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Thursday, September 23 2010

As many of you will recall, last winter The Boogey Beast (or Beasts!) got into my hen house and murdered ten (10!!!!) chickens in less than a week. Night after night I would fortify that building like Fort Knox, only to find the dismembered bodies of victims and traumatized witnesses. That effectively put us out of the chicken business at this house.  We transported the remaining laying hen to the hen house with the cattle, about 7 miles away from THIS Boogey Beast. 

As you will also recall, my mother lives in a little house in one of my pastures and raises a small flock of chickens that are her pets.  She names and dotes on these birds. (a hazardous and heartbreaking habit in this neck of the woods!)  Thus far, her birds have remained safe because she keeps them in a coop by her back porch whereas my birds were inside a locked coop, inside a 1/4 acre flight pen, right beside a canal which is a Predator Superhighway. 

Last winter's Boogey Beast attacks and earlier attacks on goats prompted me to drive across Texas to purchase a Warrior . . .


Okay, I know she was little, but cut her some slack, she was 12 weeks old!

Look again!


  Yeah!  That's right! 

My little warrior is all grown up now, and she's a force to be reckoned with!

Now this is all well and good, as long as she can get to the animals she is supposed to guard.  Thus far, there have been no attacks on the sheep or goats.  They are penned up at night and Briar is their Bodyguard. She takes her job very seriously . . . so seriously, in fact, that there are times when I am sleep-deprived that I want to turn off her barking. (If you have a Livestock Guardian Dog close to the house then you can empathize.)  Most of the time I hear the racket and visions of terrified coyotes dance in my head, so I fall back to sleep, contented, but when I get to bed at 2 AM and she barks from 3 AM to 4 AM, I am tempted to shut her up so I can sleep.  (As I discovered last night, that is not a good idea.)

Common sense would tell you that you don't buy a LGD and then shut her up so she can't patrol.  If she isn't patrolling, then someone is left unguarded. But I didn't have common sense last night . . .

After listening to Briar bark for a solid hour, I stalked outside, saw my mother's flashlight in her back yard, and decided that my idiot dog was barking at my mother who must be giving her dog a late-night potty break. So I told poor Briar to "Shut up!"  (I believe I said, "Shut the *BLEEP* up, you stupid dog!", but who remembers?)

Anyway, I shut poor Briar up, and I went back to bed.  Other Half rolled over and grunted when I informed him that my stupid dog was barking at my mother. 

When I woke up and turned the dogs out for a walk, Briar made a bee-line to the fence . . .

  Uh oh!

So did everyone else . . .

Then I got the uneasy feeling that I'd done a Very Bad Thing last night as Briar tracked down the fence line.

Her path led to the old bird pen. The scene of many murders (20 turkeys and over 30 chickens in two years!), last winter I abandoned the flight pen and its chicken coop. It appears that The Boogey Beast still remembers the flight pen.

 Briar even checked out an ancient coop that had been abandoned at least 15 years ago. This was also the scene of countless chicken killin's.  (Briar is peeking straight down into the canal from that perch. Two years ago a bobcat piled 4 dead chickens behind the window that Briar is looking through.)

 While the rest of the pack became bored and wandered off, Briar continued her hunt. She was a woman on a mission.  (The dog did her Master's Thesis on "Predators of Texas.")

 And all the while she worked, I remembered how I called her names and shut up that poor dog last night. I was ashamed of myself.  I'm a dog trainer. The mantra of ALL dog trainers is . . . "Trust your dog!" 


And then the phone rang . . .

and my mother informed me that The Boogey Beast had gotten into her chicken coop last night sometime around 4 AM.  She was lucky.  She only had one dead.

Briar doesn't hold a grudge. She continues to patrol with a renewed vigilance. And tonight . . . tonight, I'm a lot more humble . . . and tonight . . . tonight the gate will be opened so she can patrol in Grandma's yard too!



To read more about the Boogey Beast Wars read:

Boogey Beast!

The Warrior

Boogey Beast Revealed!


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 12:37 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
I fell in love with a friend's LGD years ago. First thing she told me, "They bark. At everything. That's their job at night". I didn't need one for security reasons, so I chose a different breed. Good girl, Briar! Looks like she'll have a larger beat tonight.
Posted by CeeCee on 09/23/2010 - 08:08 AM
Goodness! Hopefully, no more chickens are killed tonight. I had this problem on my old farm with ducks and racoons. Before I moved out of state. I had a dairy goat farm (Nubians and Saanens) with around 40-50 goats. The goats were registered, and shown. Since coyotes were spotted bothering neighbor's animals I bought a LGD. Khalid, was an Anatolian Shepherd from imported parents (Turkey). Man, that dog was fierce. Not as friendly like Briar as he only accepted one person and his charges. Unfortunately, moving forced me to disperse my entire herd and LGD. I miss my goats.
Posted by Danielle on 09/23/2010 - 09:38 AM
No chickens were killed last night! When my mom came out this morning, Briar was still on duty in her yard, laying beside the chicken coop . . . guarding George. I forsee that in Briar's future her beat will be enlarged to encompass my mother's yard too!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 09/23/2010 - 03:02 PM

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