Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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Fer Coadee 8 months........

Coadee is now eight months old.  The dog eats stink bugs, at least we witnessed her eat four of them.  The last one she regurgitated.  We purchased a large kennel to keep her in during the day/night as needed.  She has proven to be quite the escape artist, she is out more times then she is in, despite our efforts to reinforce incarceration of the animal.  To stop her fleeing, I need to tie down every link at the bottom of the fence.  She just keeps pushing at the links until she can separate them.  For as big as she is, the escape whole is amazingly small. 

Her training is continuing at Carol's and on the farm with us.  We are at a stage, in training, where we do not have to tell her that chickens are out.  She senses they are out and goes and gets them.  Sometimes we see them other times we follow Coadee's gate.

The chickens have learned when she comes out it is time to start heading back to the pen or face Coadee's unwanted attention.  We have not gotten the whole process down yet, but we are getting there.  We would like Coadee to chase the chickens back into the pen.  She has most of that process down, but we are still missing the “how to get the chickens in the pen,” part.  If I am there, I take the bird, say speak to Coadee, so she barks,  and toss the chicken over the fence.  The chicken takes flight and I tell Coadee what a good girl she is.  She has also learned however, that it is easier to pick the chicken up and bring it to the pen instead of chasing it around wildly until the chicken decides to head to the pen.  This has led to some heart stopping moments.

Like the time I came around the corner of the barn to see Coadee with a chicken, head in her mouth, walking back to the pen.  My heart sank, the chicken had to be dead, and it looked limp in her mouth.  I yelled for her to sit which she did.  I was walking to her, I told her to drop the chicken, she does not really know drop yet but she released the chicken, looking up at me with those big brown eyes.  The chicken starting flapping her wings, shook her head, neck feathers bristling somewhat stunned.  I expected the neck to be broken given what I saw.  How she survived is beyond me.

Coadee gently holds things between her jaws, but at the same time, I have had to repair the corner of a wooden step that she chewed away.  She still nips rather hard, but that is her herding instinct coming out, something that my wife has felt.  When she is at Carol's there are plenty of young ducks, chickens, geese, rabbits, kittens, turkey’s her farm is a menagerie of heritage breeds, so Coadee has learned to control her jaws.  She has learned to come when called, fetch, sit, lay, almost knows left versus right paw, drop things from her mouth, stays, speaks, hush (sometimes), help move the chickens, heard or corral them, protect, warn and generally tries to help with what you are doing.

I could be pulling on the chicken pen and she will come put her mouth on the rope and try to pull.  Usually it is opposite of how I am pulling but it is a learning process.  If I happen to be brining in an extension cord, or water hose she has the thing in her mouth going in the opposite direction.  Weeding is one of those helping things too.  She has at least stopped biting my hand when pulling weeds, now she just nestles in next to me and starts digging the dirt with as much gusto as she can muster.  She has the basic concept just not the subtly of what we are doing.  Sometimes she actually gets weeds, more often it is the plant.  We still have work to do on identifying plants from weeds. 

It is getting harder and harder to drop her off at Carol’s but it is the best for her.  She is turning into the asset my wife said she would.  She also brings a certain amount of joy, surprise, frustration, amazement and education to the farm.  We are learning as she is, sometimes she is smarter other times we are.  For ego reasons I am not going to give the percentage breakdown on that last statement.

Coadee is at least working in the rain now, something she was not doing before.  I think she likes being toweled off and has figured out getting wet leads to being dried.  This is a game in itself.  I cover her with a towel and she tries to get the towel to lie on and chew.  She is bigger and stronger so the process takes on the look of a wrestling match more then a drying session.    

However, it is an exercise that both of us seem to relish.  She tries to get the towel while I dry her paws, legs, tail, head and body.  Her tail wags, the whole time, as she competes for towel space.  This is her at three months

Coadee has become one of the good things about farming.  It is just another one of those links in a long chain forged by events, time, people and stubborn determination.

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