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Monday, January 18 2010

  Look closely. Yes, that IS what you think. Farming isn't for the squeamish. Despite my efforts to fortify the chicken coop, the damned Beast was back. Three dead. It looks like chickens exploded in there. Ten birds in one week. Six birds in two days . . . and I still don't know how it's getting in.

That is the most disheartening part about life on a farm. Despite your best efforts, you cannot save them. After the carnage, I had one laying hen left, a small banty hen, and two banty roosters. Four birds . . . out of a whole flock. The remaining red hen was stuffed in Other Half's patrol car and transported to join the cowponies, the cattle, Dora the Explorer, and Reggie. They aren't necessarily safe, but they are 7 miles from THIS Boogey Beast, who will most certainly be back.

  The refugee

The thing about being a crime scene investigator is that you tend to put a great deal of investigation into your own crime scenes. (I'll spare you the photos.) My two biggest issues are: 1) suspect, and 2) prevention.

Suspect: The Boogey Beast is small. BB is ferocious. BB is messy. BB may actually be several suspects. (a GANG!)

Because I had body parts all over the coop, I suspect a family of small predators, perhaps a mother with young that were squabbling over pieces. (Yes, I know it's gross, but unfortunately it is part of the Circle Of Life. It happens on a farm. Animal Planet just doesn't film it.)

Here is our suspect's pawprint:


I didn't have scale tape, so I stuck my fingers in there to give you an idea of size.


I'm thinking maybe a raccoon. I need to check out pawprints online and see about that. The Sheepgoddess has suggested a weasel. She may be right. I don't even know if we have those around here. I'll check that out too. (Isn't the internet wonderful?)

Now that we have done some research into the suspect, let's begin with prevention.  First . . . remove the birds. Done. (Except for the banties who sought refuge high up in the trees.) Second . . . remove the predator. Impossible . . if I remove them, others will come to fill that niche. That leaves me only one option. I must bring in a warrior in my Battle Against the Boogey Beast.

For years I have resisted this, but if you start adding up how much money I have lost in livestock over the years, it doesn't make sense NOT to do it.  Soooooo . . . . a 9-hour drive later . . . and there is a New Kid In Town!

     Meet Briar!

Be careful. Those teeth are sharp. She's a killer. Boogey Beasts, BEWARE!

Briar is approximately 12 weeks old. She's a Great Pyrenees/Komondor cross. Her parents are working Livestock Guardian Dogs that have produced working Livestock Guardian Dogs. She has been raised with sheep and goats. In fact, she's a little wild thing. I should have named her Mowgli since she considers humans to be her captors, rather than her friends. We are slowly working on that. She needs some cleaning up, and some growing up, but Boogey Beasts beware! She will be the size of a Saint Bernard and she will eat Boogey Beasts for Breakfast!

  You just wait!  The Warrior has arrived!



Posted by: farmfreshforensics. AT 03:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
Oh, she is so cute. I love the name Briar for your little wild rose. I hope she works out well for you and doesn't develop her own taste for chicken.
Posted by Milli Ann on 01/18/2010 - 05:00 PM
She is getting some socialization with chickens from behind bars so she begins to understand that chickens are also part of her farm. Because she is young (and will be for a couple of years!) I expect to lose a few chickens and possibly some lambs to her while she is in her "learning curve." She cannot be expected to "just do it." Genetics are in her favor, but we still have to help her along.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 01/19/2010 - 10:54 AM
looks like oppossum. I had a terrible predation problem with possum til I got a nice coop built. prints and mayhem spell possum to me. have you set a live trap?
Posted by Sue on 01/19/2010 - 10:56 AM
weasel tracks look more like dog prints. possum and coon are similar; monkey like instead of paw like. possum has more splayed out "thumb" than a coon
Posted by Sue on 01/19/2010 - 11:05 AM
I set a live trap last night, but no luck. The Boogey Beast apparently didn't fall for chicken guts in a can!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 01/19/2010 - 11:06 AM
I'd keep trying the live trap for awhile. It took a week or more to catch our possum during our worst spell of predation. Canned dog food was so-so; leftover dinner meat like barbeque worked very well. Briar looks fabulous! Good luck with her. I'll bet she leaves the chickens alone or protects them too. Good dogs.
Posted by Sue on 01/21/2010 - 10:05 PM
Hi, I'm late to this particular party. I was positive that Briar was a Great Pyr/Wolfhound cross, and now know differently. Aren't you glad she didn't end up with the Komodor coat? She's gotten so tall and lovely. Question: How is Roanie these days? Did she survive?
Posted by CeeCee on 09/25/2010 - 02:42 PM
She DOES look like a wolfhound cross doesn't she!!! (I've always loved Irish Wolfhounds!) But she is a Komondor cross! I am really glad that she didn't end up with the corded coat. Roanie has thrived and barely limps now! I'll have to write an update blog on her!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 09/25/2010 - 04:16 PM

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