How Many Guardians?

 

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"How many Guardians do I need?"  is a question that has no absolutely correct answer.  Before you can can begin to know how many guardians will be right for your needs, you must answer the following questions:

Terrain and property questions-

What is my terrain like? Is it flat or hilly? Is there a dense growth of forest or brush? Is it all pasture?  How much acreage is there? Is it isolated or urban?  Is it a farm where I live or property away from the house?

Stock questions-

What kind of stock do I have? How many of them are there? Do I have them penned in separated pastures or all together?  What kinds of predators are they at risk from? 

Predator questions-

What kind of predators are in this area?  How many of them are there? (the answer to this question is not a number but a relative estimate - many, few, some) What kind of predator problems have been common in this area?

Societal questions-

Do I have neighbors? Are they farmers and stock raisers or suburbanites?  How many small stock (as in goats and sheep) operations are close to me?  How many large stock (as in horses and cattle) operations are close to me? Are there current zoning laws which would have an effect on me if I use livestock guardians?

Once you have answered these questions, consider how all of your answers relate to each other.  Consider also the follow general statements:

Large predators and packs of predators generally need multiple guardians to protect your stock.

If your area is fragmented by hills and gullies or has dense forest, you'll need more guardians than if you have flat pasture.

Large areas need more dogs than small areas.

High predator populations will require more LGDs to guard your stock adequately.

Smaller, more vulnerable stock that are farther away need more protection than larger animals that are close.

Relatively densely populated farming areas where most farmers have an LGD will require fewer LGDs on any particular farm.

A single LGD can be distracted by multiple predators.

Two LGDs are never too many but one LGD may be too few.

People who operate in cougar country tend believe they need 4 or 5 dogs in each area where they keep stock.

If you have thought about your answers to the questions and considered the implications of the statements, you have already formed a general answer to the question that seems right to you.  You may want to think about it some more but if you ask others for help in making a decision, you must be able to give all the answers about your situation to whomever you are asking for help.


Dan & Paula Lane
Copyright 2005 [Bountiful Farm]. All rights reserved.

 
 
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