Monday, April 16, 2007

An accident

Well we lost one of our birds to a "predator" recently. A hen of course! Unfortunately the predator that got her was the big hulking Pyrenees that guards the sheep. We came outside to work and here come Mikey ambling up to the fence with his "toy" in his mouth, looking very pleased with himself of course. "Great fun! by golly" his posture was saying at that moment---until he saw me. I must have had a horrible look on my face because my husband said that as the dogs eyes came up and saw my face that's when he realized what he had done. He had one of those "eyes get big, mouth drops open" moments and dropped the bird promptly. Of course that is when the yelling began. Did he get in trouble. He high tailed it down to a little "rain" shelter I leave in that pasture for the new lambs and crammed himself into it for a number of hours afterwards.
The dead bird was unfortunately a large grown cuckoo maran hen. Bummer. Why is it never the roosters?
The next morning I saw him with another hen pinned down and as soon as I yelled his name----off he ran to sit in the shelter again for a while---I didn't even have to come in the pasture. I guess he decided to punish himself :-)
So....we now know he understands that what he is doing is wrong. We just have to finish breaking him of the "thrill of the chase" part.
Ahh the joys of pet ownership. Or livestock in Mikey's case---because he is more livestock than pet to us. Good dog overall---but a big bad chicken chaser currently.

By the way---no lambs yet! I have ewes that groan when they lay down now. Must be any day soon---the torture of it though.
Hope everyone made it o.k. through all this freaky spring weather.

Speaking of which and just to round out this post: we lost peas, kale, some artichokes, some tomatoes and I am not sure about the asparagus. Hopefully the asparagus roots are big enough to send up some new shoots again. The artichokes should make it---but some lost their tops. The tomatoes that were under wall o waters or doubled up poly spun made it---the others are goners since I didn't have enough to cover all of them. I will buy more poly spun soon since it's much easier for a quick cover than the wall o waters. Freaky spring as I said---and still "unseasonable" here. Odd.


Cheryl said...

I'm sorry to hear about your hen - I hope Mikey breaks himself of that habit soon.
Bummer about the plants, too. It sounds like the spring weather has been crazy all over.

Willa said...

I hear that it is very difficult to break dogs of the chicken killing habit- especially dogs like Pyrees, used to thinking for themselves. I was sort of dreaming about having chickens this summer, and then got a new dog from the shelter who turned out to be part Akita. One of the first things I read about Akitas was that you can give up all dreams of having chickens- "Chickens, ducks and other birds are a meal for an Akita, do not expect the dog to befriend fowl. " So, bummer for me and my chicken dreams! Hope Big Mikey is more tractable. My friend has Pyrees who guard her goats and I haven't heard her complain about the dogs helping themselves to Free Chicken Dinners, but I am not sure how much contact they have with the hens.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Cheryl spring has been crazy all over hasn't it!

Willa--Mikey already seems to be doing fine. He is a very smart dog and isn't a "killer" by any means. Pyrenees are know to "lose" a lamb, goat kid or chicken (or two) when first learning to guard. Luckily--we only lost a chicken and were careful last year when he was young so we didn't lose any lambs. Akitas on the other hand---which we bred years ago---do not generally ever get used to other animals. Temperament as with all things is inherited and worth breeding for---but an Akita is a very dominant dog. Most have to be watched, always, with their "friends": like the family cat or smaller dogs especially with treats, toys or food. Akitas and livestock, except in very rare circumstances---Don't mix. Sorry about your chicken dream. But never say never :-D !

Kate said...

It sounds as if there is never a dull moment on your farm. Mikey probably thought it was great fun chasing a hen - and hopefully he will be broken of that habit (good thing he realises he has done something wrong!)

I was sorry to hear about your veggie losses. This spring has been strange everywhere. Ours didn't arrive until last week and then suddenly, it felt like early summer. Of course, we could have more snow next week.

I will be checking back to see when the lambs have arrived. Good luck with their birthing!! I have added your blog to my links.