By Debbie Apple
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In our 20 years of raising chickens for eggs we have struggled to learn all there is to know about raising the healthiest eggs for our customers. We use only heritage breeds, we feed only organically grown, non soy, non GMO feed, we know what makes them happy and what they need to live the most chicken-like life possible. We are determined to do all we can on a daily basis to keep them as stress free as we possible.  But what could be more stressful than being plucked up off the ground while minding your business just scratching the ground looking for bugs?  Or being yanked down in the middle of the night as you slumber peacefully balanced on your roost?  Not much!!
During our tenure in this egg business we have fought off skunks, snakes, raccoons, weasels, possum, hawks, owls, vultures, neighborhood dogs, cats and other sundry chicken-loving (and I mean that in the vilest sense) varmints.  Once, just after moving back south from Indiana we lost 200 hens to any and all of the above in a matter of a month.  Although to the non country dweller that may seem outrageous and downright disgusting to think of losing that many chickens to predators, it is not an isolated story.  We hear numerous accounts with such high numbers frequently.  I once wrote a post titled “Everyone Loves Chicken, Even Humans” detailing our accounts of fighting off skunk , snakes and raccoons in one week.

Well, we knew that we couldn’t stay in the egg business for long without some plan to foil the evil machinations of all those glowing eyes on the edges of the woods.  So, we moved our sheep protecting dog, Abraham into the chicken yard out of desperation.  We had no idea what would happen; would he feel like he died, went to heaven and awoke in chicken paradise?  Would he chase the poor girls until they couldn’t lay an egg if they tried?

What did happen? For the past three years Abraham has guarded those 300 girls like they were his own, which they were.  Since that day we haven’t lost a chicken to predators.

 

After years of hearing of others losing chickens to all things creeping, crawling and flying we decided to see if Abe could train others to do the same things.  Now Abe is coming in at the ripe old age of 16 and is almost completely deaf but he still cares for the hens like he was a pup.  So with the help of Niamh (our trusty female Pyr) we had a liter of pups and decided to train them to see if they could learn the trade if it was modeled to them from birth.  Here are some of the results of training. As you can see they are preforming the task magnanimously and with much flourish.  We are certainly guaranteed many more years of stress free days for our girls. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment
 
  1. Tiffany Davidson / November 30, 2014 at 6:44 am /Reply

    Just thought of you this AM and was chuffed to see a new post, especially one with a sweet little Pyr face in it. Hope your autumning has been going well, and maybe we’ll drop in on you the next time we visit.
    x Tiff

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