As I wrote about earlier this week, we are having predator problems. We've been keeping the birds in the run until dinner time then letting them out to range supervised in the the evenings. We don't want this to be our forever model though. We want to get back to letting them free range all day. I was talking to a friend of mine recently about our problem, and within minutes, she had sent me a link to a dog on petfinder.com who was described as being good with farm animals, including chickens and ducks.
We got in touch with the rescue and they were having an adoption event Saturday. My husband was also able to stop by their facility Friday evening to see him in a quieter setting. He sent me a message: He's got a great personality and nothing seems to faze him. I think he'll be great for our house.
So we went Saturday to pick him up for a one-week trial to make sure he's a good fit. He's an Australian Shepherd/Lab mix. They guessed his age was about two years but we think he's younger based on his puppy-like nature. He is full of energy but also low key. The boys love love love him with his playfulness and kisses. Our other two dogs are old - both about 12 years - so they have limited patience for his antics. That said, it's been mostly peaceful so far.
He likes to play with toys.
I took everyone out for a long walk when we got him home yesterday so that the dogs could meet on more neutral territory. They were worn out when we got home! Naptime...
I took him out to meet the chickens last night. He did pretty well for his first introduction. He was on a leash. First I took him up to the run with the birds locked up. He barely noted them and seemed more interested in sniffing the grass. Next we tried releasing the chickens. Then he looked at them but didn't try pulling on his leash or going after them. So these seem like promising signs. I read online that a good protector dog will ignore the livestock but protect his territory. The rescue gave us the name of a trainer who specializes in working dogs, and we plan on reaching out to him for some direction on how to work with our new guy.
Oh, I almost forgot. We named him Roscoe.