Flat Rock Koi Farm is a commercial koi hatchery. We have many different “mud” ponds on the property, some of which are used for growing fry or baby fish for sale. Others are used to hold brood stockfish until they are ready to breed. We also have grow-out ponds for imported fish as well as customers who elect to leave their fish in order for them to grow quickly and improve skin quality and color. All our ponds have one thing in common-predators whether they be winged, slither, swim, – four or two legged.
We employ many means of controlling predation on our farm. We fence, net, string lines, shoot- you name it. It is a constant battle. One of our most effective means of predator control is our five Great Pyrenees dogs–Sadie, Snoobley, Spicious, Chumley and Ludacris. They are radio collared using the invisible fence device. They are free to roam the property and tend to station themselves on the highest point to stand guard. They watch for birds, turtles, raccoons, coyotes, snakes, otters, geese, and any unauthorized human. Their guarding instinct is deeply instilled in them. They will attach themselves to small children and handicapped people that visit the farm and protect them.
Visitors are initially greeted with a very loud warning that this is their territory. Few people step out of the car until we get there. After they are introduced they become one of the pack and get snuzzled profusely. The breed standard says they are “one person dogs.” It is our experience that the one person that has food is “that” person.
The dogs are quite large and very capable of deterring larger predators such as packs of coyotes and wild dogs, but they are very gentle with our six cats and various other animals we have on the farm. One is always watching the farm while the others generally stay with us where we are working. One bark from the alpha female and they all charge to the offense. We have a Japanese maple and bonsai nursery also and the dogs keep the deer at bay there as well.
One of the less desirable aspects of koi farming is the necessity of culling. It is impossible to keep every fish we spawn due to undesirable color or conformation. The Pyrenees have a role in the culling process- they eat the culls- recycling so to say. Culls go into a blue show bowl where they are summarily dispatched. Nothing goes to waste on our farm.
Our dogs are working animals and certainly earn their keep. The females tend to do most of the actual guarding with the males being for backup should they be needed. Very similar to a pack of lions. They also make wonderful pets although they can be a little stubborn.
The summers in Georgia can be hard on them so they tend to stay in the ponds quite a bit. Most people that visit the farm want one when they leave-especially when we have puppies. One word of caution if you decide to acquire a Pyrenees get one from a reputable breeder–they can have very serious health issues such as hip dysplasia. Also ask to see the parents and check their temperament. And remember–they get BIG and grow very fast. If you have questions about the breed please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
**Great Pyrenees Description**
The Great Pyrenees is a capable and imposing guardian, devoted to its family, and somewhat wary of strangers – human or canine. The breed is often used to guard livestock. When not provoked, it is calm, well-mannered, and somewhat serious, courageous, very loyal and obedient. It is gentle and affectionate with those they love, devoted to family even if self-sacrifice is required. It is very gentle with their family and children. It does best with children when it is raised with them from puppyhood, and, if they are not being used as working flock guards, be sure to socialize them well with people, places and noises. It has an independent nature, and may try to dominant an owner who treats the dog as if it is human, becoming stubborn or territorial. Owners need to be firm, but calm, confident and consistent with the dog. Set the rules the dog must follow and stick to them. A serious worker, but very independent. Be patient when training the Great Pyrenees, as it may be slightly difficult. If left alone inside the home without the proper amount of exercise and/or leadership they can become destructive. The Great Pyrenees is good with non-canine animals, and usually loves cats. These dogs do not reach maturity until they are about two years old. Some are not good off the leash and may wander away. (from the breed standard)