Wyoming is a paradise for predators

Wyoming is a dangerous place for livestock. Coyotes hunt in packs and have no trouble taking down a full-grown sheep. Baby calves are especially vulnerable. Hawks hunt chickens by day. Owls hunt them by night. Clever foxes can make off with hens in broad daylight, and raccoons are master burglars.

We can't be around 24/7 to chase off these predators. We both work full time, so even sparing a couple of hours a day is the best we can do.

Stock angry coyote

Enter the livestock guardian dog

Heimdall (HAME-doll) is the gatekeeper of our farm, just as his namesake in the Marvel universe is the gatekeeper of Asgard. We bought Heimdall from a livestock guardian dog (LGD) breeder in Lander Wyoming, back in June. He was born on April 2, 2019. Heimdall is 1/2 Great Pyrenees, 1/4 Maremma, 1/4 Anatolian Shepherd. A giant breed,  Heimdall will be over 100 pounds when fully grown. He already weighed 60 pounds at five months old. He's now over one year old, and roughly as big as a Volkswagen. Don't let the size intimidate you; he's a sweet dog.

Born to defend

Our pup won't be fully effective until he's about two,  but we feel his presence on the farm is already deterring predators. We haven't had predation issues with him around. LGDs have an innate ability to protect livestock. They are usually born on ranches with livestock and live with them from day one. This early bonding ensures the dog's effectiveness. Chickens are a little more challenging to introduce. Because puppies are still puppies and chickens are relatively small, it's easy for the dog to kill a chicken while playing accidentally. We're just introducing him to the chickens slowly, so they lose any "new toy" appeal. Heimdall has good and bad weeks, but he is learning. His other training goes just like any dog breed. Just be sure that the LGD stays with the livestock. Not at your house. With Heimdall holding a vigilant watch, we can rest easy at night.

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