The “Four Dog Shuffle” and herding chickens

I mentioned earlier that I’m taking care of the Landlord’s Great Dane and Monty (Fern’s brother) until the middle of the week. Monty was supposed to go home on Monday, but that got delayed until Wednesday. Hmmmmm, four dogs and three kennels, what do you do with the fourth?

Yesterday I left Monty out knowing he’d stick with the other dogs in their kennels, which he did. The property is almost completely fenced-in at this point so he was safe being loose. He was the one I thought would get in the least amount of trouble loose. It was a bit of a pain last night when I got home because I wanted to work Gel first, but didn’t want to leave the dogs in the kennels any longer than they are normally in them during the day and of course, Monty needed to be put up. I have a 50 x 50 “fenced in” (term used loosely here, it was my first fencing project and it isn’t terribly secure) down in the lower part of my property, so I put Monty, the Great Dane and Fern in there while Gel and I brought the sheep out. Fern promptly found a hole in the fence and tried to get out, but I stopped her.

I have a securely fenced area, but the chickens are in there moving manure around and I didn’t want to move them out and of course the dogs would have a grand time chasing chickens if I put them in there with the chickens.

After I worked Gel, I let the dogs out and started up the ATV to take them for a run. The Great Dane doesn’t know to follow the ATV like the Border Collies do and she couldn’t keep up anyway. When I tried to catch her planning to put her back in a kennel until we returned, she avoided me and headed towards the area fenced in by ElectroNet. Fine, I thought, that will hold you just as well and “herded” her into the enclosure. I turned the power on just in case she decided she was going to run through the fence.

When we got back from the ATV run, I put Monty in a kennel and gave him his dinner and did the same with the Great Dane. At 9:00 I came out and brought the Great Dane down to my Landlord’s cabin and crated her for the night and then brought Monty, Fern and Gel back in the house with me.

This morning, I planned a bit better. After our walk this morning, I put Monty and the Great Dane in the securely fenced-in area (the chickens were still up in their nighttime pen) until I got ready for work. When I came out, I brought both Monty and the Great Dane out of the fenced-in area, tied them in separate places and gave them their breakfast. The Great Dane has expressed a preference for meat over her kibble and my dogs think kibble is a tasty treat. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I also tied Fern so she’d stay out of the way. Then Gel and I brought the chickens out of the fenced-in area, which is no easy task. Chickens do not herd well, especially meat-bred chickens who can barely move on a normal basis. Gel is very gentle with the uncooperative chickens. If they don’t move, he gently nudges them forward with his nose. The rooster, being a rooster, always has to go a different way than the hens go so we did a lot of “looking back” to retrieve the rooster.

After we got the chickens out, I put Monty and the Great Dane in the fenced-in area, put Fern up in her kennel, then went out into the side pasture to bring the sheep in. It’s a three-ring circus around my house under normal circumstances, adding in two additional dogs, especially one who has no manners and is big enough to drag me all over the property or run me over if I get in her way, makes it all that much more difficult.

I don’t know how people manage more than a few dogs at a time.