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Friday, July 05 2013


Like 'old age,' having a farm "ain't for sissies." This is never more apparent than when you raise birds. Chickens are on the bottom of the food chain and I learned a long time ago that getting attached to birds was almost masochistic. Don't get me wrong. I still got attached to some of them, (The Famous Dora the Explorer, and all my geese), but experience has taught me that birds don't die of old age on a farm.

For years I lost birds. And for years I sought ways to protect my birds from predators. I considered the idea of a dedicated "farm dog" whose only job was to stay outside and protect my stock, but couldn't justify the cost of another dog just to protect chickens or goats.

And then I lost a goat not 100 yards from the barn. And 11 turkeys in one night. And 3 geese. And 10 chickens in a week. Night after night. No matter how well I fortified the chicken coop, The Boogey Beast kept sneaking in and murdering my critters.

One day I counted the dollar cost of lost livestock. It was staggering.  That's when I decided to bite the bullet and get a warrior to stay in the farm yard and protect my livestock. 

And guess what? 

The killing STOPPED.

Suddenly I realized something that farmers for centuries already knew: the Boogey Beast doesn't like dogs.

Soon I embraced the idea of using dogs to protect my stock. Clearly the mere presence of dogs helps a lot. (Especially as my warrior grew!)


I was reminded of this little factoid this week when Daughter informed me that while she and hubby were on a well-deserved vacation, and the kids and dogs were staying next door with their grandparents, that Dangblasted Cursed Boogey Beast snuck onto their farm in the middle of the day and killed 7 chickens. 

Damn you, Boogey Beast!

She pointed out that now she realized the value of a good farm dog. Apparently while her older Heeler/German Shepherd mix, Maddy, was next door with Grandma and Grandpa and the kids,  the Beast(s) had felt comfortable enough to stroll right in and dine on chicken. Regardless of whether or not the Beast was a couple of loose dogs, or a single coyote, the end result is the same. Heartbreak.

This got me to thinking about the Other Cost of losing livestock.


It's not just about the loss of life and money. These birds were more than just well-cared-for-free-range-egg-layers. They were pets. 

Damn you again, Boogey Beast.

I asked her how the kids took the loss of the birds and she shared that Grandbaby said,

"That's what happens on a farm sometimes. That's why we always have a gun, huh Daddy?"

(I love this child!)

And so the moral of this sad tale is: Never underestimate the value of a good farm dog.



Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
smart kiddo! tho after reading your blog and hearing about snakes and hogs on the ranch, it seems like you need dogs and guns - more than one of each - down there in Texas! stay cool.
Posted by clairesmum on 07/07/2013 - 12:34 PM
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 07/08/2013 - 08:54 PM

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