In this podcast, Paul gives a presentation based on his raising chickens article. He talks about how he came about writing the article and how people reacted when he first released it.
First he goes over what bothers him about how people raise their chickens. He doesn't like when people say we have to keep them in a cage or else they will ruin the garden. He says well you are probably keeping something from the chickens then. He also doesn't like when chickens don't see the sun and haven't lived in a green area for years. He gets angry about vegetarian chickens as well.
He explains how he rates each entity or farm in a variety of factors. Some of them include: vegetation factor, money factor, polyculture factor, bug factor, poop factor, work factor, confinement factor. He first goes over the factory farm and where it falls on all of these scales and then talks about how the coop and run falls on the factors. Next he puts the Bullock brothers' place onto the scale. Next he talks about the chicken tractor. He describes the actual structure of it and then the philosophy behind it. He then explains his problem with this strategy. Next he discusses truly free range chickens. He then goes into the Salatin's pen.
Finally he gets into his ideal system, the paddock shift system. He discusses his experimental process and how he came upon his final design. Basically, he can give 9-10's for each factor with this system.
The last thing Paul discusses before the audio craps out is how to deal with predators.
It was mentioned in the podcast that it did not seem as far as observation as well as by word of mouth that a dog that killed livestock could be trained out of it. Perhaps I might be then the first word of mouth to say otherwise.
My dog (a large lab mix) was a chicken (Dominique) killer. When she saw one she was so focused on wanting to kill it that even once I would restrain her she still was truly obsessed with this craving to kill it. However, after about one and a half months of showing her what the relationship with them is suppose to be...she changed. She no longer wanted to do them any harm. The way I got her to change was the same as I constantly see God speaking to us. I began to always walk and move in cautious, patient ways so as to never cause in the chickens any sort of nervous reaction. After about a month and a half of this my dog then understood by my behavior that they were not to be harmed. After that I observed on several occasions a chicken come up and peck her rump just above her tail a few times and she act like they weren’t even there. On two other occasions, I observed a chicken walk up to her face, eye-to-eye and peck her face! Both times my dog gave slight yelp of surprise, got up, walked about ten feet away and then lied back down! As surprised as I was with the behavior of the chicken, I was even more impressed with how my chicken killer handled it! In addition to all that, a month or two later it was May and with it came heat. The teenage chickens had now found my dog’s favorite place to escape the heat. This was a dark, cool spot underneath the porch. While the area under the porch was 7’x14’ with 7’x12’ always in the dark, my dog as well as the chickens always favored the farthest part back (7’x7’) from the single 7’ west facing opening. From that time on, I would find all the chickens plus my dog under there several times every day either simply relaxing or sleeping.
It now been ~17 months since my dog changed and the relationship between her and the chickens has held. All of the animals all 100% free range and are never supervised. It is a regular thing for the animals to be left on the property without a single human for an entire day.
To end with a word of caution, on two occasions I broke my cautious, patient behavior to chase down a chicken that had found a Jerusalem Cricket which I wanted to be allowed to have a good presence on the property. When I did that my dog followed my lead and wanted to chase it down and surely kill it. I barked at her, “No! No! Bad dog! Bad dog!” At that she stopped, turned around and cowered away. It was then when I returned to my cautious, patient behavior with the chickens that my dog did as well. But I stayed outside with them making my behavior with the chickens known to her for an hour or two to make sure she understood and did not revert. She stayed to God’s influence, which He so graciously poured through me.
Make sure you are cautious of what kind of message you might be sending to your animals. They will pick them up more readily than you might think. Keep to God’s Way.
Christ bless you
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