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Saturday, July 11 2015

One of the biggest hurdles in moving a farm is in moving the livestock. On this last trip up we moved the rest of the cattle, and the girl goats and sheep. Briar is still in South Texas with the boys. The cattle were dumped out on our place and the goats and sheep went to their temporary home with Dear Friends Kim & Clyde. They have four donkeys and a mule that they placed around the goat/sheep pen. We dropped them off in the early afternoon. By that evening Kim was ready for dairy goats herself. The next morning we were on our way to a nearby farm to buy her a Nubian doe weanling. Yes, folks, dairy goats are like cocaine - one taste and you're hooked! They are that dangerous.

A big concern with the move was the fact that Roanie was heavily pregnant and I really didn't want to bounce her across Texas. She weathered the move like a trooper though, and a few days later this little guy was born.

Yesterday we turned Roanie and her new baby out with the herd. Another hurdle down.

We don't have donkeys. We don't have a llama. We have Briar. Although I have a lot of faith in Briar, I also know that the moment I move those sheep and goats onto this property I will have coyotes, bobcats, and possibly the cougar, coming right up to the house for a free dinner. That's more than Briar can handle by herself. We've built night pens behind the barn that are completely encircled by an alleyway where non-LGD dogs can run. This will allow them to protect the stock at night. My plan was to use the other dogs to 'supplement' Briar until her age forced me to get new livestock guardian dogs. After all, we have 8 dogs, I really didn't want to add any more.

But then . . .  Then I looked at the forest. I noticed how easily something could slip out in broad daylight, grab a baby lamb, and sneak right back into the foliage. There was no way Briar could be everywhere at once, and around here the forest has eyes.

Since I knew it was inevitable, I decided open myself up to the possibility of adding the pair of Anatolians I had always said I'd get when we moved up here. If it was meant to be, a pair would fall in my lap. Sure enough, a few days after I opened myself up to the idea, I saw a litter. These pups were exactly what I was looking for.

A phone call later and I had reserved two five week old boys.  They will be ready when we've completed the move and are ready for them.

Yes, ten freaking dogs. TEN!

3 Livestock Guardian Dogs
4 Border Collies
1 Freeloading Blue Heeler (holds down the bed)
1 Retired patrol dog (currently Head of Barn Security)
1 Labrador Retriever (currently Head of House Security)

I'm trying to not focus on the fact that we have ten dogs. I'm trying to focus on the fact that if I don't add dogs, I'll be subtracting lambs and kids immediately. Any rancher can tell you, once you turn the light on to signal the buffet is open, the predators will roll in night after night. It'll take quite a while to get these little guys trained anyway. They should be ready to take over full time by the day Briar is too old to be effective. If we get pups now, there shouldn't be much of a gap. Anatolians grow to be giant dogs so when these guys grown up like their dad, they should cause the predators around here to think twice about snatching up a goat.

 Big dogs!

This move up to North Texas is like a three ring circus anyway, what's a couple more acts in the show?

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 08:41 am   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
Good idea about the Anatolian LGD's. Since they will eventually be living full time with your stock, that makes 10 dogs doable. Who/what will keep your cattle safe from predation!
Posted by jan Berger on 07/11/2015 - 12:32 PM
Great move. Will handle heat better. Briar should be able to teach them if introduced as her responsabliity. Looking forward to this. Just hope male x2 works for you. AT least it won't be 2 females growing up.
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 07/11/2015 - 05:28 PM
I had wanted a male and a female but the breeder only had males available. If they grow up to fight then one boy with stay with the girl goats and sheep and the other will stay with the boys. :)
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 07/11/2015 - 06:26 PM
Jan, the cattle are safe. Our momma cows will stomp a dog or a coyote. That's what makes them so dangerous for Lily.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 07/11/2015 - 06:31 PM
Have no idea if you are interested in adding a llama to the mix or not for protection, but I think they would make great pictures for the blog(thinking baby llama pics)! Not that a farm decision should be based on how blog pictures will look, but just sayin'....
Posted by Janie on 07/13/2015 - 01:30 PM

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