We have two new additions to the homestead!
Years ago, when my desire for a homestead was just beginning, I knew that I wanted a Great Pyrenees dog. They are livestock guardian dogs and they want nothing more than to be with the animals they are protecting. Often times, you CAN’T bring them in the house as all they would do it worry and stress about their “herd” outside. .
They are big, beautiful, outdoor, working dogs – that’s my kind of dog.
I almost bought a Great Pyrenees puppy a few months ago but Lance was still a puppy himself and we were so busy getting settled and working on projects that HAD to get done that I decided to wait. I saw how hard and time consuming it was to train Lance and I knew that Great Pyrenees are even harder to train so I put that desire on hold. I knew we needed to get something to guard our goats when we get them in the spring. I have been told that donkeys are great for protecting goats from predators and then I heard that llamas are even better. I thought, “Cool, we’ll just get a llama.” Do you know how much llamas cost!? Thousands of dollars! Who knew?
Well, last month our friends who own the off-road park asked me if we would consider taking their two GPs. Because the park has guest and events it just wasn’t ideal for the dogs to be able to roam. GPs are known for wondering far from home and not staying on the property so we took them for a trial period to make sure they would not just leave or wander into the street. We are pretty remote but cars fly down the main road and the last thing I wanted was for the dogs to wander down to the road get hit by a car.
They are also known to not listen and be very hard to train. They have a job to do that is more important than your requests for them to "come" or "stay". Humans' silly requests are secondary to their job.
Just a few days into their trial period we fell in love with them. They are gentle giants. The best word to describe them is solemn.
They lie around most of the day, (trying to keep cool or waiting for belly rubs) but right around dinner time, as the sun is setting, they come alive and take their patrol posts. One sits in the front yard and the other one sits at the crossroads of the house/trailer/hog barn area. When they hear a suspicious sound, they go together to check it out and bark at it for the next 20 minutes.
They bark a lot at night but it is a low bark that is pleasant. (as dogs barking goes) We don’t notice it much, we have always slept with sound machines so we don’t hear them in middle of the night.
Having these two have enabled us to get our meat chickens much more easily.
I feel pretty safe putting the chicks out in the chicken tractor since they will be guarded at night. Already, one of the dogs killed this opossum who was probably thinking he would have a chicken snack.
We now have 5 cats, 3 dogs, and 45 chickens! That makes me wonder what we’ll have a year from now....