Our pasture based operation would not be possible without our Livestock Guardians. Our dogs are immersed in the flock from day one. They spend their life bonded to our livestock, protecting them from both ground and aerial threats. Our guardians, Berganza and Magnolia work as a team to defend our farm from stray dogs, hawks, owls, fox and coyote. They use their impressive bark to warn predators who are encroaching on their territory. They rarely need to take it any further.
It is important to us that we exist peacefully amongst the wildlife and owning a team of guardians allows us that. Historically, farmers have been at odds with predators and are responsible, in part, for their dwindling numbers. Berganza and Magnolia bring us peace of mind and have proven themselves capable of keeping a close eye on everything.
If you would like to read more about the important role predators play in its ecosystem, check out Predator Defense.
Berganza, our male Great Pyrenees, came to us at 13 weeks and moved right in with our laying hens. It was Winter and the predators had found our flock. By the age of 4 months he had found his voice and kept fox, stray dogs and hawks away from our birds. He has always been fantastic with poultry, which is not the case with all LGD. We have discovered him huddled around injured birds. He is a gentle giant when it comes to handling his charges. Wary of strangers and intolerant of predators.
It's a beautiful sight to see him do his job!
It has always been our intention to have a minimum of two guardian dogs on the farm. Both the dogs and their charges are safest when guardian dogs can act as a team. When a threat enters the pasture one dog will round up the livestock and keep them safe while the second dog challenges the threat. These traits are not taught, they are ingrained in the breed as a result of over 2,000 years of selective breeding.
Not all guardian dogs are equal. Due to poor breeding practices some puppies don't display strong guardian instincts, some chasing and even killing livestock. That behavior is not tolerated on our farm. We began our search for a second guardian and decided we wouldn't settle for just any pup.
Magnolia is everything we wanted and more! She comes from a long line of proven livestock guardian dogs. The pups stayed with the adult dogs until the age of 12 weeks, plenty of time to learn good behavior from her parents. Magnolia is proof that genetics matter when it comes to choosing a guardian dog. Watching her grow into her role on the farm has been wonderful. She and Berganza are an invaluable addition to Deep Mountain Farm.