July 24, 2012

Goodbye Kody

Some of you probably remember when we got Kody, our Great Pyrenees pup. He was an unexpected addition to the homestead, when we agreed to take him from a gentleman whose wife wasn't too keen on having such a big breed dog. Kody, now 6 months old, has grown into a very handsome fellow. He's been a good companion to Kris and being a livestock guardian breed, we'd hoped he would fit in well.

He's also been a high energy dog, happy, loveable, playful, even a tease, and with a keen eye for anything amiss. His only "fault" was that he loved to chase. Chasing Kris was okay with us, but chasing chickens, goats, and Riley was not. He received many a scolding for this and spent quite a bit of time in by himself in a stall for "time out." He's also a smart dog and caught on quickly, but being a puppy, had frequent slips in his self control, especially if we weren't watching.

The chickens were terrified of him. When Mama Hen hatched her chick, the dogs were moved in with the bucks, just to keep Baby Chick safe. Chickens of course, go where they want and some of them made their way into the buck pasture, the braver ones. Even so all was well (except for chasing Buddy) until last Sunday.

Sunday afternoon Dan discovered Kody running around with a dead, mangled chicken in his mouth, one of the Barred Hollands. While we didn't witness his killing it, it is highly likely considering his continued chicken chasing. In addition, he would now associate the taste of chicken with the birds, a very bad situation indeed. Kody had to go.

When Mr. M gave Kody to us, he asked that we call him in the event we ever needed to get rid of him. Dan did just that and within the hour Mr. and Mrs. M were here to pick him up. Mrs. M had agreed to take him back without hesitation, giving this sad situation a happy ending for everyone except the chicken.

I'm not sure which Barred Holland Kody got. I had two, which were identical. If I had my druthers, I'd rather lose Mrs. Mean, but it's not like I had a choice. I'll just have to watch and see how the reamining one interacts with the others. If she chases the Buff Orpingtons around relentlessly, then I'll know that Mrs. Mean lives on.

Unfortunately I have no updated puppy photos to go with this post. I'm still having computer issues so I haven't taken a lot of photos lately. I ordered a new modem, which should be here this week. Hopefully I can get back online then! You'll be the first to know if I do.


  1. Sorry that Kody didn't work out. But it will be a huge worry off your shoulders, and how nice for the previous owners to take him back. When we had to get rid of our adopted German Shepherd (for chasing chickens, eating chickens, and eating goats!!) we were so worried that we wouldn't find a home for him. But we did! She didn't have livestock, didn't want livestock and I'm happy to report that the dog & new owner are happy now.
    Glad your story worked out ok.....well, except for the chicken.

  2. Oh, dang. So sorry to hear that you had to deal with yet another not so very pleasant situation.

    I think one of the things that makes homesteaders/self-sufficient people successful is the ability to look at a situation rationally and make the necessary changes. Kudos to you and Dan for doing just that.

    It seems like a win-win situation in that Kody's original owners agreed to take him back. Crossing fingers that Kody can have a good home there forever.

  3. I'm sorry that things didn't work out with Kody, but happy that he was able to go back "home." I'm sure that Kody is going to be happy too.

    I guess the silver lining is that it will mean less dog food and less dog poop for you now.

    Hopefully Kris adjust well and didn't pick up any of Kody's habits.

  4. I am so sorry that Chase Chicken had to die. One of the things I like about my tractors is the fact that they protect my girls from the dogs that come to visit. My Fat Neck can hold a bun in his mouth that the ladies will jump up and peck out of his mouth. (Until he gets the sign that he can eat it!) We had a Golden Retriever with bad manners visit and he circled the boxes, barking like a mad man. We didn't get eggs for three days because of that. Farm dogs are, out of necessity, supposed to behave. If they can't, then they can be someone else's pet.

    If Mrs. Mean is the one who survives, her behavior may change. My Brown and Grey was so mean to everyone until the hawks ate two out of the four. She has reached an accord with Black Chicken and is even allowing her feathers to grow back. Who knew? Sometimes the trauma of seeing another chicken die will alter their outlook. Mean chickens make good soup, too, you know...

  5. that's a pity, but for owners with livestock I'd say a dog with the "chasing gene" is no good:( I have learned my lesson and wouldn't take more than one puppy in a time. we started out with two and found it quite difficult to train both of them together. and if one starts to chase it usually doesn't take long for the 2nd one to join in the fun... good thing that you've been able to give her back! and as Renee said: less dog food to pay for:) is Kris searching for her now?

  6. So sorry it didn't work out with Kody but a real blessing that he has gone to a good home that you know. Sorry that you lost one of your hens...that is always sad.

    It will be good for you to get your new modem and get back online. We have had some electrical storms lately and every time they come too close, I think of you and start unplugging all electronics!! xo

  7. Hi Leigh ~ sorry to hear you lost a chicken, but better one chicken than an entire flock or even your goats. We've learned that usually what makes a Great Pyrenees a good guardian dog, is for that dog to have been raised in a working guardian dog environment, with working guard parents, bred from working guard parents. A sad story.... a friend of ours raises goats as a hobby, knew about the Pyr. guarding abilities and brought a Pyr. home who had not been raised/bred in such an environment. The dog promptly jumped from the bed of his truck and killed @ 5-6 goats, maybe more, before this man had the wherewithal to try to figure out how to catch the dog. Luckily, when he called, the dog returned to the bed of the truck and our friend returned the dog to its previous owner. Also, once a dog, even a 'guard' dog tastes blood.... they will attack other livestock. One of my previous neighbor's Great Pyr. snacked on a couple of my chickens right in front of me. (This was when I lived at a different property). They were commercial goat producers.... and kind of blew me off until a few months later, the dogs began systematically killing their goats. Those dogs were luckily placed in a loving home with no livestock. Animal Planet did a story on the Great Pyr. that is a great video to watch and learn more about this dog breed.

    You and your husband were very wise to nip this in the bud before more of your livestock were killed. Good Luck.

  8. Dear Leigh and Dan, I send you both BIG hugs and blessings! You have both been through SO much! xx

  9. We once had a dog, a sweet dog. We noticed soon after we got her (from a shelter) that chickens were dissapearing. But no bodies. Weeks went by. Chickens missing. One day Hubbie walked past a pile of dirt and saw a chicken head sticking out, watching him. The dang dog was burying all the chickens ALIVE!! She went bye bye real quick to a faraway chickless friend

  10. How wonderful that Kody's original family took him back. Sorry you had to feed him these months (including that final chicken dinner!) with no compensation, and I hope Kris doesn't get too lonely now.

  11. Fingers crossed it was Mrs. Mean!

  12. That's a sad situation for everyone, but I'm happy Kody had a home to go to with people he knows. I think this solution makes the most sense for your lifestyle. When our dog killed our chickens, it was the last remaining hen that found a new home and I had to work at forgiving the dog. It's great you don't blame Kody for being who he is.

  13. Carolyn, as much as we loved him, it truly is a relief to not worry about Kody's chicken chasing. I've heard German Shepherds are really bad about hunting livestock. Hard lesson to learn, isn't it?

    Mama Pea, I think you're absolutely correct. Sometimes things just happen and we have to accept it as a matter of life. I hope Kody likes going back to his old home. He's used to acres, not a suburban yard, so I'm sure it will be an adjustment, hopefully a quick one.

    Renee, me too. Cutting our dog food bill in half is one relief I admit. Kris seems to be doing well. He looked for Kody the first day but now seems to be happy to have all our attention to himself! I did have to scold him for chasing Buddy the other day, but he quit immediately and gave me his infamous hangdog look. He's had so much trouble in the past with his elbow pain, that he tends to not be as active.

    Barb, good point about the chicken tractors. The remaining Barred Holland has been pretty mellow; maybe it truly was a life changing experience!

    Bettina, yes, we could see that having the two dogs. The progress we'd made previously with Kris seemed to take a backward step or two. He got one severe scolding for chasing Buddy and has been well behaved ever since. He loves human approval.

    Sherri, oh those electrical storms! Still no modem for me but hopefully soon.

    Lisa, thanks. Hard lesson learned here. Kody's parents were both working Prys, so we had high hopes he'd follow in their steps. Alas it was not the case. And once he got the taste for chicken, we had to get rid of him as soon as possible, for the reason you say. Kris is one quarter Pry, but has a different personality than Kody. I think he's enough dog for us.

    Pam, thanks!

    Donna, that's horrible! Whew, one really has to take care when it comes to getting dogs to live around livestock.

    Michelle, dog food plus vet visits and vaccinations. At least we didn't spring to have him neutered! Kris looked for him the first day but now appears to be just as content without him. He has all the attention, toys, and food to himself!

    Debbie, LOL Me too.

    Sylvanna, good point about forgiveness. Anger at anything that is just being itself doesn't seem to help, does it? I think finding the right animals to live with is key. We've made change ups with goats and roosters too, and it seems to work best when everybody gets along and fits in the greater scheme of things.

  14. Sorry to year about Kody buy some times you've to do what you've got to do and lucky for you the orginal owners would take him back.
    Sorry to hear about your chicken.

  15. I'm glad that this dog has a home to go back to anyway, and I'm sure you got attached to the little guy which makes it even tougher. Richard

  16. Awww Leigh, I'm sorry to hear this. But at least he had a good place to go.

  17. Goodbye Kody. It sounds like you'll be missed, just not by the chickens.

  18. Too bad, but atleast his former owners could take him back...

  19. Sorry to hear that Kody did not work out for your farm. I am sure he will be happy back in his original digs. How is Kris reacting without Kody to play with?

  20. Glad that Kody's original owners were able to take him back. You were right to deal with the problem quickly. Killing any of your other animals is a hard habit to break, and having him spend most of his life in "time out" or on a chain would have been bad. Glad that Kris is adjusting well


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