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April 30th, 2014

Yesterday we were gone all day long.  I had to shoot some product photos and Brian was working for a client.  We then had dinner with friends in the evening and didn’t get home until very late.  Generally, days like today meant that we left the animals all cooped up during the day, locked up tightly against predators, but now we have Tara.
chickens 1
She’s our Anatolian Shepherd Dog (ASD for short) that watches over our flock. It’s amazing to watch her work, her natural instincts are to protect the flock and she acts much differently than Lucy, our older lab mix dog. You can tell that everything she does is to keep predators away.  She leaves her scent around the property and is on constant lookout for things that are out of the normal.  You’ll see her sniffing the air frequently, trying to catch the scent of someone out of place.
chickens 2
As a result, we returned home to all the feathered members safely in their open door coops. We counted everyone and closed all the doors and headed in to bed ourselves. We’re certainly happy that she is here helping us. It’s so much more efficient to use animals and their natural instincts to do jobs around the house and gardens. There’s no way we could be watching all the time, thankfully Tara does that for us.

Do you know of any local farms using dogs to protect their animals? 

9 Comments to “Safety”
  1. Laura @ Raise Your Garden on April 30, 2014 at 7:06 am


    Well, I have 2 dachshunds who protect our crops from the deer, does that count at all?

    They more chase the chickens around and play than anything else. More like friends.

    Reply to Laura @ Raise Your Garden's comment

  2. tj on April 30, 2014 at 7:51 am

    …I just had to come out of the woods and say what a cute photo that is of Tara. That look on her face looks as if she is saying, “What you talkin’ ’bout Susy?” (Garry Coleman on Diff’rent Strokes :o)

    …So protecting your flock means she will even protect them against other stray dogs? We have the problem around our place of people buying a few acres to build on and acting as if they bought a 100 acres and they let their dogs run loose. Sadly, I’ve lost several hens to stray dogs running through.

    …I love that second photo too Susy. About how many do you have in your flock now? I’m getting ready to place a chick order for rare and endangered breeds, they should be here in July. :o)

    …Have a great day you two!

    …Peace & blessings. :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

    • Susy on April 30, 2014 at 8:49 am

      She will protect from dogs that are not part of her family. We don’t seem to have that issue since we live so far from all of our neighbors and people are great about keeping their pets contained here.

      Right now I have about 60 or so in my flock. 20 chickens, 11 guineas and a goodly number of ducks (not sure on the specific number of them).

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Amy S on April 30, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Our labs keep deer and coyotes away with them constantly watching and sniffing. Our cats take care of the rabbits which I know is unfortunate but then we don’t have any issues with animals in the garden. Well done Tara!

    Reply to Amy S's comment

  4. whit on April 30, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Almost everyone in our farmers group has a dog but us. Mostly Pyranees. Our raw dairy has two, our dear friend the egg lady has one, and the goat meat producer has one Pyranees and one Lab.

    Unfortunately, it looks like we will be needing a LGD soon. New neighbours just bought 5 acres next to us and their 3 dogs are running loose constantly. Why do people do that? I am a firm believer in giving dogs jobs, but when they aren’t trained, how are they supposed to not become nuisences because of their sheer boredom?

    Reply to whit's comment

  5. DebbieB on April 30, 2014 at 9:54 am

    So proud of you, Tara!

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  6. amy on April 30, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Several….There are several sheep and alpaca farms around here and amongst my friends……all use Pyrenees. We have a shepherd…..who protects all of us humans and our critters alike. We have a gated entrance(metal not anything fancy) keep her in. UPS and FedEx leave our packages on our rock pillars….as she cares not for strangers. She does not bite but she is very threatening looking…..and sounding. She keeps our property threat free.

    Reply to amy's comment

  7. Foy Spicer on April 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    When we lived in Panama one of the few organic/sustainable/well educated farmers I met was raising organic chickens using chicken tractors. Coyotes and wild dogs were a problem in his area so he had a pack of huge, very sweet, mut dogs that he had trained to watch the chickens. Each chicken tractor had a dog house attached to it and in the evenings he would walk around a chain each dog to their own chickens and chicken tractor.

    We also brought back a cat from Panama and he is an amazing hunter. Perhaps a little too good as sometimes he brings down more than just bunnies in the garden and mice in the basement. I’ve seen him take out song birds on a couple occasions and once a tiny little humming bird.

    Reply to Foy Spicer's comment

  8. Nebraska Dave on April 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Susy, our only guard dog was a Poodle/Pekinese mix named John John. He would race out the door when let outside and chase all the rabbits out of the yard. He actually did catch one when the rabbit just stopped and he ran right into it. They both just sat there and looked at each other not knowing what to do next. It was the funniest thing ever. He finally got too old and is not no longer guarding the backyard and the rabbits have their way with the cabbage plants. Well, except for this year. I’m putting up a fence.

    Have a great LGD day. Yea, Tara.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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