Monday, December 31, 2007


Something happened the other morning that surprised me so much that I wasn't sure I really saw what I saw. I decided to repeat the course of events to see if the result was the same (ok, and I got this really cool new camera to play with). The day began as it usually does with Petey greeting me at the barn yard gate.
He was waiting for me to go in the chicken coop to feed and water the chickens. As I opened the door, he slipped inside. I didn't worry about it, knowing that he was just going to steal an egg for his breakfast and I busied myself with my chicken chores.
Just as I was finishing up, I noticed a chicken had stopped eating and puffed herself all up. She seemed to be staring at something so I looked to see what had her all in a kerfluffel. I spotted Pete trying to hide behind the nesting boxes and staring back.
Just then the hen exploded! All the months of being stalked and harassed and having eggs stolen had finally been too much and she couldn't take it anymore. She leaped at Pete and started beating him with her wings and screeching. Pete was astounded and ran for his life. (so fast that the fancy new camera almost didn't catch it)

When I finished laughing I followed Pete's path outside the hen house and found that he had climbed the 7 foot coop walls to sit on top and try to dust off his dignity.

I guess Pete actually won in the end tho because I felt so sorry for the fat barn cat that I didn't want him to miss his breakfast. So I cracked the egg open for him myself.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

It has begun...

Look what Scott found at 4 AM this morning...
I know someone is going to ask what breed they are: They are purebred Sulfolky-Dorsetish kinda things.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Report Card

Kit has been with us almost three weeks now and has passed all her tests. She takes her job very seriously and definitely considers the sheep hers. She tolerates our use of them but supervises all activities. If you've had a guardian dog before then her behavior will be nothing new, but I am fascinated by the duty that she feels is necessary. During the day, she will cat nap periodically but at night she is on guard.
She feels her sheep are safest when they are near the barn and the field is dangerous territory. If we take a few out to work with the dogs, she will go ahead of us, wagging her tail and stand on the far side of the sheep protecting them from lurking coyotes but not getting in the way of our training.
She would have made a good pre-school crossing guard. If the sheep get wandering about and pass by the field, Kit will stand in the break in the fence and keep the coyote traffic from running over her sheep. Lambing starts very soon. The sheep are very comfortable with Kit around and I rest easy knowing that she has it all under control.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from all the critters at
Alta Pete Stockdogs

and don't think for a minute that this was an easy picture to take!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

He's Making a List

I got word that our local Humane Center was going to be visited by Santa this year and that he was going to pose for pictures with the dogs and cats in our area. I suggested to Skid that perhaps he should take advantage of this opportunity to talk to Santa about changing his status on the naughty list. My feeling was that Skid's history of getting into the trash, stealing Scott's cookies and that indiscretion he committed in the camper, could be forgiven with a favorable visit. We practiced posing in front of the Christmas tree and then decided that Lad should come along as an example since his name was permanently engraved on the nice list.

Since I didn't think Santa would be impressed by two stinky farm dogs, the day before the visit the boys got a bath.
When the day arrived, Skid and Lad eagerly entered the Humane Society and greeted all there. Then it was time to go into the back room and meet Santa. We walked in and while Skid was busy watching and trying to decide if it was a good Santa or a bad Santa, the helper walked up behind him, unhooked his leash and tried to pick him up. Skid was surprised and screamed and flipped over on his back and threatened with his teeth. After a scolding, and then the bribe of a cookie, he followed Laddie's good form and sat with Santa for his picture. On the way home, I told Skid it was worth a try but I'm afraid that after trying to bite Santa's helper, he should just resign himself to that lump of coal and try it again next year.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Say What?

We got some weather last night. Up until this morning, we've had alot of cold, but not alot of snow. So I went out to catch the animal's reactions:

The sheep generally agree, "We don't like it, but we gotta eat."

The chickens protest, "What the...!"

Kit feels, "It's all part of the job."

And Skid says "WOOO HOOOO!"

Friday, December 7, 2007

Contestant number one

Well, we are hoping there is no contestant number two needed. We need a guardian animal. For almost 5 years our sheep have been relatively unmolested by the local coyotes, but this year groups of the marauding predators have been attacking and eating our defenceless sheep. We have ruled out using a donkey because they don't differentiate between working border collies and dangerous coyotes so our other choices are a llama or a guardian dog. We decided on a dog and if she works out, our sheep will have their needed protection just in time for lambing. So Kit, come on down. This is your lucky day! Kit is a female working Akbash who was picked out for us by a friend who is familiar with our needs.

Our guardian dog needs to be friendly with people and able to be handled, but prefer the company of her sheep to humans. She needs to be alert to the threat of coyotes but passive to the working border collies. Most important, she needs to know that it would be bad to eat chickens, ducks, cats and of course, little dogs. We will give Kit a probationary month and will work with her to understand the rules.

Right now, our sheep are confused.
They can't understand why we keep closing them in with this dog. They only understand that if a dog walks up to you, you walk away. Until Kit and the sheep are bonded, we will be keeping them in small pastures and in the barn. We are keeping our fingers crossed.