Monday, 25 May 2009

Another one bites the dust

Another hen has disappeared under suspicious circumstances and Mr Fox is the prime suspect. Still only getting 3 - 4 eggs a day. Mike is going to try and fence in the top paddock and include the farm yard so that the chickens are contained in a smaller area. Not sure yet if it will be possible but worth a try.

My friend, Pauline, who has been a dog trainer for years came to visit the alpacas which she owns and at the same time give me some help with Tia. We did a lot of work with her on a line and explored various ways of telling her that alpacas are bad news. She is very good on the lead now and does not pull to get them even if we are quite close. She has also stopped lunging out at them when we walk past. We have made the top paddock as Tia proof as possible by putting logs along the bottom of the gates so that she cannot duck under and get to the alpacas. She is getting her meals one morsal at a time and has to come to me. If she does not come I give her food to the other dogs. This is what I have already been doing for a couple of weeks but I was just withdrawing the food until she came rather than actually giving it away. She seems to improve but today we have had a really bad day where she would not come back even in the garden. In the paddock she has started running off towards the gate which leads to the alpacas. I am really worried that she will find a way out, but on the other hand need to teach her to come to us even when she wants to do something more exciting.She really will not be able to stay if she gets in with them again as she drives them towards the fences and they try to jump over. One of them is going to get badly hurt eventually. We really love her but if she becomes an incurable stock chaser life will be too stressful for us to continue with her.

The good news is that in the tia-proof paddock most of the time I can actually call her back so her stock chasing is not as strong as it could be, but of course it is very rewarding and the more times she succeeds in getting in with them the less likely it is that we can cure her. Maybe it is not fair to keep her here with temptation always present. We are not sure.

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