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Posts Tagged ‘border collie’


*sigh*

I know loss is part of farm life, and I accept that.

I also accept that the safety of the animals is my responsibility. And it irritates me to no end to have a loss that could have been prevented.

At this point, we’re up to 4 losses that could have- SHOULD HAVE- been prevented. ūüė•

Last month, I went to let them out in the morning and found one of my polka-dotted chickens {silver spangled hamburgs} huddled by the door and near frozen solid. It had gotten cold overnight, and while I didn’t think she had gotten her foot stuck under the waterer, I really had no other explanation for her being by the door instead of up on the roost.

I brought her inside right away, and got a water bottle full of hot water to help heat her up.

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She sat on my lap all day.

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By evening, it was clear she was not doing well, despite out efforts to feed and hydrate her. Early the next morning, with my daughter sitting with her, she convulsed and died. ūüė•

I am not sure what it was, but it might have been something she ate that got stuck in her crop, even though I couldn’t feel anything there. It didn’t seem to be a contagion, and I was sure hoping it wasn’t. {It wasn’t.}

I accept that sometimes, these things happen. It is absolutely never easy, though.

We also lost 2 cuckoo marans over a month ago. We had moved them outside to the coop, but because the run wasn’t done, we weren’t letting them out. After finding 2 of my girls trampled and plucked inside the coop, we cut the pop door and let them out, finished run be darned.

Did I mention that this has become The Coop That Would Not Be Built? Yep. And it’s a source of irritation to me, to say the least.

That right there is the bulk of the issue, as I see it. Hunny doesn’t think we need a run (or the expense) and once we had to let them out, it was easier to just let them free-range the entire time.

Then the guineas got out about a week ago. 3 were out all night because we couldn’t catch them. 2 found their way back in the following morning, but the last one we found dead on the horse path between the two pastures. Here again, I am convinced that if we had the run, it would not be an issue because they would be contained while we let the chickens out.

It goes without saying that by far one of the worst predators is the family dog. Have I mentioned that we now have 5 dogs?

We moved here with 2 dogs that completely left the chickens alone. We gained another border collie, and then in both July and August we gained dogs that had probably been dumped. That’s a whole ‘nother post for another time. Having 2 unaltered male dogs- even though one is a weiner dog- was not on my agenda.

But I digress.

Up to this point, we’ve done pretty well keeping the dogs away from the chickens. {You know where this is going, don’t you….}¬†Both Buddy (short-haired Jack Russell terrier) and Oreo (border collie) are about a year old. You may know that border collies are well-known as the smartest dog breed there is.

Case and point- Icee (our blond merle border collie} knows how to open the bedroom door in our RV; and Oreo not only knows but has taught Buddy how to open the outside door. We can’t do an eye-hook because then whoever is outside can’t get back in. Not to mention, she’s working on the dead bolt, too. We are trying to remember to take our keys outside with us every time……..

The bigger issue is not that they can open the door when they are both in and outside, but that I don’t want the cats to get out.

Did I mention we’re up to 6 cats now? Yep. One of these days, I’ll write up the story of the kittens, which were not planned but totally loved and adored.

Bottom line- I just don’t want them getting out. The older kitties are declawed because we don’t want them outside. The kittens were planned on being outdoor barn kitties, but after bottle feeding them and having them inside because they are too little to be left outside to fend for themselves, well, we’re smitten with them, too, and will get them declawed and fixed so they can be indoor kitties.

Anyhow.

Last week, Buddy got a hold of my favorite silver silkie, Silver. We got to her in time before he killed her, but he sliced her chest open and punctured her in a few places. I kept her inside overnight, and then the following day (when I had company, of course), I used some EMT gel {for animals} to glue her back together and sent her back out.

You need to understand- I’ve been crazy about keeping the dogs away from the chickens. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve managed. At some point, Oreo got scared of them, but I knew it wouldn’t last, particularly if she was out there with Buddy. I’ve seen them essentially hunt/play together/in a pack.

Now, Hunny and the kids think they are playing with them. Buddy with go after them when there’s squawking- like when the boys are sparring and when they are grabbing the girls. He thinks that she was chasing her and went to nip as border collies do, and got carried away.

I didn’t see this event, so I don’t know what happened. What I do know is that Oreo killed one of my polka-dotted chickens {silver spangled hamburgs} and that I am really very upset.

This dog is smart, and she knows better.

I am loath to give up an animal- any animal- particularly when it’s a rescue and I’ve invested money in it. I cannot, however, abide by the “it’s just a chicken; there’s no reason to get upset” kind of thinking some of my kids are dishing out.

I. DO. NOT. CARE. IF. THEY. THINK. THAT.

IT. IS. NOT.” JUST”. A CHICKEN.

I love my chickens, even if they don’t.

I have a responsibility to keep the animals in my care alive.

And so, I’m annoyed. I’m upset. I’m not sure what should be done.

There are those that tell you that once a dog kills once, they won’t stop. Normal dogs, I would agree. Border collies are so, so smart.

My other border collie blew out both cruciate ligaments in her knees- both of them, at the same time. If you know border collies, you know they have a HUGE work ethic; in that you often don’t know there is anything wrong with them until they just don’t get up the next day.

And that is what happened with her. She just couldn’t get up one morning and was in huge amounts of pain.

The normal fix for this injury is surgery, at $2,500 a knee. ūüėĮ Our vet thought, given how smart she is, that we could try something else first.

He suggested we explain to her what happened and why we had to crate her. If she could stay immobile for about 6 months to give the ligaments time to heal, we could avoid surgery. It was a long shot, but we thought we’d give it a go.

It’s been over 5 years later, and we never had to have surgery. She wasn’t thrilled with being crated, but she accepted it. Her knees are a bit arthritic now, and we think she can’t see too well. She’s been kicked in the head by one of the horses, but the head injury didn’t kill her, either.

She was smart enough to listen {and yes, I’m sure she knew what we were talking about- ask anyone with a border collie and they’ll tell you}. Oreo is just as smart, but she’s only about a year old and very headstrong.

I don’t know if she will WANT to learn.

I don’t know that I can ever trust her again.

I don’t know that the kids will actually LISTEN to me and NOT let her out unsupervised. I am sick of hearing how much they hate the chickens (with the exception of daughter number 2). When they say that, they are basically saying they hate me, and that bothers me. I don’t ask them to love them the same as I do, but gollee, it sure would be nice if they could care about living things a little and have a little regard and respect. And a little thought about keeping them safe.

I need other options.

I just don’t know what they are yet. And, with life in flux right now, I’m not sure the answer is going to be forthcoming, either.

I’m so annoyed. I’m annoyed with the situation, and I’m annoyed because there are no easy answers.

Stay tuned.

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Yep. I am. Now I’ve said it out loud and you know.

I really didn’t intend to end up like this. I’m hoping I don’t stay this way for long, either.

I have entirely too much do and I’m feeling overwhelmed.

I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of painting to be done. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of blood spatter in this house. Seriously. {Kids, this is a prime example of why not to do drugs-¬†you’ll lose your house and the new owners will be totally grossed out when they clean and paint it to make it livable……..}

I haven’t really run since we left. I feel like it’s a guilty pleasure that I can’t allow myself to indulge in when I have¬†so much other stuff that needs to get done.

Honestly, I’d be happy to stay curled up with a book and look out the windows……

I did, however, make my son some curtains. He was tired of having to change his clothes in the closet because he didn’t have curtains. At some point, I’ll take pictures of the whole room, once I get the last set of curtains made and he’s gotten it painted. In the meantime, here they are:

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You may remember me complaining about the bird nesting happening when I was making my girls their sundresses last spring. I’m glad I didn’t pitch my machine. It worked just fine. Hmmph. I’ll have to diddle with it some more when I get back to the dresses.

Once we get things painted, I am not sure how much time I’ll have to be online. Life is changing, and in a really good way.

Have you ever been somewhere where you know that’s where you were meant to be? Like deep down in your soul you knew you were where God wanted you to be?

Ya. It’s like that here. If I have to be buried somewhere, I’m changing my mind. I’ll forgo Tin Cup, Co, for being buried on the farm here somewhere. {Which is legal here, too- one of these days, I’ll write about that, because it’s fascinating!}

Anyhow. What’s taking up my time? Life is taking up my time; mostly in the form of creatures.

We had been here for about a week before we realized that the 5 horses in our front yard were only being fed by neighbors, sporadically. And they had no water.  th_rant

You can see where I’m going with this…… not only are we feeding them, we’re rehabing the mama horse that was near death from¬†starvation. Turns out, she’s a champion barrel horse. As in, big $$$$$. Out of the 5, she’s the only one saddle broke{n}, so we’re starting with her.

She’s an {American}¬†Quarter Horse. There’s another out there that we know he paid $10,000 for¬†and never broke. Ya. She’s an American¬†Saddlebred-¬†you know, the high-stepping¬†show horses? Ya. ūüėĮ Her son is a Saddlebred¬†as well, and then the¬†foal {colt} and the filly are both a Quarter Horse/Saddlebred mix. Boo.

One of these days, I’ll write the whole thing up, with pictures.¬†Mama is now as¬†happy as a clam out there, with her blanket on and in a separate pen so she can eat undisturbed. Baby is eating solids and is weaning, so that’s good.

Besides the painting (seriously, I have gotten two bathrooms finished, and that’s it- while 12 ft ceilings with crown molding is beautiful, it’s a pain to paint…..), we’ve got chickens to set up for, in addition to our own horses {yes, you’re reading that right} and still get things unpacked.

Kitchen appliances came. Turns out, the ovens are too tall, so the cabinet guy needs to come back out. I didn’t get any Christmas baking done. I’m hoping¬†he can come and get that done so I can get some of my breads made soon.

There are SO many loose ends at this point. I lose an entire day going into town for shopping. So far, I haven’t been able to not make two trips in every week, because there is always something urgently needed. Yesterday, it was horse food. Today, it’s groceries, since the big winter storm blew through and it was pouring rain so I just got horse food and came back home before the worst of it hit.

There’s a schedule to keep to, too. Horses are fed at 8 am and 5pm; mama gets lunch as well until she’s gained the last 300 lbs; and most days, I take the girls to feed over at our “neighbors” house¬†in exchange for their weekly¬†riding lessons.

And then, there is the steady stream of visitors. I’ve decided that I’m going¬†to give it another month, and then after that point, we’re going to start handing out paint rollers to visitors. ūüėÄ We absolutely LOVE the company, but it’s not conducive to me getting the painting done.

On top of all of this, we’ve got a new puppy. That means someone needs to supervise her until we can count on her to go to the door every time¬†she needs out. I had no plans for more pets, of course, but when¬†a friend posted a picture on FB of a purebred border collie pup who was being given away because as the runt, she was going to be too small to work with cattle, I couldn’t say no. ūüėÄ

Big dog, you may recall, is a{blonde/red merle}¬†border collie as well, so we are very familiar with the breed. Had this been any other breed, I would have passed, because we don’t have time right now to deal with stubborn doggies {like little dog, for example, who we LOVE to bits and pieces, but is really quite stubborn :lol:}.

But, having lost out kitty a month ago, and seeing her cuteness, I couldn’t resist. So, here is our little Oreo.¬† oreo1

When I can get out of my slacker mode and get more painting done, I’ll be back to write some more. In the meantime, don’t forget me! ūüėÄ

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In unison, they replied, “The dog!”¬† I still can’t believe I asked!¬† What was I thinking?!

We have two dogs; a border collie and a cairn terrier, which is more identified as Toto, from the Wizard of Oz.¬† Both are oddities of their breeds; our older dog is technically a red/blonde merle because of her liver colored nose.¬† She has all the recessive traits of the breed; two blue eyes, a lack of herding interest when it doesn’t suit her, and bad knees.¬†

                                                           

We’ve had her for about 7 years, and estimate she’s about 9 years old.¬† She’s not the dog that rules the roost.¬† ūüôā

Nope, that “honor” goes to our cairn terrier.¬†She was born on Christmas Eve, 2009.¬†Big dog is the dominant dog, she is very patient; more than she needs to be.¬† And while she is the dominant¬†dog in the canine pack,¬†little dog keeps pushing the envelope.¬†We do have the “bone wars,” when big dog takes the big bone from little dog, but little dog has her way of getting even, like sleeping in big dog’s crate.¬†

It is hilarious on the one hand and kind of sad on the other, to see the look on big dog’s face when she comes in from the yard and sees little dog sleeping in her bed.¬† If you have border collies, you know what I say is true: she has this look , “I can’t believe you people are letting her sleep in my bed!¬† How could you!”¬† Poor girl.¬† ūüėÜ Both dogs have such great personalities.¬†

Little dog is also an anomaly for her breed.¬† Technically, she is a toy breed.¬† They are supposed to get to be about 10 to 12 pounds, fully grown.¬†Our pup, at 9 months old, was already 19 lbs and some change.¬† The vet calls her the “great dane” of the breed.¬†She’s considerably longer; this isn’t just a matter of weight.¬† She’s heavier than usual, but she’s longer than usual, too, and doesn’t look fat or overweight. She’s also more loving than usual for the breed, which we don’t mind, and will demand a lap when she decides it’s time. She also has bad knees, due to thinking she’s a world-class athlete.

                   

Both dogs *love* balls, as you can imagine.¬† In the backyard, there is a mostly deflated basketball that they love to play with.¬† While little dog is quite large for her breed, the basketball is easily at least 1/2 as big as she is, which means it’s a riot to watch her drag the thing around.¬† Today she managed to get it into the house.

If there is one thing to know about me, it’s that the yard stuff needs to stay out.¬† I cannot handle bringing yard stuff into the house for any duration of time –¬†the house has enough stuff in it as it is, without bringing outside stuff in! Mother listened to the giggling as little dog ran around the house with the large ball, growling and snorting¬†all the while.¬†After a few minute, mother decided it was time for the ball to go back outside, with little dog left inside.¬†Mother repeated her request numerous times, before finally asking in exasperation:

“Who’s the boss in this house?¬† The people or the dog?!” To which they replied in unison, “The dog!”

As if there was ever any doubt.¬† ūüėČ ūüėÜ

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