Saturday, September 3, 2011

#88 - Little Dog vs. Small Dog vs. Chickens vs. Templetons

The new member of our family, the little Yorkie that my daughter named Belle, did not get a good start here in our household with attacking a chicken. However, I am relieved to see that she is now able to go outside in the backyard and be among the chickens, peacefully.

How did I get to be one of these people who grows older and is around less people, but more animals? I guess it is because we are heading out to live on our acreage in a rather short time from now and I am trying to assimilate. I better become accustomed to animal emergencies, animal drama and animal goodness.

Off to a great start, we are thoroughly LOVING our first flock of chickens and their eggs are making our recipes taste much better than I imagined. I don't think I could ever go back to buying grocery store eggs. To anyone, I would recommend buying Buff Orpington chickens for your egg-laying variety...they are docile, easy to care for and the lay more eggs than we can eat. We have four Buff Orpingtons and one little Bantam, Miss Speckles.

Once we move to our land, we will definitely buy more of these chicks. Deputy Dave and I will also designate an area for a rooster to live with his gals so we can have regular chicks hatching on the farm to replenish the stock in the most natural way instead of having to buy chicks from outside sources.

Just as I love to have fresh laid eggs in our refrigerator, ready to eat or cook with, I also love my garden fresh Sweet Basil. I won't ever buy Basil from the grocery store again either. And, we grow Rosemary. Usually, we have chives and other herbs, but this drought in Texas has devastated our gardens.

These are the tops of pineapples. We eat the flesh, chop off the
green top, plant it in the earth and it turns into a beautiful, tropical
easy to care for plant.

Here's another Pineapple top stuck in the earth several months ago.
They are obviously heat-resistant as well. We've also planted these on
our acreage and they're doing great.
The Basil and Rosemary appears to have been heat-resistant and survived quite nicely. I was surprised. This coming week, I'll be freezing fresh leaves of Basil and Rosemary to have on hand during the winter months. There's nothing worse than going through withdrawals of these herbs.

And YES! Those are dark rain clouds in the distance!
I just hope they don't sputter, as has been our luck this year.
Deputy Dave is preparing the veggie garden bed for winter plantings.

This morning, I found a rather large "Templeton" in the feed area...dead. It was about 7:30 am and not a fun thing to find upon waking up. I had been about to let out the chickens when I discovered Templeton lying there staring at me. I froze. Then, I realized that Templeton was not lying down for a rest...he was out for the permanent count.

We do not put out poison, so I don't know what happened. Belle, the Yorkie did go a bit wacko when I put her outside last night, but the rat didn't appear to have deadly wounds on his body. But, man, he looked well fed. I think he'd been eating chicken feed spillage ---- which we are working more diligently to reduce, especially with our first purchase of pellets for food instead of chicken crumble. We'll see if that helps. I nearly took a picture of dead Templeton; but decided against it. Still, it's a solid Farm Life Lesson. No matter what, we will have rats in the city. All the neighbors leave their dog and cat food outside, so it's a losing battle.

Regardless, my hero, Deputy Dave, promptly headed outdoors with the shovel to dispose of the yucky visitor. Little did Templeton know...going to our house would introduce him to "Hotel California...we are programmed to receive, you may check-out any time you like...but you can never leave..." 

Goodness, I hope the 100 buddies hiding in the bush will decide to go elsewhere.

But, back to the dogs...I've been completely amazed by the Yorkie's intelligence, common sense and intuition. She now sees that the chickens are not our enemies. She is beautifully acquainted with them at this time and is constantly in the backyard with them. She seems to be bored with them at this point. That's great because I didn't know if she'd ever be able to stop chasing them. She's a fast learner.

Instead, this week, she's found chasing to be more worthwhile when it involves my vacuum cleaner, the fence-line as the neighbor mows their backyard, the leaf blowing across the yard, but not the chickens.

Belle is having way too much fun!
Howdy and Belle play as if they are old friends. Sometimes, I am concerned about Howdy being so much larger than Belle and that he'll hurt her by accident; however, he is on heightened alert when she is jumping all over him and barking at him and nipping his legs. He normally uses a large paw to gently put her in her place.

He seems to have infinite patience in stock. This is when I get to see the Shepherd in him. He is so gentle, even when he is trying to get his message across...he knows how to do it effectively, yet safely.

I wonder if she realizes that her entire head can fit inside his mouth?
Of course, he's over two years old now, so we are at the "awesome" stage of having an Australian very often will take about two years to get them to chill out enough to listen keenly to your every word. Howdy is at that stage.

Howdy is saying, "Whatever..."

He continues to impress me with his instinctual nature and his desire to obey and please his master is top notch. But this gal, my Lyla (spelling never correct) is the BEST one out of the bunch.

I think we'd better get moved to our wooded acreage as soon as possible. With near ten acres, we'll be much happier with loads of room to run and play.

We were at the feed-store today and I came across a HUGE livestock "baby" bottle and I held it up, looked at Deputy Dave and said, "I can't wait to get to use one of these!"

He just laughed, but I'm sure he knows that I mean it. I really do.


Karen said...

Everything is just falling into place for you and that's great! Belle is adorable now that she's all prettily groomed, what a sweetie, and she's a real quick learner, about the chickens, too. Amazing how fast dogs learn their place in the pack, isn't it? I'll have to look into Buff Orpingtons, we have a rooster right now, but I'm getting a 'tad' tired of his constant crowing, he's a real loud mouth. We live on 98 acres but I betcha the neighbors a quarter mile away can hear him hollering his fool head off. And he 's such a jumpy dude, always driving the hens every which way, doing his 'duty' constantly (I mean, really, the poor ladies are getting worn out, he is certainly NOT a gentleman, lol.) And to think he was hatched out and reared by these same Girls, that's just wrong on so many levels!
The eggs my friend gave me were fertilized and were bantam eggs, the tiniest things I'd seen in a long time, but all four of the chicks have now grown to be bigger than their foster mothers and appear to be keeping on going. I'm not sure what kind of rooster fathered them, but he was Big Boy! All my chickens are mutts. I love the looks of your hens, so very pretty.

And rats, oh, yes, we have them around here, too, but I don't know what to do about the chicken feed problem either. The Girls waste so much of it, always flinging it around and of course the rodents are going to get into it. We've set traps outside the chicken run and have caught an amazing amount of mice and even a chipmunk, but no Templetons. I know they're around though, they're just too smart to get caught.

Living in the country will be a big change, but I know you're going to just love it!

Mike said...

Hello. I'm Mike and I am a Yorkie slave. I've found out Yorkies are sometimes too smart for their own good. She's learning alright. Soon, you'll be right where she wants you. I speak from experience. Yes, they are very sweet and loveable bundles of, I don't know what. They are a mess.
I hear cats are good around grown chickens. Maybe a deterent for Templetons on the acreage.

LindaG said...

I love all your dogs. Glad to hear Belle doesn't bother the chickens any more. :)

Texan said...

Belle is adorable, she is one lucky pooch to have landed at you guys house!