Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Guarding sheep and goat herds is going to the dogs

SAN ANGELO -- "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."This oft used nod to the U.S. Postal Service just as easily could describe the work ethic of good livestock guardian dogs, according to Texas A&M AgriLife officials in San Angelo. Personnel from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in San Angelo have completed the publication "Livestock Guardian Dogs." The eight-page reference guide is available at sanangelo.tamu.edu under publications and as a publication on the AgriLife Bookstore at agrilifebookstore.org, publication EWF-028 9/15. The publication complements ongoing field work with the dogs at ranches in Menard and Ozona, managed by AgriLife Research in San Angelo.  "This publication is a guide for sheep and goat farmers and ranchers who are looking at using livestock guardian dogs to protect their sheep and goats from predation," said Reid Redden, AgriLife Extension state sheep and goat specialist at the center. Redden was joined in authoring the work by John Walker, AgriLife Research center director, and John Tomecek, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist. Walker said the large rugged dogs, often topping 100 pounds, have been used for thousands of years for guarding flocks throughout the world. But aside from some interest by U.S. producers in other states, the dogs are a largely untapped resource across much of West Texas, arguably the largest sheep and goat range production region in the nation. The AgriLife staff in San Angelo is working to change that paradigm...more

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