Our Great Pyrenees have done a great job keeping our pastures free of predators. Before the pups and the electric fence, we were plagued with predator attacks, and I came very close to writing the whole pastured poultry endeavor off and callling it quits. It's hard enough to make a profit, and if you're loosing birds regularly to predators, it's impossible. Old-timers told me it couldn't be done, even the ones who were hippies before hippies were cool. That year we came so close to throwing in the towel that we actually put the remaining flock up on Craigslist for sale.
So a two and a half years later, we're still here, and the two goofballs below play a part in it.
You'll notice in the picture above that Fredo, our male dog, is carrying a chicken. The chicken is dead, and he's doing what comes natural to him. Livestock guardian dogs have the need to "clean up" whenever there's a dead animal around. Sometimes it mean hauling the animal off, or often trying to eat it. This particular chicken was on the floor of the coop last night. I knew she'd be dead by the morning, so I moved her out into a pen in the pasture. Sadly, this morning she was dead as a doornail. I opened up the pen door to remove her, and before I could get in, Alfredo walked straight into the pen, picked the dead hen up, and trotted off. I guess he'd been waiting all night to get rid of the bird. Often, LGDs are blamed undeservedly for killing stock - I've been guilty of it too. But my pup crew has earned my trust.