Saying Goodbye to our LGD- Huck the Gentle Giant

We didn’t get to say goodbye to our Huck, but he knew we loved him. He had not been eating well the last week, so we had a vet appointment scheduled. I wasn’t too concerned. The day before he was running and playing with Flossie (the wire-haired pointing griffon) and I saw him coming out of the shop eating a bit.

Friday about 4pm, we went for a family walk in the woods to see the creek while it was full. Huck followed along, but was lagging behind, needing to take breaks, and looked like he felt terrible. I called the vet to move our appointment sooner, but they were booked. So I called another vet we have used in the past, to get an appointment for the next morning.

He was laying under his favorite tree during the late afternoon, and I loved on him, prayed over him. I continued checking on him, he would raise his head so I thought maybe he was just worn out from the walk and we would make it to the vet Saturday.

But about 11:30 Friday night I went to check on him, he was under our son’s window. He hadn’t been dead for very long, but was for certain gone.

We’ve shed so many tears, mainly me, over Huck. He was truly the very best friend, companion, and protector we could’ve asked for.  He was so young, only 3.5 (born October 24, 2017). We don’t know what happened; he was on heart worm medicine and flea and tick medicine. I know those things are 100% though… so it could’ve been that, it could’ve been a heart problem, it couldn’t been a gastro issue. We really don’t know.

So he is buried pup front in the pasture. Saturday morning our son made a cross and his daddy helped him hammer it into the ground.

Ive been struggling with the guilt- guilt of not getting him to the vet sooner, of not noticing things were that bad sooner, of not being there when he died. But I know he knew we loved him, and I know he loved us. We were so blessed to have had him.

There is no way to replace Huck, he was perfect. And I miss him so much, all day and every night. There are no more Huck barks or howls, no wet dog slobber in the morning. There are still lots of tears.

But we do need another LGD that can stay with the chickens and kids on the property. So we are going to try to train one of Huck’s puppies that we kept, to stick around the house. He is a very timid boy, and also gentle and submissive to us, and especially our 8yo son. So we will see how it goes.  If it doesn’t work out, I am sure a puppy is in our future.

 

 

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Livestock Guardian Dogs (puppies) and Goats (kids)

A little bit about how our days work with LGD puppies & goats, goat kids, their jobs, temperament, behaviors, etc. This was filmed back in June. I will do another update soon! I plan to make a series on our

  • feed/schedule
  • vetting
  • supplements
  • kidding/disbudding and banding

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Happy Farm {spring 2019}

Life on the farm is wonderful these days!

We have 11 bouncy puppies. They’re about 8 weeks old and healthy as can be (aka, fat little babies). They’re learning their temporary places among our goats. The goats definitely don’t let them play with them, and will head butt them in a hurry. It is funny to watch the puppies reactions- they whimper and back off, just like they should! I pray each one of these little fur balls grows into a wonderful LGD for their future homes.

Waylon the Future LGD www.QuietintheChaos.com

 

Mama and Waylon www.QuietintheChaos.com

This is Waylon, the boy I chose to keep from our litter. There is one more boy I *really* want to keep, but I think 1 is probably enough. =)

The logistics of raising 11 pups has been interesting, but we have a good system/living situation for them now so it has all worked out great. They have safe place to sleep at night, and during the day can be free with Yona and the goats, which is ideal.

Waylon, future LGD www.QuietintheChaos.com

The goats tolerate 11 pups running around pretty well. Yona (their mama) keeps them in line, and doesn’t let them get too far from where she deems appropriate. I am just astounded by her instincts; she has been an amazing mama. You always hear horror stories about dogs abandoning their pups, attacking them, not raising them. She has done so well, knew when to begin weaning them, corrects them, cleans them … she’s wonderful! It definitely makes me want to do this again!

Happy goats www.QuietintheChaos.com

happy LGD pups www.QuietintheChaos.com

Each puppy has a colored collar now which corresponds to my notes from when they were born. We take notes on their personality/behaviors/reactions on the farm so that pairing them with families/homes will be easier. I want to be sure each pup goes to the right family/person, and if there are any problems, they come back to me, and don’t end up in a shelter or passed around.

Happy goats (yearlings) www.QuietintheChaos.com

Lucy the sweet {pregnant Nubain Doe) www.QuietintheChaos.com

The sun has been shining, and all the animals are happy for the warmth!

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LGD Puppies on the Way {wordless wednesday}

LGD Puppies on the Way

Mama Yona is getting fat! Puppies should be here around Feb5-10.

She is enjoying lots of added calories in her food- cottage cheese, bone broth, cooked veggies, and the mushy bones and fat from making bone broth in the pressure cooker.

 

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Friday on the Farm {trusting our LGDs & Puppies}

Life on a little homestead farm has lots of ups and downs. We have lost chickens to exposure, ducks to cocci, and had some scares with the goats (bloat) this last year.

In the meantime, running in the background, has been our best investment for our family: our Livestock Guardian Dogs.

Huck is bonded to his chickens and stays on the farm/yard/ has freedom to run the property. He stays home and we don’t have to worry about him galavanting about. He loves his animals and his people, is a giant teddy bear with our human babies, and never lets any of his guardians out of his sight (our 4 children included).

Yona is our female, she is Huck’s to train and raise as his working partner. We had her tethered for a long time, letting her accompany us for chores, until she was trustworthy (LGD breeds are slow to mature, slow to let go of their puppy-hood, but due to their size can injure a goat, chicken, sheep, easily if they are too playful).

LGDs On The Farm

Relaxing Our Trust

Sometime in late summer/early fall we decided it was time to let Yona do more than just chores with us; we let her stay in full time with the goats and dexters.

This girl has never been happier!

I think as LGD owners, we can be too hesitant to let go and allow them to do their work in fear of losing goats, kids, chickens … but when they come from working stock and good blood (not show blood), they KNOW instinctively what to do, and with the correct exposure can be ready sooner rather than later. Oh how I wish I had given her the freedom and trust sooner! She is right where she needs to be, in that pasture with the goats and dexters.

She and our largest Dexter have the strangest relationship … he grooms her, licking, nuzzling, and rubbing on her. She leans into him and lets him do whatever it is he is doing?! Maybe it is a dominant behavior on his part? Maybe it is a loving behavior? I can’t tell.

Puppies?!

In November, Yona went into heat (you can read about the benefits of waiting to spay/neuter until they’re older via google)- we thought we made sure Huck couldn’t get to her. But that giant boy jumped through hoops, literally, to get to her. Again, we confined him and he broke out & got to her in the middle of the night. (hindsight- we should have separated her into the cattle trailer where he couldn’t get to her, instead of trying to confine him).

We are now *almost* certain she is due with puppies! It is very exciting and nerve wracking. We will see the vet to hopefully confirm if she is expecting, and then we will begin preparations for ear;y February pups! I am excited to see Yona and Huck work together to raise pups to become great LGDs one day- homes will be selected based on many factors, but specifically for personality matching, fencing, etc. I know the hardships of trying to keep an LGD home without proper fencing (thankfully we are almost done with our entire pond-pasture fencing!), they’re loud barkers, and chew everything!

I see how many of these LGD breed dogs are in shelters because they either went to homes without proper fencing, or city homes where they aren’t really meant to be, thus causing problems with chewing, barking, escaping, etc. They require huge amounts of time and dedication, do not do well with changes, and are NOT quiet. They’re smart, independent thinkers, work best in pairs, and are truly amazing workers.

I look forward to the possible puppies and new lives here on the farm. Please pray we have a safe, healthy first experience!

 

 

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Raising LGD’s- the first heat

This is what happens when your partner in crime, your BFF, is put in prison.

LGD Livestock Guardians in Heat

Just kidding … this is what happens when you are an LGD, your family doesn’t want to have you spayed too young (I’ll let my readers google that), and you go into heat.

Heidi is in heat, right on time at 10 months old, and Huck is just devastated that his working buddy is separated from him. (Or his hormones are going haywire, but it’s cuter to think he just misses her). Being that we homeschool, and are home quite a bit most days, I have been able to keep a close eye on her. I am *not* I repeat *not* a dog expert. Or a breeding expert. I honestly know very little about how dog’s cycles work. But I am in some pretty awesome support groups for LGD owners, and they have gotten me this far. Obviously delayed spaying isn’t for every farmer, but it is what we have planned to do from the beginning for Heidi. When we do get spayed, I plan to use a veterinarian that keeps the hormones in tact, to protect her disposition, health, and guarding spirit. =)

We chose to separate Heidi into the cattle trailer during her heat; we can keep her safe from the elements in the shop, Huck can still guard, patrol, and keep an eye on his sweet puppy. She is HIS puppy after all-he helped raise her and I’ve always referred to her as “your puppy” when we talk. Yes. We talk.

Ehum, anyway. In the cattle trailer she is also safe from stray dogs that may catch wind of her, and Huck, of course. She has room to move, eat, drink, and be bored to death. And I know she is bored. Poor girl.

We have about 2 more weeks of this, and then freedom!  (insert that cheesy commercial song here)

I really don’t want my puppy to have puppies. She would be an amazing LGD example, she and Huck both. They’re well mannered and good at their jobs for being so young. But obviously, that isn’t what we have planned for her.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Friday on The Farm {Babies, Babies, Babies!}

Ok y’all, I know it isn’t Friday.  =)  But I didn’t have time this past Friday to write anything, so here I am on a Monday evening writing about a wonderful day I had with my kiddos.

Spring has been around the farm for a while, but it is finally LOOKING a LOT like spring, and the babies GALORE prove it.

Oh the beauty!  The grass is green, there is a nice breeze, the garden is GROWING, the chickens are happy, the dogs are laying, the sun is shining, and the kids picked up their wagons and toys so the yard is semi-clutter-free.  =)

50 meat chickens

the meat chickens in tractor coop, just before we moved them to a new area with fresh grass

These are our new baby chicks!  we have 3, but left one in the brooder with a fellow left over chick … there is a story here.

We ordered 60 meat chickens, they sent about 65 or so + one lone little “exotic” (they’re usually roosters).  So we have 55 or so meat chickens left, living out in the tractor coop so they can pasture.  But we had this one little chick who is much smaller than the Big old waddling meat chickens, and s/he needed another chick with it, (because they don’t do well alone).  Initially husband said no; after a trip to the farm store this weekend with the kids they came home with 3 silver laced wyandotte pullets.

So here are two of them.

Image may contain: grass, bird, plant, outdoor and natureWhat else …

The garden is coming along so great!  I really need to look up how to harvest lettuce.  I am most excited about what we planted this year.  We are doing a lot of plants we either haven’t done in years or have never done, including broccoli, okra, watermelon, cantaloupe, sugar snap peas, banana peppers, lettuces, and cabbage!  We also planted some daikon radishes from seed (hoping they come up), so I have everything for my fermented kraut except carrots (which aren’t worth the time they take to grow haha).

the compost bin (which we will soon be updating, somehow) and the Arkansas rose bush that we have literally moved all over this country)

I think these are the cabbages …

peas that will hopefully grow up the trellis

 

my little lettuces! I’m so excited about them

 

We’ve been enjoying lots of asparagus and eggs.

Oh!  EGGS!  Ya’ll! My mammy duck is broody!  One of the really dark campbell ducks (possibly a cayuga cross), spent a month laying eggs and getting her nest all … nest-ed.  About 8-10 days ago she started sitting!  I’ve only caught her off one time and it was too bright out to candle the eggs, so I still don’t know if they are any good.  Drake Campbells only have a 30% fertility rate, so unless some of those 18+ eggs are crossed with our pekin drakes, there probably aren’t many fertile eggs.

Mammy {the broody campbell duck}

Anyway, I am excited!  Hopefully we will have ducklings in a few more weeks (or 3…).

And, speaking of baby things-this little one here is Heidi.  She is our 12 week old Great Pyrenees. (I think I mentioned in a previous post that Anne had a lot of genetic issues with her mouth and jaws so she was returned.  She should have never been sold to begin with … anyway).

Heidi is pretty dang cute, and feisty … and nothing like Huck!  haha  She has a lot to learn.  Like, a lot. But she will get there, just slower than Huck I think, mostly because she is truly puppy.  Huck has always been an old man.  He does a good job of keeping her in line and teaching her about pack manners and such.

Sometimes he literally just lays on her lead so she can’t keep pouncing off.  haha (see the 2nd picture below)

Heidi {great pyrenees LGD 12 wo}

 

I can ask Huck, “Where’s your puppy?!” and he will almost always go right to her and just lay on her. =)  So far she is learning to do okay around the chickens.  She doesn’t chase or play when around them, but when in the pen part of the chicken run she will try to chase through the pen.  So that behavior has to stop.  I am working on it, and will let you know how that goes.

 

He most definitely interacts with Heidi differently than he did Anne, which is interesting to me.  He knows she is different in character and treats her as such.  They’re such awesome dogs.

Huck and Heidi

 

Each of my babies and me today:

Friday on The Farm

 

 

We spent the afternoon doing chores, loving on dogs, chicks, and cats, then rolled the ball back and forth.  Dinner was in the oven and everything was perfect … then the cows got out.  That was frustrating and exciting and exhausting.  But they’re back in now.  Stubborn hamburgers.  I love them dearly, and I will miss them after freezer camp, but am looking forward to a freezer full of grassfed, hormone free beef for my family.

 

SIlver Laced Wyandotte QuietInTheChaos.com

www.Quietinthechaos.com

he started acting all wild and barn-catty right after this … cause he’s a barn cat

www.Quietinthechaos.com

www.Quietinthechaos.com

dirty babies and chicks!

 

A New LGD on the Farm {Simple Woman’s Daybook 31}

Outside my Window …
It is warm, and cloudy.  We spent most of the morning outside playing and working with the dogs.

I am thinking…
I am so thirsty!  Where is my water …

I am thankful…
spring has come early.  BUT, I wasn’t ready to put away my leggings and boots yet.  =(

In the kitchen…
bone broth is waiting to be moved to the freezer, ham and beans are in the crock pot, and i need to finish cleaning form breakfast … (it is 1:30!)

I am wearing…
a dress

I am creating…
nothing right now … well, I have a few things started but haven’t worked on them in a month!

I am going…
to make phone calls this afternoon.  SO many phone calls

I am reading…
Nothing really, just have too much to do for reading lately.

I am hoping…
We get some rain soon; I hate mud but we could really use a wet spring!

I am looking forward to…
one of my girlfriends just told me she is headed to KS in May!  I am hoping some more of the girls can come, but aaaah!  That is exciting!

I am learning…
more about dogs than I ever thought I would need to know.  LGDs are just miraculous animals; they’re so smart, and sensitive, insightful, and even better than all those things, they know what needs to be done before a human needs to ask it of them.

Around the house…
well, the floors are vacuumed, I can say that.  Otherwise, it isn’t a pretty sight!

A favorite quote for today…

One of my favorite things…

cause puppies!  I realize I haven’t given Anne with an E a proper introduction yet.  It will probably be here Firday or next week. =)
Huck and Anne LGD for the farm

A few plans for the rest of the week:
-school, get Huck his lepto vax, co-op, my PT appointment, maybe get some sewing done …

A peek into my day…
bone broth

Here is a link to how I make my bone broth.  And HERE is a link to my new favorite crock pot- IT IS HUGE!

 

Happy Tuesday!

Simple Woman {Daybook}
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