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Friday, June 10 2016

It was only his Matrix-like evasive maneuvers that kept him from bouncing off her horns like red rubber dodge ball against a brick wall. Don't mess with Momma.

Yesterday was Jerri Springer's first day out. Since this was an unplanned pregnancy, poor Jerri has no other lambs to play with and thus she trails beside her mother like a sidecar on a motorbike. On one hand I feel sorry for her because she has no playmates, on the other hand, she enjoys the protection of her mother's status as the baddest bad girl ewe in the flock. No one messes with Jerri Springer or her mom will send them to the moon!

And so it was that Jerri Springer met the Livestock Guardian Dogs. Briar, a veteran of lamb introductions had the good sense to take her olfactory inventory at a distance, but Judge and Jury waded right in to see the new baby.

I waited for the explosion. Mariannie was a bit stressed, but as long as Jerri was calm, she was okay. All was well as a slightly confused Jerri basked in the glow of all the attention. Everything was going well until Dillon, the Labrador Retriever, rushed up from the pond, bounced into their bubble, and gushed,

"OOOOH! A baby! I wanna see the new baby!"

It was like lighting a string of firecrackers. Mariannie rammed him three times before he could get away far enough to run. It was only his Matrix-like evasive maneuvers that kept him from bouncing off her horns like red rubber dodge ball against a brick wall. On the third ram attempt, he growled at the ewe as he ran backwards. Dillon is good natured, but he figured enough was enough.

And that's when the giant dog rushed in and slammed Dillon into the side of the horse trailer.

And then apologized for it.

Dillon ranks well over the Anatolians in the canine food chain around here, but when the Labrador growled at the ewe, something rose up inside Jury and he took action. His brother rushed behind him as backup, but never made physical contact with Dillon. Under the onslaught of an enraged ewe and two Livestock Guardian Dogs, Dillon decided that retreat was the best option.

Jury reminded me of a rookie cop dealing with his first family disturbance.

"Please. Seriously. Don't do that. I'm sorry about this, but you can't do that. It's against the law. Excuse me. Stop that."

When he becomes a seasoned veteran, with no apologies whatsoever, he'll slam that Labrador in handcuffs so fast his head'll spin.

Jerri's mother has refused to take her lamb into the pasture with everyone else, preferring instead to lie around the relative security of the barnyard. We took a short road trip to buy feed in the afternoon and chose to leave the sheep and goats out while we were gone. Because the pups are not allowed to run loose while we aren't home, I locked them in the runs behind the stalls, then I didn't give it another thought.

Until I came home.

Lying in the driveway in front of the barn, with sheep grazing around him, was a large white spotted dog. Apparently Jury had dug out of his prison while we were gone. He was clean and dry so it doesn't appear that he slipped underneath the field fencing and went 'walk about' in the forest as is his habit. From the looks of him, he just dug out, and then hung out with the sheep. (Or he was out so long that he had time to run the forest like a drunken frat boy, and then come home and sleep it off. That's a possibility too.) Regardless, when we drove up, he was doing the classic Livestock Guardian Dog thing, lounging under a tree while sheep grazed around him. Nevertheless, my heart was still thumping wildly as I took off in search of Jerri Springer because I didn't trust a year old giant puppy with a tiny baby.

She was fine. Her gray grizzly bear mother was dozing beside her. My worries melted away as the groggy baby stood up on wobbly legs. The dog pushed his way along with me. Clearly he'd not been a problem in my absence because both mother and baby were fine with the dog bouncing around.  So I could breathe again. For the moment, all was well on the farm.

Our accidental oops lamb seems to be doing fine and The Boyz are growing up and becoming more responsible. Genes can only carry you so far. You still have to train Livestock Guardian Dogs. You have to be responsible for their behavior when they can't. Save them from themselves until they're mature enough to make good decisions. We aren't there yet. The pups just turned a year old. They aren't mature enough to be loose all the time like the older dog, Briar. Since they dig, no field fence can truly contain them. It's impossible to run hotwire around the base of every fence around here. The best I can do is monitor them closely and when I can't monitor them, lock them in a run with re-enforced flooring at the bottom. I lay cattle panels on the ground along the dig areas. This helps eliminate the digging in that one place, but from time to time, (yesterday) they will spring a new hole. We live with it and make adjustments accordingly. And sometimes, like yesterday, they surprise me. After all that effort to get out, they still end up just sleeping beside the sheep. It makes my heart smile.


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 09:40 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
The Boyz sound like they are coming along nicely! Do you have any idea how old they will need to be before they stay loose? Or is it one of those you wake up one morning and they finally act mature things?
Posted by Patty on 06/11/2016 - 08:45 AM
Lol! No, that's a day by day. Some days they lie down and watch things all day and other mornings they have the wandering eye to go walkabout! It's matter of plugging holes and catching them in the act and then giving them another social acceptable alternative to running amuck.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/11/2016 - 09:16 AM
..... And Anatolians can climb, too. The one my friend had clamored over a high fence to go visit the chickens!!! Fortunately once she had identified what they were she never went in with them again. She did not bother them while she was there ... but her presence caused a great deal of consternation among the feathered ones. Lots of squawking and running in circles.
Posted by Susan on 06/11/2016 - 04:00 PM
Yes! They do! Not quite as bad as Pyrenees, but at that height, they sure can climb. Mine are mostly diggers though. They find a natural dip in the terrain and start digging it out. An Anatolian can slither through a suprisingly small hole.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/12/2016 - 04:38 AM
My Pyrs had black bear or monkey in their genes. Climb was not the word for it. More like levitate. 6 ft fence section was nothing to Falcor. To see this, what appeared to be a lump, carefully stretch up use his toes, teeter on top and slide down the other side was to say the least "gob smacking"
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 06/12/2016 - 05:21 PM
Briar doesn't jump, she climbs like a big white ape!
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 06/12/2016 - 08:35 PM

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