My daughter and her family recently took my wife and me on a tour of an all natural sustainable farm in Taylor, Texas. http://www.freshpasturefarm.com/
The purpose was to take a look at the livestock they raise and how they were all naturally fed and then processed for food. My family are big meat eaters and have decided to try and eat more natural meats with less hormones, drugs and chemicals used in raising them. This will result in healthier food as we are what we eat and apparently I must have consumed some pretty bad stuff in the past. That is all well and good but not what I really got out of the tour. Being an animal person I immediately took to the Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) on the place. I found out that the dogs on the farm protect the poultry, goats and other animals from predators. Not only from predators like coyotes, bobcats, coons, feral dogs, feral cats and skunks but also from hawks and owls. Since I am a falconer it simply amazed me that those dogs could protect fields or fenced paddocks of free roaming baby goats, lambs and turkey poults along with broiler and layer chickens from raptors that attack from the air. The proof was that the number of losses to raptors had become non-existent since the farm obtained the Great Pyrenees LGDs. Anyway I spent most of my time walking around with one of the very large white Great Pyrenees and became infatuated with the animal and the concept of livestock guardian dogs. This concept is quite different from trying to eliminate a predator after it has killed livestock. It occurred to me that proper predator control along with the use of LGDs would work quite well in our part of Texas.
When I returned home I spent some time on the World Wide Web and came across many breeds that are used in this capacity. I did a little research and found a book that I will recommend if you are interested in learning about using LGDs and other livestock guardian animals like donkeys and llamas. Livestock Guardians by Janet Vorwald Dohner is a very informative read. Most of these breeds originated in European and Mediterranean countries. Some came from high mountainous areas and some from deserts. Most of them came from countries where shepherds took their flocks to different areas to graze the fresh grasses and they were bred to defend flocks of sheep and goats from predators such as bears, lions, wolves and even eagles. Some breeds live with the livestock they guard 24 hours a day 365 days a year while others live with the flocks for a certain season, then live with the shepherds and their families the rest of the year. Since we are planning to move to the country in the future and raise Boer goats, grass fed beef and possibly free range chickens. I decided to put a lot more study into breeds along with the pluses and minuses of each. There are a few breeds I have come to believe will fit into our future and so I am watching for a deal on the proper pup. The following are the breeds I have decided would possibly fill our needs.
I am hoping that some of you out there that know about Livestock Guardian Dogs would post some of your stories or advice on LGDs in the comments below. If you run across a good deal on a pup of any of these breeds or perhaps one needing a good home in the Central Texas area please send me an email and let me know about them.
You can email me anytime by clicking on the [Email Wild Ed] just under my picture in the top left hand section of this page. Keep an eye out, Wild Ed