who in their right mind is going to sell two month old chicks for the price of day old chicks? Well, these were the last two and, boy, are they ugly! Two month old chicks are  kinda dinosaurish looking anyway but Transylvanian Naked Necks are in a league of their own. We're going to have to wait and see what stock protector dog Griffin thinks of these gals. They're already as tall as he is and have an evil vulture look about 'em. We'll see.  

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Ha!   We used to have Turkens (AKA naked necks) and they were funny looking things.  I have no doubt that Packy and Kirby would chase any fowl if given the chance.  Packy chased one of our peacocks just last month,  then pulled up and trotted proudly back after the peacock flew up to the roof of the barn.  He may be sick but he's still a Cairn!

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Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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Naked neck or any other wouldn't stand a chance with guardian Angus around for sure! I've never been able to teach him not to chase and kill if he can. Now my Golden, that I used to have, was like your Toller mattoleriver. She scooped up one of our chickens live when she was a pup. She just needed a brief chat to understand that birds were to be allowed to walk around till dead - then she might bring one to me:)

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By the time Elsie would get done with these new chicks, they would have more than a naked neck. :P  Chickens are fun to have - good luck. 

Elsie, Max, Meeko & Lori

 

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