Local Farmers Use Voyce to Ensure Their Livestock Guardian Dogs Get Enough Rest
By: Andrea Brownstein, LVT
Lindsay and Carl Swan, along with their two daughters, run Cygnet Hollow Farm in Central Virginia. The entire family works together to maintain this working farm that includes horses, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, dogs, cats and fiber animals (sheep and alpacas). The Swans could not do it without the help of Andorra and Navarre, their Livestock Guardian Dogs, or LGDs.
Any farmer can attest to natural predators being a huge problem when raising animals. Foxes and coyotes seem to be able to get around all types of fencing and no matter how alert the farmer, there is just no way to keep a 24 hour vigil. Enter the LGDs. These dogs are specifically bred to be gentle enough to be trusted alone with newborn ducklings, yet strong enough to take on predators.
Two LGDs have been known to handle packs of 15 and more coyotes without losing a single member of their flock. The Swans have always been amazed at how instinctively Andorra (their first LGD) works. She wants to protect her flocks at all times. They wondered if the extra stress of always being on duty meant Andorra was getting enough quality rest to be as alert as she needed to be, even after adding their second LGD, Navarre to help her out.
As soon as Lindsay and Carl learned about Voyce being able to track activity and rest patterns, they could not wait to get one on Andorra! Being attentive owners who not only love their dogs like family, but also depend on them to protect their livelihood, any information about their wellbeing is vital. The data they gleaned from Voyce has been invaluable to them and Andorra.
Lindsay said: “We overestimated how much uninterrupted sleep Andorra was getting. Her Voyce data showed her activity level greatly increased after nap/recharge times, and waned to less and less which was a little worrisome! Armed with this previously unknown data, we have been able to increase our dog’s quality of life and ability to work all night, by increasing her time off duty for rest. Although she looked like she was sleeping enough during the day, she clearly needs more down time away from her responsibilities in order to have the energy to keep the predators away every night. I look forward to watching her long term trends so we can spot any other health issues that Andorra may be hiding from us.”
All of us in the Voyce office are so happy that the Voyce Health Monitor has helped the Swans understand Andorra and her needs, so she may excel at her important job of protecting her livestock!