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Well, another year slipped by somehow. I am pretty sure the adoption of this girl put a halt to “extra time” around here.

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Eve is an Anatolian Shepherd which is a breed of Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD). We have pretty much decided that the word shepherd is more a of a description of their body type that their purpose. They rarely herd anything, but are excellent guardians.

This is her mug shot from the shelter after her arrest for poaching the neighbor’s poultry. She was about a year old, and didn’t have a job, so she went looking for things to do. As kids are wont to do, they usually pick the wrong things without parental direction.

Thankfully a very wise Deputy Sheriff Animal Control Officer had an understanding of the breed, and negotiated with the poultry owner to find her a new home where she wouldn’t bother him any longer. We brought one of our sassiest goats with us on the day we interviewed her, and they got along just fine.

We started her out on a long line and only allowed her out with the stock while we were in the pasture. She fell in love with Emily and Jaiden and was their protector and fellow puddle jumper.

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A week after her arrival, she let herself out of the pen, installed herself on a wire spool to watch the goat herd and hasn’t looked back. She found herself a job!

She has weathered her first kidding season, show season, and breeding season with minimal issues. She has enjoyed the addition of two new barn kittens, as Mookie refused to play with her, or even inhabit the same barn.

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This year she is a little sad, as the first baby is being dam raised, and Momma isn’t a big fan. She still gets some play time in though.

I can recommend this breed as a great livestock guardian dog. I would, however, strongly encourage you to go through a reputable breeder of working stock to get started with this breed. Not all of the dogs are suitable for every situation. A good breeder will help you find a good match for your situation.

Anatolians are vey independent thinkers, and will take obedience commands under advisement and get back to you. This trait is very valuable when covering a large range and protecting their herd. Not so handy if you want an obedient house pet. They also have a nifty habit of digging holes large enough to completely conceal themselves and most of the Seahawks Offensive line. Again, not good for nicely landscaped and manicured yards.

We have had five of these dogs so far. All but one of them have been wonderful. Our one failure was put into a bad situation by her original owners not being honest with us regarding her personality. She didn’t like men or children; we have both. Cars were mostly unknown to her, and we front a busy road. Goats were much smaller than the horses she had been with and she was wary of them. Sadly, we could not find her a perfect home where she could be left to mind a herd of larger livestock with minimal human contact. She had bitten me in fear, refused to stay inside the fences, and crossed the final line when she started pacing cars and people walking along the road. For the safety of all parties involved, we had to put her down.

You can see why I was very leery of another rescue dog. Thankfully, we gave Eve a chance and went to see her for a job interview! This girl is almost the polar opposite of the last rescue. Given the chance, I think Eve would like to become a lap dog in the house!

Otis, King of the Spool

She has even made through-the-fence friends with Otis our old man. (I would let her in the buck pen to play with him, but her long hair would hold that buck-funk smell way too long!) The other issue with that is she will never be trustworthy around the poultry. The chicken coop is inside of the buck pasture. That would be way too much temptation for her to resist and we don’t want to invite disaster.

I know we are looking forward to many more years with this girl keeping our goats safe.IMG_0613

While cleaning out a couple of cabinets this winter, I found several items that we no longer needed, or may have never needed, but ended up with anyway.

I found a baby bottle/food warmer tucked in there. Huh. I’m not sure if it was ever used for Emily. Since she’s nine now, I probably won’t be warming any bottles for her again.  What am I going to do with it now?

Well I wonder how warm the water actually gets. Could I use it to defrost and warm a bottle of colostrum for the baby goats? I hate to leave the bottle warming on the stove top in the house since I’m not there to keep eyes on process. Sometimes things get hung up and I can’t get back up to make sure I haven’t made colostrum pudding, or run the pan out of water. Worst case scenario, I try it, it doesn’t work well for my purposes and it just makes a later trip to the thrift store.

Bottle Warmer

It looks like I have a new barn buddy. I dropped a bottle with 500ml of frozen colostrum in there, added warm water, and set it to 2. By the time the doe kid was born, dried off and ready to eat, so was the colostrum. (Maybe an hour?)  I actually cranked it to 3 to ‘finish’ heating it, and I got the milk too hot and had to cool it down. The lowest setting would be good if it was already warm when you brought it down to the barn. Level three is ‘coffee pot’ hot. (Oooh! I wonder if my ceramic travel coffee cup will fit in there? If it does, NO more cold coffee by the end of morning chores!)

If you have one, know someone with children who might have one, or you see one at a garage sale/thrift store, you might think about adding it to your kidding kit. It will take a 20 ounce, standard-sized diameter soda bottle, but that is about the maximum. It is oval shaped, so you could float the 4 ounce Gladware cups in it too. I haven’t tried it with the food saver bags, but my guess is they would work in there too.

Picante is the herd referee. Each animal seems to have a job in our herd. Hers is to settle arguments. Sometimes she’s calm about it, other times, I think she trained with some mafia types.

Picante + Sidewalk Chalk

She is a softie for scratches, especially from the little kids. We had the sidewalk chalk out and all of us kids were drawing on the rubber stall mats in the barn. Apparently large chalk sticks have excellent scratching surfaces. She could not have cared less that she was starting to look like a giant Easter egg. Someone was rubbing her face and neck in all of the itchy spots, and it felt sooo good. The color stayed on for several days. Our grandson wanted to “Go color number 2 goat again, please” on his next visit.

I’m pretty sure that none of the other goats gave her any grief over her unusual coloring for those few days. Not that they didn’t think it was odd, but it wasn’t worth a fight to make fun of her.

The goats were moved in to their new barn yesterday. The girls weren’t really too sure about the whole thing. They had never been in a building with ceilings that high. Most of the “shelters” that they have lived in since they were born on the farm have not been much over 8 feet tall. (The height of a sheet of plywood stood on end.)

(A bit of hay does wonders!)

They were a bit leery of the space, and the way sounds bounce around in there. It won’t echo quite so bad once we have the concrete pad poured and the hay stored inside. The tall goats made quick work of figuring out how to get into the hay feeder. The vertically challenged ones took a little longer to work out a solution. Saturday’s job is to put up a toe rail for them to step up on so they can get their heads in to the feeder holes.

The fence and front gate sections were put in, and seem to be doing their job just fine. Everybody is still where we put them the night before. We will add some hot wire to keep them from standing on the fence and slowly pulling it to the ground.

We did have to do a bit of trenching until we can get the rain water drained off the way we want it. As we were working, it reminded me of the special we saw on how the Grand Canyon was carved. I do believe that we had an added benefit of using a grub-hoe and a trenching shovel, but it was still fascinating to see the power that water has to create or destroy, even on that small of a scale. Our efforts seem to have paid off. The barn did not get any more water inside, and the puddling, mini-lakes have drained. I am sure the EPA/ground-water guy will not be happy with our answer to keeping the barn from having an indoor water feature. He can get in the line behind the quilting police for “People who want to have a word with me on how I do things.”

So, all in all it was a Happy Hay Day, and how can you start out a year better than that? I suppose you could go to my Aunt & Uncle’s to have a New Year’s sandwich party and visit with the family like we did. But, since there is limited parking at their place, and you don’t know all of the inside family jokes, you will have to find your own way.

Happy New Year to you all!