One of the hardest parts of raising livestock is when things go wrong, and you lose some of your animals. This happened to us last year when some coyotes killed a significant number of our chickens. Of course, it’s safer to keep chickens and livestock contained in buildings or feedlots, but it’s healthier and generally happier for the animals if they can be raised naturally in the open air with fresh pasture to graze from.
Just as we choose to raise our animals naturally, we prefer to protect our animals naturally as well; that’s why we’re bringing another addition onto the ranch! This week a new Anatolian Shepherd puppy will be welcomed into our family, a breed that has excelled in protecting livestock for thousands of years. We’re excited to see him grow into his role as a livestock guardian, and we’re also looking forward to our animals living without the fear of any attacking predators so that we can continue to provide quality food for your table!
Anatolian Shepherd Dogs
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, you may be surprised to learn that these aren’t like many of the other shepherd dogs out there in the world. Breeds such as the Border Collie or Australian Shepherd are high-energy brainiacs who thrive on following commands and learning tricks; they can run for hours, and have a natural instinct to herd and maneuver groups of animals (or even children, when they get the chance!). In stark contrast, the Anatolian Shepherd is a laid-back giant who doesn’t dominate and order the flock around, as much as becoming the leader of the family. They don’t like to take orders from anyone, but independently make decisions for the protection of those in their care. For this reason, livestock owners can safely leave their trusted Anatolian on guard with the livestock, knowing that if any wild dogs, wolves, or even bears get too close, the guardian will warn the predators and courageously fight if necessary for the safety of the flock.
The ancient Turkish shepherds called them Çoban köpegi (Cho-bawn Ko-pey), which means shepherd’s dog. These dogs survived day and night watching over the herds with very little care from the shepherds. They endured the cold and heat, and have faithfully performed their duty through the centuries up until current times. Modern farmers and ranchers around the world have recognized the value of this breed, and Anatolians are now popular livestock guardians across the United States as well.
We did a lot of research to find the best dog for Rafter W Ranch, and none could quite match the qualities of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. After looking for a reputable breeder, we found a beautiful little (not-so-little) Anatolian boy in Fort Collins; we can’t wait to introduce you to our new puppy when he arrives! Stay tuned for more!