Greene Hills Farm

  (Benton City, Washington)
Wholesome By Nature
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May 12- Gosh I’m glad I have a live stock guardian dog....

Spring time is grand. Not only do we have baby greens to tend, but we have baby goats and baby cows and unfortunately, hungry coyotes.  I remember in the Fall of 2007, when I bought Travis- 18 months old, ½ Great Pyrenees,  ½ Anatolian Shepherd, and ½ my monthly salary. Travis had spent his first two summers trailing after his mother, watching over sheep in the Blue Mountains of Oregon.  I felt sure he was just the dog to watch over our chickens and goats…even if our neighbors smirked (and Jamie steamed).  This spring, Travis has proven his worth. Earlier in the spring, we took him out of the chicken pasture because we expected one of our goats to kid, but hadn’t managed to corral her into a pen (so she was loose in the chicken pasture and we didn’t want Travis bothering her). Lo and behold, the next morning, (note, the only morning Travis has ever been gone), I glanced out the bedroom window, and there’s a coyote sniffing around the fence of the chicken pasture, trying to find a way in. Luckily, the fence held! Let’s see, that’s 300 chickens X $10.00/bird = $3000.00 that Travis has been protecting.  A few weeks later, I glanced out the living room window and saw a coyote snooping around the meat chickens. Although the meat chickens are surrounded by an electric fence, it was Travis’s barking that convinced the coyote to move on.  O.K., that’s 300 meat chickens at $3.00/ lbs (average 4.5 lbs) = $4050.00, safe and sound, thanks to Travis. Last week we moved our weed-eating goats and their kids down to the canyon. We thought they were safe surrounded by electric fencing at 6000 volts. Yesterday, Jamie went down to check on them, and one kid was dead and another one missing. We were devastated. Our neighbor, Lori, a veterinarian pathologist, examined the carcass and determined coyote(s) as culprit.  It probably jumped the fence, got away with one of the kids, and was zapped by the fence escaping with the second kid.  Tonight, we took Travis down to the canyon to stay with the goats. I like to think that the goats were relieved to see Travis, and Travis was happy to see his goat friends. Not sure that’s what is going through their minds…  Needless to say, Travis has proven his worth. Tonight, Jamie and I can sleep,  our minds at rest. And hey, my neighbors aren’t smirking anymore!  

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