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1 year ago

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I want to build a building to confine approximately 40 lambs at night, weaning through market, for protection from predators. They would be loose during the day. I cant find any square footage requirements for such a set up. Any suggestions or ideas where to look for this info? I can find figures for feedlots, confinement etc. Thanks for any help

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-10-05 05:50:11 (CST)

Steve, since your lambs will be out during the day, you can get by with 8 to 9 square feet per lamb. I wouldn't go closer than that, unless you will shear them. You could gain a little more room that way, but be very careful, overcrowding causes problems all on its own.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-10-07 14:58:53 (CST)

Steve, for simple night-time use, I would use only enough space for them to comfortably lie down as they grow.

That being said, have you considered getting a guardian dog? We use them on our farm, which has MANY predators. Between this farm and our last, we have been in territory containing everything--bear, wolves, coyote, fox, cougar, raccoon, birds of prey, etc. A good livestock guardian is worth more than you could ever pay for one!! Our chicken coop doesn't even have end walls on it now, as the birds remain safe thanks to the dogs. Outside our fence, we see signs of predators on a regular basis, but inside the fence is the dog's territory, and predators respect that. A little extra effort on decent fencing now can save you a ton of expense and grief in the future. During kidding season or piglet season--times of year that are ripe for predators, we simply assign a dog or two to that paddock until the babies are a bit older. Just a thought.

Here's a terrible photo taken in dim light through a partially-peeled back roof of one of our sow nests. The sow had recently farrowed during late winter--a time of heavy predator load around here. When the sow would leave the nest to go eat, this dog would often go in and curl up with the pigs. How she always knew to get out before the sow returned is beyond me, but she always made it out in time.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Bill F says 2017-10-08 19:03:27 (CST)

I agree with Redgate that a livestock guardian dog Is the best way to go. I raise sheep in northwest Pennsylvania In the surrounded by 1,800 acres of gamelands that is prime habit for bears, coyotes, bobcats, stray dogs and now fishers and eagles. I have a Great Pyrenees that is very protective of all the livestock on the farm and also any thing that he considers to be his property. That's including grandkids, wife and myself.

When other livestock farms in this area are loosing lambs and calves that don't have LGD every year, we that have dogs in this area have not lost any as of now. You can not ask for a better feeling at night then knowing your pasture is being patrolled by your LGD.


1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-10-11 18:38:50 (CST)

Steve, I will also say that if you are looking for protection for your sheep a LGD is a good choice. I recently bought a donkey for this purpose. He is working out very well so far.
I understood your question to be about spacing when housing the growing lambs so I answered it to the best of my knowledge. I hope that you have gotten the answers that you seek. Let us know how things work out for you.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

steve says 2017-10-12 13:32:04 (CST)

thanks for all the ideas. I have been researching various guard animals ( llama, donkey, great Pyrenees) and their different pros and cons. Thanks again for any and all suggestions.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-10-13 13:06:31 (CST)

When we started, we focused on solid fencing and electric wire. It was impressive to see a fox climb straight up a 6 foot fence! Hot wire works, but you have to be consistent, and it’s next to worthless in a snowy winter.

We had friends with llamas for goats, and the llamas were ok, but not great. Predators got past them easy enough, and a pack of wolves, coydogs, or a cougar could easily take out a llama. Even more so for raisers who tried mini Donkeys or alpacas.

Next we tried standard donkeys. These were ok, too. They were easy maintenance since they ate hay with the stock and drank out of the trough. Little extra was needed....until baby season. The kids (goats in our case) were viewed as intruders and were often chased or stomped until the donkey decided to tolerate them. Fellow raisers separated their donkeys (and sometimes llamas) during baby season for this reason. Of course, with the lambs and kids being most vulnerable to predation, that wasn’t an answer. Likewise, we had an issue with fox taking our chickens. The donkey would chase down any fox that came into her section of the pasture, but couldn’t care less if the fox took a chicken from the other sections. Donkeys are territorial than “protectors.”

We finally broke down and got dogs. A good LGD will not just protect a territory but will bond with the stock and protect the individuals. They sense the weakest and protect them too. Although you need to keep an eye on things during lambing season to ensure the dog doesn’t protect a lamb from its mother (this can be trained in early years, though only a handful of dogs have this issue). Our dogs are truly amazing. Granted an LGD has to be trained to poultry more so than to hoof stock, which they take to pretty naturally, but they will protect anything you assign them with minimal direction.

Just use caution when purchasing a dog. Don’t just buy a cheap pup off an Internet ad. Look for clues like proven parentage, working genetics, health testing, etc to find good breeders. Look for breeders with dog doing what you need the dog to do. Look for a breeder/seller who will allow you to follow up with any questions as it can take some time to adapt to these dogs....they are not like your average pet least not a good one. There was a RH article in June/July 2015 edition that I wrote about dogs, with all sorts of tips to help you get started to improve chances of success.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

steve says 2017-12-05 13:54:03 (CST)

I appreciate the suggestions, Redgate, but I am worried about keeping a Pyrenees contained. From my research I understand they are prone to roam until they get some age on them. My pasture has a few creeks running through it and I am concerned about being able to keep my flood gates "dog tight". As I have never had one, maybe I have been misinformed. The Pyrenees was my first choice but I cant get past this concern.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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