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#66856 - 02/28/06 06:26 PM Looking into Aussies as a farm dog

We are considering an Australian Shepard as a farm/livestock guard dog cool . Would we be able to keep the dog outside with our chickens, and would it fend off predators. Does anyone else have an Australian Shepard and keep it out with their chickens? Also, would it chase the chickens smile ? Right now with all the research that I have done on the breed they sound
really good for us, so long as they don't demolish the flock eek smile

#66857 - 02/28/06 06:46 PM Re: Looking into Aussies as a farm dog
Rob2 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: Pennsylvania
I had a few back in the late 70s. they are tuff dogs, heelers and need some hard training. mine were just too hard on the sheep but great on hogs, which is what I marketed them as, fair on cattle. Mine had a hard time with the chickens, never tusted them totally, if I wasnt near. I liked them , the best I ever had as an all round farm dog just recently died, she was 1/2 beagle, 1/2 Aussie.

#66858 - 02/28/06 07:26 PM Re: Looking into Aussies as a farm dog
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
I got attacked by an Aussie. The dog belonged to our neighbor, and would run across our yard to get to me. Attacked me in front of my mom. Always scared me to death. I will NEVER own an Aussie. They are too untrustworthy for my taste.

#66859 - 02/28/06 08:31 PM Re: Looking into Aussies as a farm dog
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
Guarding is not their specialty, it is working livestock and that takes ENERGY and activity.

You may find an individual that is truly good with chickens, but even the best require training and there would be lots of trauma while a puppy is growing up. Aussies are wonderful working dogs, but for livestock work--not guarding. The example just reported is what can happen when a hyper active dog has to stay in a restricted area--they can--waiting patiently--but only if knowing they will have field work coming up! They are not your ordinary pet yard dog. CJR

#66860 - 02/28/06 08:44 PM Re: Looking into Aussies as a farm dog
Wrancher Girl Offline

Registered: 01/08/06
Posts: 82
Loc: Wisconsin
Hey-my-friend-had-two-of-these-dogs-and-they-killed-some-of-her-chickens!!But-then-she-beat-them-with-the-chickens-they-had-killed-and-said-no!-They-never-did-it-again...I-don't-su ggest-this-as-I-never-would-beat-my-dog-with-a-dead-chicken..Even-when-my-coonhound-got-loose-and-killed-all-of-my-chickens-I-just-gave-him-away-to-a-good-home.The-funny-thing-is-h e-loved-chickens-and-was-good-friends-with-them-until-he-turned-two-and-his-hunting-instinks-kicked-in.The-puppy-coonhound-I-had-loves-chickens-but-only-because-as-soon-as-she-coul d-walk-and-be-away-from-her-mother-4-weeks-old-I-think..She-allways-followed-me-and-fed-the-chickens-with-me..When-she-would-chase-the-chickens-I-could-easly-pick-her-up-and-say-no !But-the-chickens-started-chasing-her-because-she-was-smaller-than-them!!hehe-lol-it-was-kind-of-funny..Now-she-lives-on-my-friends-chicken-farm-and-gets-along-great..I-have-had-do gs-that-showed-no-intrest-in-chickens-and-some-that-would-chase-but-not-hurt-them..So-I-hope-some-of-this-helps..(My-space-bar-isn't-working-right-now-Sorry)!! smile
Stephanie Anne Weyerts

#66861 - 02/28/06 09:47 PM Re: Looking into Aussies as a farm dog
NW Chix Offline

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 93
Loc: Washington
I think they get into trouble doing what they were bred to do--herd--if they don't have any livestock to work. A colleague of mine had to get rid of a pair of Australian Shepherds because they herded a passing jogger, nipping her on the ankles. May not work too well with chickens, but I'm sure there are exceptions as with everything.

#66862 - 02/28/06 10:12 PM Re: Looking into Aussies as a farm dog
Rogo16 Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 439
Loc: Arizona
Do some more research. Working dogs need the job they were bred to do or else they get in trouble.

If you want a livestock guardian for your poultry, get a breed that's been bred for centuries to do that job. Better yet, get a dog from a breeder who raises livestock guardians. The pups grow up with their parents out with the stock. If your stock is different than what the dog was raised with, the breeder will help you to train the dogs to your stock.

Livestock guardians are with the stock 24/7 and not used for other disciplines.

Here's a list of livestock guardian dog breeds:


** If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep
getting what you're getting. **

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to
gain a little security will deserve neither and lose
~Benjamin Franklin


#66863 - 02/28/06 11:59 PM Re: Looking into Aussies as a farm dog
Karen Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/20/02
Posts: 308
Loc: California
I raise Australian shepherds. I've had them since the 70's.

It really depends a lot on the line they come from. The first Aussie's I had in the 70's were very protective. The herding they did was instinctive because I sure didn't know what I was doing! They were wonderful dogs.

Back in the 70's our chickens weren't just "free range", they just plain roomed freely. The dogs never chase them and we never lost any to predators.

None of the Aussie I had ever chased the chickens until I got a show line female in 99. I knew she was untrustworthy and once when I was sick she got out of her yard and killed the sex-link layers, the Araucana bantam can fly pretty well and they were all fine. But then my son has a show line male and heís fine with the chickens.

The Aussie I have now is completely trust worthy, but she did want to chase them when she was young.

Aussies are very smart and you must be the boss.

Livestock guardian dogs as puppies must bond with the animals they are going to guard not to you. This means that you either have to get a pup that's already been bonded with chickens or you have to get a pup thatís young enough and have it live with the chickens so it will bond to them.

Also guardian dogs bark--a lot!! Barking is their first line of defense. I've known people who've gotten rid of them be cause they barked so much and fence fought with the neighbor dogs.

Bottom line is do lots of research. Never leave a puppy or young dog unsupervised with livestock. And last but not least the dog must understand "No" "Come" & "Stay".


#66864 - 03/01/06 12:11 AM Re: Looking into Aussies as a farm dog
Karen Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/20/02
Posts: 308
Loc: California
I had to add a p.s.

Not all lines of aussies are hyper. Personally I can't stand hyper dogs of any breed.

I want a dog that is a couch potato unless and until it has a job to do.


#66865 - 03/01/06 09:07 AM Re: Looking into Aussies as a farm dog
Rhova Offline

Registered: 03/01/06
Posts: 124
Loc: Canada
I have an Aussie as well as several other herding dogs, and I have to say I find him very easy. He's a hard worker, loves to please, and NEVER stops! When you get a dog, you have to remember, you are getting that dog 24/7, for upwards of 14 years, and you have to live with it. I have Tucker (the Aussie) because his family couldn't live with his energy level. They loved him very much, but couldn't deal with him being on the go all the time. For me, he's perfect!

I would never leave a dog out with chickens unsupervised. They may not be out to hurt them, but they are big, and chickens are not. What about another type of animal as a guardian? A friend of mine keeps geese in with her ducks as a safety measure, she rarely loses a duck.

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