5 Important Country Living Lessons with Three City Hounds

country walter

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!

 

1. Fencing

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…

2. Chickens

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.

chickens

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.

weeds

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.

dogs in sweaters

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.

 

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There are 10 Comments

  1. Lindsay says:

    Look at all that space. I’m sure each and every one of you are really enjoying it. Except for all that grass to cut! Lol
    I’d love to move out to the country some day like you have, and have a small menagerie or animals. 😉

    • Thank you so much! The grass is honestly kind of a nightmare and without the tractor we’d be screwed!! The chickens are certainly a lot of fun but the whole concept is so new it freaks me out!! 🙂 Have fun on vacation!!!!!

  2. I grew up on the South Shore of Nassau County on Long Island, New York. Back then it was “country” but as suburbs tend to do, the towns grew into mini cities and the country life became a thing of the past. Now the same thing is happening here in upstate SC.

    • We literally had to move 45 minutes outside of Portland and leave Oregon to Washington to be able to make the move so I absolutely hear you. It took a village but it is absolutely hard to find space these days for sure… Hope you are well!

  3. Emma says:

    I’m glad you are living your dream and the hounds are loving it. I think most dogs are happy wherever as long as their human is there. My mom would never leave the suburbs, but there is a place for everyone! Enjoy!

  4. What joy to have that space! Enjoy the new digs (hopefully Walter won’t take the dig part literally).

  5. Gretchen2 says:

    Rooster’s can be tricky but I have always adored mine:) once you gain a mutual understanding watching all the things they do for their ladies is pretty impressive❤️

    • I love your comment. He’s the only one we’ve named and we love him so much. They all are very fond of him so we must win him over! I love watching him over all the others so you’re right. We’re on his team as long as he doesn’t eat me!

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