Making this place into a farm is more akin to starting a farm in the wilderness because of the predator pressure in the area. Except for the 30 or so acres of pasture here, this farm was used as a hunting property and is mostly surrounded by other hunting properties. This means that the protection provided by being in a more traditional farming area where the land is mostly flat and cleared and fenced is nonexistent. Coyotes, grey fox, raccoon, bobcats, feral cats, stray dogs, possum, snakes, hawks and eagles live here in large numbers.
Out of the first 100 chickens I raised, only 68 made it to harvest or laying. This seemed unacceptable to me but I would rather not have chickens than keep them confined. The only solution was a good fence and some Livestock Guardian Dogs. I did some research and chose to get Great Pyrenees because of their size, disposition and local availability.
We kept them in the electronet with the chickens and our predator problem immediately stopped. Even as puppies, nothing would come near. They would occasionally playfully chase the chickens but I have never seen them hurt one. Now that they are older they don't play with the chickens anymore but spend the day sleeping or patrolling. I will go more in depth about the dogs in a separate section.