Friday, October 15, 2010

All Grown Up

Luke and Leia, our Anatolian Shepherd livestock guardian dogs turned a year old in July.  It's been a rough year with lots of growing pains.  We've had a few major challenges with the dogs; 2 of them we're still dealing with and 1 that's been fixed.  Leia is no longer chasing the alpacas or attempting to play with them.  If you've read the older posts, you know that we tied a log to her to slow down her ability to run in the pasture.  We didn't have to do that for very long before that issue was resolved.

Probably our biggest issue that remains is with the Anatolians and the chickens.  They still can't be trusted around the birds.  As long as the birds are all calming pecking around in the same area, the dogs are fine.  However, if one bird strays away or starts to run, all bets are off and the dogs go into a predatory mode.  They chase, grab and would likely kill the bird if not interrupted.  That means we can't leave the dogs loose in the full pasture during the day while the chickens are out roaming around.  The dogs have access to the barn and a fenced-in yard all day while we're gone.  They mostly sleep all day since they go out on patrol at night, so it's really not a big deal, but it would be nice to know that they would be available during the day if a big cat or stray dog did get into our pasture. 

Our other issue is barking at night.  Livestock guardian dogs bark - a lot.  That's the first line of defense in interrupting a potential attack by an intruder.  And usually, that's all that's needed.  A coyote will always try the path of least resistance and a couple of big barking dogs is enough to send him on his way.  However, Leia barks at everything and nothing (at least nothing we can see).  She barks at the aircraft going over our house at night, too.  She's the dog who cried wolf.  Luke, on the other hand, barks very little.  When you hear Luke bark, you know there's something going on and it better be checked out.

So, I'm missing my sleep some nights, but at least our alpacas are safe from the scary things that roam outside in the dark.  We can't be sure how many predators the Anatolians have chased away, but we have seen a coyote in the neighbor's yard.  He didn't hang around long.  They've also chased away skunks (and paid the price) and killed a possum. 

They are probably still not completely at their full adult weight yet. Leia is 102 pounds and Luke is 118 pounds. 

They are definitely Chet's dogs!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chicks at 2 Weeks

They're getting their feathers and wings now.  Two of them have very defined tail feathers already and we're assuming those will be our roosters.  They're spending their first day outside on the grass and getting some sunshine (which they do their best to avoid).   Notice the longer tail on the bird in front as compared to the other two.

If 2 out of the 6 turn out to be boys, then we've beat the odds and we'll be happy.  We'll try and sell them once we're certain of their sex and they're old enough to go.   We have one rooster and that's enough.

I have them in a secure box right outside my office window so I can be on the lookout for the neighborhood cats.  Pip (my 7 month old Border Collie) was fascinated watching them.

"Don't bother me now, mom, I gotta watch in case they need herded."