When we think of protecting our hens we rarely think of dogs.
Some of the first defensive strategies to protect your hens from potential predators is often chicken wire, automatic coop doors, secure coops and, sometimes, even a rooster.
However, we know that Roosters are sometimes a little bit noisy and aggressive. Also our secure coops can sometimes be not too secure with the intelligent of ingenious predators such as racoons.
So, who or what can we depend on to keep our hens safe? The answer can lead us to exploring man’s best friend; a DOG!
There is a very specific type of dog which has been bred specifically for this purpose, they are known as livestock guardian dogs. And the best of the best is a Kangal Dog.
Yes, poultry isn’t livestock, however, these dogs have been bred to protect just about anything from poultry, pigs, goats and sheep to cows.
Today we are going to explore what a Kangal dog is and their origin before suggesting how they can be used to protect your poultry.
The Origins of a Kangal Dog
Whilst gaining popularity in the US, for their superb ability as livestock guardian dogs, Kangals actually originated in Turkey.
Kangals were bred from the Sivas region in Turkey by Turkish Shepherds to protect their flock of sheep. These dogs have been bred for hundreds of years with the sole intention of protecting Turkish Sheep from predators (e.g. Wolves and Bears).
Turkish shepherds ensured a strong guardian temperament from their Kangals ensuring they could live with their flock keeping them safe from dawn till dusk, but, especially dusk.
In the late 20th century, farmers and agricultural managers in the US started importing Kangals as they were recognized for their superb guardianship abilities.
Purpose of a Kangal Dog
Kangal dogs most recently have been used to protect many different forms of wildlife in the US. They have been recorded as protecting sheep, goats, cattle, birds, poultry and various forms of livestock.
They work best in packs of two or three and can defend flocks of poultry up to 300 with just two dogs.
Don’t mistake a guardian dog for a herding dog. A typical herding dog (i.e. German Shepherds) will want to work your livestock (i.e. move them). A guardian dog will not herd, move or interact with the livestock unless protecting them.
A Kangal dog’s primary purpose is to defend their flock to the death. A Kangal will undertake this role with little training perfectly. Active patrolling, defense and guardianship are innate to Kangals.
Is a Kangal For You/Your Hens?
Should your rooster fear losing their job?!
So should you get a Kangal to protect your hens and keep your small holding safe from predators?
If you are looking for a strong willed, independent and large dog with a very low prey drive then a Kangal dog is a very good option.
If you are looking for a domesticated dog, who can become a part-time guardian, and integrate well as a family pet then a Kangal is not for you or your herd.