Wednesday’s tragic events got me thinking much more seriously about a hawk deterrent for the flock. I have two beautiful Australian Shepherd mixes, who more or less live indoors, so they don’t do much to protect my chickens and ducks. I’m reasonably sure that having them, their scent and droppings in the yard, keeps four legged predators out, but they do absolutely nothing for the hawks.
For over a year – since we picked up little Peep as a week old chick and I met my first one – I’ve thought and planned for how and when to find a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. They’re gorgeous, yes, and mammoth, yes. They’re also known as the guardian of the flock. The woman who hatched Peep lives way out in the country and has myriad chickens, turkeys, guinea, ducks. And three Pyrenees. Beautiful dogs.
I loved on a couple of them the entire time we were there, thinking, how on earth could I have one of these giant dogs in my little back yard? And how do I talk my Hunny into it?
My conclusion was that I’d have to wait until we have a house with more yard. If that ever happens. And more chickens.
Then I began dog blogging. And “met” Clowie. What a lovely pup. I love that Clowie’s mom is telling the training stories. Even more, I’d love to have a Pyrenean. Stubborn and smart. That’s my kinda dog.
My biggest question, though, is can they keep the hawks away? Currently, our six foot fence and the sweet dogs we call ours seem to keep away the coons, opossums armadillo, foxes and coyote. It’s the hawks that the dogs and fence can’t keep out. Yesterday, while I sat next to the coop, Jim, Mary Ann and Ginger foraging for food, a black, silver and white hawk swooped down and landed about ten feet from me. I jumped up, yelling at it, and it flew off. But dang, that thing is fearless. I think it knows I can’t do anything to hurt it.
So will a guardian of the flock be able to keep them away? If not that, then what will?
What I’m reading, essentially, says that if the dog is outside all day, doing his job, the hawks, who watch everything, will see him and know not to mess with that flock. That said, it seems to be a bad idea to have a GP as a pet and still expect it to guard the flock. The dog needs to be outside all the time. And living in a neighborhood, having backyard chickens in the ‘burbs, means no GP (Great Pyrenees). They’re protective when doing their job. If one of my neighbors had a large outdoor dog which barked all the time, I’d be calling the police. Houses are too close together.
So. Back to square one.
Here’s my thought – either build a walk in aviary in the backyard, so I can love on my girls and they’ll have room to roam, or move to the country, have more chickens, and have an indoor dog (Aussies, of course), and a Great Pyrenees outside doing it’s job.
Meanwhile, I sit on a couch in suburbia with a duck on my shoulder, blogging. Grateful that I can blog and that I have a baby duck.
Until I write again …