PREDATOR AND PEST CONTROL
Dogs and cats serve an essential purposes on the farm. Without them, the wildlife sees the fruit of your labors simply as an all-you-can-eat buffet, and they can easily take your entire crop. Panthers and bears are a problem here, as well as the usual racoons, rabbits, rats, mice and birds. Panthers will take a goat; bears can takes goats, but usually don’t (I had an exception to that rule on my place a few years ago). Without dogs out at night, raccoons will find unsecured chickens and will take a few each night until they are gone. Raccoons and possums will eat fruit, as well as rats. That’s where the cats become a necessity. Rats do major damage to fruit crops here. Finding a huge, bright yellow pineapple hollowed out by rats is majorly disappointing!
Cats are cats, but dogs come is all types. The best for keeping livestock safe are the livestock guardians. I happen to have a shepherd – a Belgian Malinois. Shepherds sound like the best type of dog to be around sheep and goats. However, they were actually bred to drive sheep and goats; in other words, they like to chase them! My dog does well with the goats, however, now that he’s been collar-trained. And…. I’m not sure a livestock guardian would guard the fruit as well as he does!