Brandy and Emmy Roo.
Once you leave my immediate yard, there is brush, woods and old overgrown fields in every direction. It is basically the wild west beyond 50 feet from my front door. There are coyotes, racoon, opossum, bobcat, wild boar (feral hogs), snakes and rodents abundant, yet , my flock free ranges every day from about an hour before daylight until they put themselves to bed a half hour before sunset. I do not lock them in by closing the gate at night and well before daylight they will make their way out of the enclosure and scatter around the yard,, chattering and squawking in little groups waiting for enough light to feed by. Quite often an egg will be laid in the dark and the resulting cackle will be taken up by the entire flock ruining any further chance for me to sleep.
All of this free range lifestyle is only made possible by my 2 dogs Emmy Roo and Brandy. They were both dumped or abandoned as pups and I adopted them. Emmy Roo will be 2 sometime around late August this year and Brandy will be 6 about December. They weren't bred for guarding livestock or anything else in particular to my knowledge, but what they do have is the experience of living with me pretty much 24/7since they were pups. Brandy showed up early spring 2011, about 10-12 weeks old, starving, feverish and riddled with ticks. It was just she ,my old dog Buddy (since passed) and I sharing a meager existence together including meals and about everything else except bedding. Me being medically retired and living isolated in the country enabled the 3 of us to spend most of our time together and I suppose it created a relationship really special between the 3 of us.
Buddy was a Min Pin/Chihuahua mix I had taken in a couple years earlier. He was already elderly yet still spry. He loved to travel in the truck and we would all pile in and go to the lake. Buddy and Brandy would take off exploring and hunting while I fished. Buddy being an old town dog wasn't much on game but Brandy had a knack and would catch rabbits sitting and just grab them as well as about any other type rodent. I always encouraged my dogs to be dogs and do dog things. This is important and germane to the story of protecting chickens and having a happy well balanced dog to start with. If you asked Brandy to sit, lay down, speak or roll over she wouldn't have a clue although for a dog she has a huge vocabulary. However, she understands "stay" because there is a use for it, namely for her safety and she is trained to the leash so we can go to the vet etc. You can ask her if she is hungry and she will answer in her dog way, ears pointed forward means yes, ears back or head turned away from me is no. I can ask her where Emmy is and she will instantly point her nose in the direction she thinks Emmy is. She knows the names of lots of foods including chicken, pork chops, cheeseburger, milk, cookies and McDonalds. She is fond of spaghetti w/meatballs, pizza and any cut of beef especially grilled or roasted. She will leave the room and often go outside at the first utterance of any curse word even muttered quietly under your breath.
To be continued.
Edited by BlackBriars - 4/21/16 at 7:12pm
Emmy Roo and chicks.