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Tag Archives: chickens

Yaris is a big fan of the laser pointer.  Yaris has a pretty high prey drive.  As a puppy, only a few months old, she somehow caught a small lizard and ate the head off before I realized what she was doing in the yard.  She had her shots and all by that time, but still…I didn’t want her eating foreign creatures in the yard.

At least two times, she’s caught birds in the yard.  Don’t ask me how.  Yaris isn’t the sneakiest of dogs.  Yet, she was somehow able to catch birds.  I know because she left me the gift of a half-eaten carcass and feathers all over the house.

She also caught that chicken one time.  That one rooster that dreamt of being a scuba diver.  That incident wasn’t so much stalking prey as it was…just grabbing a chicken out of the pen.  It’s ok now.  Yaris  is friends with chickens.  She also makes a pretty good chickenherd.

But anyway, I point this all out to illustrate Yaris’ high prey drive.  And because she has such a high prey drive, she is very fond of chasing light spots from flashlights or the beam spot from a laser pointer.  It really is her favorite thing.

You might think it’s an obsession, but Yaris has demonstrated that she knows where these spots of light are coming from.  She understands that flashlights produce light spots.  If she wants to chase a light spot, she’ll try and nudge you toward a flashlight or she’ll look at a flashlight and then look at you.

If she sees someone holding the mouse that has the laser pointer built in, she gets really excited and looks around for the beam spot.  If she doesn’t see one, she’ll look at the person holding the mouse and then at the mouse and then at the floor.  She knows how it works.  And she’s not interested in any random spot of light or shadow.

So knowing Yaris’ fondness for chasing light/beam spots, I can do things like…make Yaris chase the beam spot all over the house when I’m too lazy/busy to take her for a walk.  This is probably how most people use the laser pointer with their pets.

But did you know that you can also take the laser pointer with you on walks?  I typically walk Yaris off-leash at night, when it’s cooler and quieter.  Yaris is very good off-leash.  She will run off and investigate but remain within sight of me.  She also won’t automatically take off running after other dogs.  If she feels like she needs to chase another animal, she’ll generally look at me for permission first.  Yaris is a fairly polite dog.

But sometimes, I’ll want to direct her somewhere right away or I need to distract her from peeing on something she shouldn’t be peeing on.  That’s where the laser pointer comes in.   I can direct her across the street without any of the lollygagging she might want to do.  And if it looks like she wants to pee in a neighbor’s yard, I can distract her from doing so and direct her to a more suitable place for emptying her bladder.

Aside from this, I have found that the laser pointer is a very good motivator for Yaris to stay on the treadmill.  Yes, Yaris can run on a treadmill.  I trained her awhile ago.  This also helps for when I’m too busy to take her out for a walk.  But…running on a treadmill is boring.  Don’t you get bored when you’re running on a treadmill?  Don’t you have to distract yourself with music, a book, or the TV?  Well, those distractions don’t really work for Yaris as she hasn’t really expressed any interest in music, books, or TV.  I used to reward her with a treat now and then to try and keep her motivated to run on the treadmill…Yaris has never been terribly motivated by food.  I mean, she likes eating treats but it doesn’t have the same draw on her has it did with Choco.  But a brief showing of the laser pointer?  That’s enough motivation for another 10 min.

I’ve also used the laser pointer to guide Yaris up the steps to her tub for a bath.  It’s not so much an issue now, but there was a time when Yaris did not like baths.  It was weird because as a puppy, she thought bath time was lots of fun.  I guess it was her adolescent years that she felt baths were a waste of time?  It was a huge trial to get her into the tub.  I mean, I could have just picked her up and plopped her into the tub, but that would have defeated the purpose of me buying a tub with steps so that she could climb up herself.  Also, she was really heavy before.

Yup.  Laser pointers.


Chickens are dumb.

There have been a few occasions in which the chickens escaped their pen (they are no longer allowed to roam the entire backyard freely, only part of it). Of course, this always happens when I’m really busy or about to leave the house. I’ll be minding my own business when suddenly, I notice there is unexpected movement in the backyard. And then I’ll see that there are a bunch of chickens merrily wreaking havoc on the newly planted spring/summer garden.

In case you weren’t aware, when chickens are allowed to roam freely, they’ll eat basically anything that’s green in the yard. This seriously gets in the way of a spring/summer harvest. The other thing they like to do is to dig large holes in search of…things to eat, I assume. The chickens really like to dig holes. They’re worse than Yaris. Yaris hasn’t dug a trench in a really long time. And the last time she was digging a hole, I think she was trying to catch a gopher. So obviously, the chickens cannot be allowed to roam the planted areas freely.

Anyway, the chickens are out running around, wreaking havoc. I have to go out there and round them all up and dump them back in the pen. Well, first, I have to fix the pen and then round them up. Fixing hasn’t really been an issue. It’s really just someone (and I won’t name who) never latches the door correctly and the chickens are able to push the door open and run out. It’s really annoying. How long does it take to check if the door is latched properly? Like…none at all. BUT I DIGRESS.

Now then, rounding up chickens can be hard work. They like to be able to run freely through the yard and dig holes everywhere. They also can move pretty easily up the slope we have the in the backyard and I cannot. There’s too much brush and I’d probably trip and fall and bounce down the slope and break my neck.

But Yaris has been a great help in rounding up the chickens. She actually will herd them for me and then chase them back to the pen where I can pick them up and dump them in. I think Yaris might be considering a career in chicken herding. I realize that she’s suppose to herd sheep as she is a German shepherd dog, but…I don’t think she’s ever seen a sheep. Being a German chickenherd dog might be a promising career for Yaris though. Especially since she isn’t really cut out for the military.

If she does decide to be a chickenherd, she’ll have to work on her slope skills though. I have to help her up on to the slope (she can’t navigate over the retaining wall too well) and she doesn’t really seem to have an interest in climbing the slope. And of course all the chickens are at the highest point on the slope. Of course.

Now then, remember how I said chickens are dumb? They are. You see, I have found that you can rush up behind them and instead of running away, they squat and spread their wings a little bit. This makes it really easy to pick them up. Of course, if you pick them up, you should do so while tucking their wings in place so that they don’t flap all over the place. Chicken wings are ridiculous and small and not really good for flight at all, but they are still covered in feathers and parts of those feathers are stiff enough to scratch up your hands. It’s not a big deal, but the scratches end up itching as they heal. I have never been a fan of itching.

But seriously, squatting and spreading your wings? How does that help you at all? It’s just…so dumb…