5 Important Country Living Lessons with Three City Hounds
My three city dogs are stepping up and becoming farm dogs!
My dogs have a new appreciation for life and now realize there are creatures great and small hiding in every available outdoor space. Gophers and rabbits are the new squirrels in the neighborhood and Walter couldn’t be happier.
I feel silly. I’m the only one in the neighborhood that has harnesses for my dogs. I take Walter for walks to the mailbox about a half mile from my house. Although he now has enough space to run and dig. And when folks drive by they kind of look at me funny! Sherman and Bruiser are officially country hounds and it took only five minutes. Moving was stressful for all of us so we’re happy that it only took a few weeks to settle into country life!
My husband and I always dreamed of having space and now that we have it there is a lot of mowing to wrap our minds around. All I want to do is put Sherman on the tractor and drive him around the backyard. (IThe tractor is not big enough…)
Here are some lessons whether you live in the country or not!
Chicken wire is my new best friend. It’s super easy to work with and with a good pair of wire cutters it’s easy to cut. We used it to “Walter” proof our fence. Even after having someone (thank you Husky Fences!) build a six-foot chain link fence there were still Doxie sized gaps so we covered those up with chicken wire. Here’s a quick look at one area we patched up. So this applies to anyone trying to keep their dog from escaping. Don’t be intimidated by chicken wire! Walter thinks every bunny should be his…
We have four Wyandottes, one Rhode Island Red, two Orpingtons, one Easter Egger (has furry cheeks!), three Bantams (maybe) and we don’t know what the rooster is but he looks like a Wyandotte. The coop “came” with the house and we like the setup. My neighbor was thoughtful enough to walk me through the breeds this morning. And cage-free eggs are better!
Everyone knew this but me but roosters can be assholes. I’m sure I shouldn’t generalize but the rooster and I are working through some issues. BE CAUTIOUS when greeting any rooster. We use a spray bottle. And the chicken experts at Fang! Pet & Garden Supply have saved me. From what feed to bedding to worms, I’m forever grateful.
I don’t trust our dogs around the chickens and it may stress them out having a new four-legged visitor around so the dogs are not allowed near the coop.
According to the expert that wrote, “How to Speak Chicken”, the noise/cluck “Buh-dup” means hello.
3. Plants and weeds: their benefits
According to Fang! Pet & Garden Supply expert, “Weeds add biomass to the soil and as they die help create topsoil and available nutrients for other plants not to mention feeding the microorganisms present in the soil. Additionally, they help with moisture retention which keeps the soil alive and provides habitat for beneficial and non-beneficial insects which encourages birds. Plant-like Comfrey drives down deep taproots that mine minerals and other nutrients thus reinvigorating the nutrient cycle.”
Exceptions: Our neighbor and I were just talking about the Tansy weed and her horses graze on our pasture! We have a ton we need to mow and get rid of as they’re toxic to horses and cause liver issues. So definitely be cautious when you keep certain weeds in your pasture or lawn. Consider your dogs and what is OK – Cleavers are great!
These below are Burdock.
4. Wildlife: Be Careful!
One word: rabbits.
The rabbits are a problem…for Walter. And not a small problem. He tries to fit his big body through every corner of the fence to catch them. And they’re everywhere. I talked with our Nosework trainer tonight and since if he catches one he’ll likely resource guard it, the harness and leash stay on even when within the fence line.
So, we know how this goes. I have to watch him like a hawk. Speaking of hawks, we also have a turkey vulture problem!
So my advice is to supervise your dogs when they’re outside! Dogs in sweaters will likely be picked up by turkey vultures. I hate to joke though as coyotes are loud and I’m grateful the dog next door scares them off.
5. Fleas & Ticks
I wrote an article about Fleas and Ticks so please visit both here but the message I need to send is – work with your vet about a preventative. There have been cases of ticks in our area so please check to see what oral medication is available from your vet! And fleas are basically everywhere. Just look at all the long grass in the photos in this post! My skin crawls when I think about all the ticks.
So country life suits us. Have you ever considered a house outside the city? Far enough from downtown that the idea of heading into “the city” feels like a headache? Well, I never thought I’d be here but I’m super happy we decided to throw the dice and take a risk! Any advice for us? Please let us know in the comments.