And now for a little something from the farming side.
We turned the goats out into a new pasture this weekend, and the first thing the kids did was race to see who could be the first to claim the top of the willow trunk — and manage to stay on top in the face of stiff competition. In the two days they’ve been in that paddock, I’m not sure there’s been a time when someone hasn’t been on that trunk. I took the photo yesterday, and you can see two of our Maremma livestock guardian dogs with the kids. That’s Aaron in front, and Maggie is in the back. (You may remember Maggie as a puppy in this post from last fall.)
The kids have grown up with the dogs and just assume it’s natural to have huge white fluffballs around all the time. The dogs, for their part, were just incredible to watch when we put them in with the still very young and small kids not long after they were born. They seemed to recognize that their new charges were fragile, and they treated them with such deference and gentleness. It’s what you’d expect from dogs who have been bred for centuries for this very purpose, but still very touching to see.
The dogs are so gentle and easy-going they don’t even show any interest in the chickens. Indeed, we’ve had chickens wandering around the goat barn when we bring the Maremmas back in the evening, and they just move right through the fluttering flock and pay no attention to them. Some people do use guardian dogs to protect pastured poultry, though there can be a real learning curve for certain dogs because generally they’ve been bred to protect livestock rather than birds. (And there’s something about a flapping, squawking chicken that just seems to excite dogs!) Oddly, the only thing that gets Aaron and Maggie worked up is the sight of Smoke the barn cat. Not that they haven’t seen him hundreds of times now … and they show zero interest in Smoke’s two sisters. Just Smoke himself. We haven’t figured this one out yet!
2014 Shelter Challenge Underway
The second round of the Shelter Challenge for 2014 is underway. You can vote every day at http://www.shelterchallenge.com/. To search for us, type in our name, Rolling Dog Farm, and Lancaster, NH 03584. We’ve won thousands of dollars in the previous contests, so your daily votes do bring in serious money for our disabled animals!
Please note that I cannot help with technical or voting problems. If you find yourself having issues, please consult their FAQ page and their Rules page.
Thanks for your votes!