Two weeks ago Pete was out feeding our flock and noticed coyote tracks. Inside of our fenced pasture.
The coyote had jumped our electric fence with one easy bound and exited over the other side, like it was nothing.
And while it didn't approach our animals it was a wake up call for us for the coming lambing season. We need to be more careful. And so for the first time ever we felt it was time for a livestock guard dog (LGD).
Enter Grandpa, stage right.
The fluffy guy is "Grandpa". He came named, and while we're considering renaming him it is pretty fun to say, "Did you give Grandpa his dog food?" Or, "Grandpa's not used to walking on a leash." Or, "Grandpa just peed all over the wood pile."
Maybe we won't change his name after all.
Grandpa is a maremma, one of several big, white, fluffy LGD breeds that are known to be hardy, protective, and good-natured guardian animals. He needed rehoming when some more dominant dogs at a friends' farm refused to accept him. They kindly offered him to us.
He's pretty shy and cautious but also very affectionate, and after only three days he's grown on all of us (me especially).
Well, he's grown on most of us.
There are still are a few skeptics among us.
Namely: all of the sheep and goats.
(Grandpa isn't sure what all the drama is about.)
So for the time being we've set him up in an adjoining pasture where he can keep watch over the flock without getting too close so they can get used to each other. Mostly the sheep and goats stand around and stare at him, daring him to come closer. (Poor guy.) Especially at mealtime. (I think they wonder why he's eating something that looks like their grain.)
Indeed, he's a bit nervous about their stares, their charges, and their and stomping hooves.
It turns out under all that fluff he's just a big baby.
Grandpa is already trained to protect goats and other livestock, so now it's more a matter of teaching the flock that he's friendly. (Right now if we let him in they'd likely give him quite a beating.) After they're better acquainted he will live with them, wherever they are on our farm.
And come lambing season, that means everyone will sleep a little easier.
Welcome to the farm, Grandpa. We're so glad you're here. (Even if the girls are giving you a hard time about it.)
Any name suggestions?
Thank you M. And J. So very much.