Monday, March 10, 2014

Meet Freckles!

We're taking the Small Farm Chicken project to the next level. After unwillingly feeding the local coyote a plump laying hen dinner about once a month, we finally decided a menu change was in order. And that is how Freckles came to join our family. She's ⅞ Great Pyrenees and ⅛ Akbash; both LGD (livestock guardian dog) breeds and her job will be to convince the local coyote that someone else's chickens will probably taste better than ours. Freckles is not quite 4 months old, but she's already 34lbs. In the month we've had her she's gained 13lbs, so by the time she's all grown up she should make a pretty intimidating presence. I should take a picture of her paw prints... they're enormous!

The kids love her, and she adores them all. I find it fascinating at how gentle she is with them. She's still very much a puppy and wants to play with and chew on almost anything, but when it comes to the kids, she is wonderful. Another very interesting thing I've noticed about her interaction with our little people, is that she singles out the smallest child to companion. She will play and interact with all the kids, but it's almost like she keeps a special eye on the littlest of the kids. And when that kid wanders off away from the rest, Freckles is right there with him/her.

I wasn't going to include this picture since I cropped it to get a closer look (as you can see in the next pic), but this view shows more of the surroundings and gives a better story understanding. Here, Ricka had climbed to the top of our latest gravel pile, and just as I was about to go stand closer to her in case she lost her balance, Freckles climbed up to the top of pile too - almost as if she had read my mind. So, I went and got the camera instead.

Happiness and Loyalty

Even sweeter in real life!

Sunshine and Snow

Here, Ricka kept falling down in the snow, and Freckles would stop her own exploring, rush over and see if there was anything she could do to help. It was really precious.
Ironically enough, two days after we brought Freckles home, the coyotes made their most productive hit on our chicken flock taking out 3 hens and the rooster in one afternoon! Freckles is still learning that the chickens aren't trying to play when they go flapping and squawking away from her when she comes close enough to them. She really doesn't mean to frighten them, but for now, we keep a close eye on her when the chickens are running loose just so she doesn't accidentally get too carried away with herself.

Now I've got to see if I can find a copy of Gene Stratton Porter's book to read to our kids since that's what inspired her name. They're going to love it!