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Sunday, December 20 2015

Leaves have fallen, frost is on the ground, and coyotes peer between the strands of barbed wire at sleeping sheep. A layer of frost settles on the backs of the Churro sheep as they snore safely beside their dogs. The dogs roar to life throughout the night to remind the coyotes that meals are not free on this farm.

I roll up the barn door as the sun peeks over the trees and dawn breaks on another cold morning. The goats struggle to free themselves from their tangled pile of sisters as they stretch and greet the day with impatient cries for breakfast. The sheep rise and shake off the night as they totter toward me. Dogs bounce on the doors, eager to greet me and the morning. Before they bound off to play we cuddle and they tell me about their night of barking at eyes in the forest. With a stretch and a mighty shake, the older dog, an old hand at long nights and cold mornings, walks out of the pen and gives me her work card for the night before. It is always impressive.

The dogs run behind their frosty breath checking the fence lines. I toss feed to the livestock, grab a cup of coffee, and join them on patrol. The Border Collies momentarily halt their morning salute to the sun and investigate coyote scat.

The Livestock Guardian Dogs view this scat as a personal insult - a rival gang's graffiti on their wall. While the collies bounce and play in the frost, the big dogs march off to read the tags and fortify their borders.

The young dogs follow the older one as she carefully pokes along the fence, pausing from time to time to squat and leave her own trail of urine.

I open the gate and we all move into the pasture behind the barn yard. The collies race and play, leaving frosty footprints in this virgin space while the Livestock Guardian Dogs get down to the serious business of tagging the wall of their rival gang. I am grateful for their service. Hopefully this barrier of urine will push the predators a little further into the forest.

Tonight the sun will set, taking with it the warm illusions of the day. The coyotes will once again prowl the night in hopes of an easy meal while the big white dogs bark in the dark. And so will continue the ages old battle between the Singing Dog and the Sheep's Dog.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 08:16 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Comments:
OK, question: Do your LGDs mark their spots in dual directions? Have noted this in my Tornjak. He'll patrol the property and mark. When he marks, he first faces one direction and then will turn 180 degrees and again mark the same spot.....kinda like making sure that from whatever direction something approaches, they'll get a very good indicator of his mark. I've not had a dog do this before, an interesting trait.
Posted by Danne on 12/23/2015 - 11:24 PM
Hmmmmm... I haven't noticed that behavior. I'll have to start paying attention to that. Lol
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 12/28/2015 - 06:50 PM

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