Predators outfoxed by sly sheepdogs – Australia News

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The true story about an eccentric chicken farmer who, with the help of his granddaughter, trains his mischievous dog Oddball to protect a wild penguin sanctuary from fox attacks and in the process tries to reunite his family and save their seaside town.

TOP DOG: Nicole Harris, from Gumview Free Range Eggs, with one of her beloved maremma watchdogs, Fritz.
Picture: Tricia Watkinson.

A DECADE ago, up to 40 chickens a night were being killed by foxes and feral cats on a poultry farm on the Yorke Peninsula — but not now.

Now, the death rate is zero thanks to the watchdog efforts of two Maremma canines who have adopted the birds as their own.

The sheepdogs guard l2 chicken pens at Gumview Free Range Eggs farm, near Paskeville, on constant alert for foxes, cats, Wedge-tailed Eagles and even snakes.

TOP DOG: Nicole Harris, from Gumview Free Range Eggs, with one of her beloved maremma watchdogs, Fritz. 
<b>Picture: </b>Tricia Watkinson.

TOP DOG: Nicole Harris, from Gumview Free Range Eggs, with one of her beloved maremma watchdogs, Fritz.
Picture: Tricia Watkinson.
Source:News Corp Australia

Owners Nicole and Wade Harris recruited the first of their chickens’ guardian dogs six years ago after hearing how as puppies the breed bonds with a variety of animals.

“Once they bond with whatever animal you put them with as pups, then they do a lot of just watching and they are very observant, with a very keen sense of smell, they patrol around a lot at night,” Ms Harris says.

Ms Harris said in 2006 when the farm started with its first free range Hy-line Brown the chickens were easy prey.

But after hearing how the Maremma dogs had protected birds on Kangaroo Island, Ms Harris got their first two puppies, Roxy and Jacques, in 2011.

The pups quickly bonded with their 600 new feathery family members and the business was…

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