10-8-10

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Someone asked what Georgie guards.


George (back) and his sister Gracie are Great Pyrenees. They’re Livestock Guardian Dogs, and they guard…


the pigs (before you ask, the pigs are not pets. Yes, we eat them. Well, WE don’t eat them all, we usually sell them to friends, family, coworkers, whoever’s interested in buying a half pig or a whole one, and keep half a pig for our own consumption. We are not vegetarians. We don’t process the pigs ourselves, we take them to a butcher to be processed.)…


..and the chickens! (But mostly the chickens. They can’t actually get into the pig yard, but they’re there to run off any predators who might come sniffing around the pigs.)

Some history – we moved our chickens out to the back forty (not really forty acres, that’s just what we call the three acre field at the back of our property) in the Fall of 2008. And then we started losing chickens, at the rate of about one a week. We discussed ways to protect the chickens. Fred was in favor of getting a donkey, but I thought dogs would be a better choice. Fred researched Great Pyr rescues, and found a few possibilities, but the problem was that first of all, they wanted $500 per dog and we couldn’t justify spending $1,000 on dogs to protect chickens that had cost $2 each. Second, none of the rescues wanted to adopt out Great Pyrs to act as livestock guardians, they were adopting them out as pets only. We happened across an ad in one of those free supermarket papers, and a week later, we brought George and Gracie home.

GeorgeGracie01

They were four months old, they’d been around chickens, and they were super friendly puppies. A few days after we got them, I was out in the chicken yard gathering eggs, and someone stopped by. I didn’t hear him until he approached the fence of the chicken yard, and then I was startled to see him. When I jumped and said “Oh!”, George and Gracie reacted immediately. They put themselves between me and the guy at the fence, and barked their heads off at him. It appears that we’d found our protectors.

It took a while longer for them to bond with their flock, but they did. They live out in the chicken yard with the chickens, they’re always happy to see me coming (though that might very well be because I usually have a snack for them!) and they’re very happy pups.

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Climbing into my lap so he can bat at my hand and bite me seems to be just about Hutch’s favorite thing to do.


“HEY! HI! WHAT YOU DOIN’ OVER THERE?!”


Starsky, mildly floofed.

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Coltrane is curious if it might be snackin’ time.

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Previously
2009: “How YOU doin’?”
2008: I swear that every time a foster cat’s stay with us draws near to a close, they get unbearably cuter and sweeter.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.

Comments

Comments

10-8-10 — 13 Comments

  1. Goodness gracious, Robyn! Even your pigs and chickens are cute! How do you do it?

    Also, it’s great to see S&H are so happy and healthy.

  2. Doodle Bean, I was thinking the same thing…and that I could never kill one of those cute little pigs!!!!

    Hutch has cute little armpits! LOL

  3. The pink noses and paw pads plus the round fluffy bellies are taking their cuteness toll on me.

  4. So glad the S and H are doing well. It’s hard to imagine what happened to them before the rescue just looking at these pictures. They look so happy and healthy now. I would love to feature their story on my blog today. You guys are truly inspiring.

  5. Beautiful dogs!!! And beautiful pigs!! And beautiful chickens!! Awwwwwww!! It’s like my dream home!!!! LOL!

    Oh but look at gorgeous Starsky and Hutch and Coltrane = all so adorable! πŸ™‚

    Take care
    x

  6. Doodle Bean, we don’t allow any animal who isn’t cute on the property. It’s simply not allowed! πŸ™‚

    Love Meow: We would be honored!

  7. I’ve already told my husband that we will NOT be having a dog on our property who won’t be a pet…. I’m too much of a dog person to have livestock guardians. But I do applaud people who can keep them healthy and happy and loved while still letting them do their jobs.

  8. Wow I had no idea you had all that farm stuff going on at your place – I mean I knew about the chickens, but I just kinda went with you being one of those crazy chicken ladies πŸ™‚ (ok, that was a joke, but seriously, we do hear about those out here in the suburbs sometimes).

    And we were over at Love Meow and saw Starsky and Hutch – how cool! We thought it was awesome we knew them – like knowing a celebrity! They are both such cuties!!

    And I hope Coltrane was right and it was snackin’ time!

  9. Chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp! Hutch, we know you can’t resist Robyn, ’cause she’s so sweet. Ok, ok… you and Starsky, too!

    George and Gracie are just gorgeous… interesting background!

  10. Yum homegrown pork and chickens. My family buys a half pig every year from a small local farm. If you’ve never tasted free range pork it is delicious. Totally different from factory farmed pork. Love the Pyrenees. Great to see working dogs getting to work. Most working breeds really need a job to be happy.

  11. Ah, thanks for the explanation about Georgie and Gracie, Robyn. I’m a fiber person and so am partial to BWD’s (Big White Dogs, aka Livestock Guardian dogs). In my world, though, they are usually guarding sheep and alpacas instead of pigs and chickens. But I don’t think the dogs care what they’re guarding, as long as they are guarding.

    And yes, Jess, both donkeys and llamas make good protectors as well. Both will kick and chase away predators. Dogs are better at sounding the alarm, although they will engage as necessary.

    PS – S & H are quite the characters!