A frequent question is how many dogs does it take to guard the flock. People usually want to think in terms of dogs per hundred sheep, or number of dogs per unit of land. I've always thought it is the number and size of predators that matters. Tonight I have 9 LGDs all fully employed in 9 different directions! I rather suspect it is more than one animal. My neighbor called at midnight to report she heard wolves howling and coyotes howling. Hard to believe she would hear both at the same time. (could be some of my LGDs were howling and she did not recognize it as a dog) BUT I did find a sample of hair, ligt grey underfur and darker grey aguti guard hairs (i.e. unlike the reddish color of coyotes) on a barb wire 20 inches off the ground. Unfortunately that height overlaps both species so is not by itself indicative. A little snow would sure help tell the story!
I bring this up to point out, that in wolf country you can go from 0 to a dozen predators overnight. this is the cost of wolves...having to be prepared for a large pack 365 days a year, because you never know when a pack will move in. The DNR seems to believe they have no responsibility to warn farmers in MN, even though the practice in the Rockies is to notify ranchers of the potential risk. Part of this is the fact that the wolves in the Rockies have special status, that is far more money is spent keeping track of them, because the public has a romantic connection with wolves in the 'wild west' where as here in Mn the average joe public is flabberghast to learn there are wolves in a place as unromantic as Hinckley MN. It is very likely the DNR is completely unaware that this pack exists or where it is at.
Ah well, I can go to sleep. The dogs have it covered. Now if I can convince the neighbor all is well so she does not call me again at midnight....
Discussion of the training, use, and management of guard dogs, guard llamas, guard donkeys, guard goldfish, etc.
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