Well, since we last were here, the third batch of broiler chickens has moved out to the pasture. The first night we always shut them inside their shed so that they know where shelter is. The next day we feed them inside but water them outside, so that they get used to going in and out of their shed. And then they’re pretty much left to their own devices. If we’re expecting bad weather – especially if we’re expecting it overnight – we’ll feed them inside the shed, just to encourage them to get out of the weather. (Because they aren’t always smart enough to think of that themselves.)
This time, on their second night in the pasture (i.e. the first night they weren’t shut in the shed for the night), we lost 4 birds. I got out there to do chores the next morning and there were 3 headless birds strewn about outside of the electric poultry netting that surrounds their range area, and one more inside of it. Owls or hawks, I’m not sure, but usually we have owl problems in the spring and hawk problems in the fall. But there’s been a full moon, so it could have been owls.
Regardless, we can’t allow that kind of death loss. So out came the Big White Dog. And he was not happy about it. There was much whining and pacing when we left him out there with the chickens. But he’s settling in. When I go out to the pasture in the morning now, it’s such a peaceful scene.
Cows. Dewey grass. Chickens. And the Big White Dog, on alert from inside the chicken shed.
How now, brown cow?
How now, brown calf?
While I wouldn’t exactly say he’s relishing his role of flock guardian, he does seem to have accepted it. He walks calmly through the birds now, so that they won’t startle and scatter. When he naps, they like to cuddle around him. (I wonder what they think he is?)
And then there’s the peanut gallery:
1 year ago: