Sue Miller

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since Feb 20, 2011
NE Oregon
Zone 5
NE Oregon
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Recent posts by Sue Miller

Hi Tierney, Thanks for getting in touch. I'll send you a message.
1 year ago
Hi Eric, Thanks for your response, I will message you.
1 year ago
Homestead Springs Farm is 80 acres of pasture and wooded land in Northeast Oregon at the edge of the beautiful Grande Ronde Valley. We are surrounded by the Blue and Wallowa Mountains with the Eagle Cap and Elkhorn Wilderness Areas nearby. There is great day hiking, backpacking, fishing and camping throughout the area.  We are a couple in our mid-50’s, artist and farmer, working from home.  We maintain a non-smoking, drug free environment.

Current Project
Fencing--Brush out an existing fence line then repair, replace and add field fencing as needed. We will train.

Compensation
Room and board in exchange for 20 hours of work per week.

Lodging  & Food
Off grid cabin, very private. Refundable $100 cleaning deposit required.
Share the kitchen, laundry and shower at the main house.
Internet available at the main house, no TV.
We eat a simple diet of homegrown, grass fed meats and garden vegetables. Chemical-free. We offer 3 meals per day and encourage communal use of the kitchen.

Timing
Work/stay opportunities available Fall 2017 and beginning again Spring 2018. We are flexible regarding length of stay.

Qualities for a good fit:
Good work ethic
Ability to work independently
Great communication skills
Respectful in a cooperative living situation
Positive attitude
Honesty
Single or couple welcome
Because we are a working farm we prefer no pets but will consider on a case by case basis

Perks
We are a working farm. We raise kunekune pigs, katahdin sheep, poultry and livestock guardian dogs. During your free time there will be ample opportunity to help with the farm and learn about the animals and permaculture if you wish. Or use your free time to play in the great outdoors.

Live and work on the farm while you explore what NE Oregon has to offer!
1 year ago
I'd like to second what John said about getting a pup from working parents. That is a must. Look for a breeder with a track record and for one that keeps pups in the litter with mom until 12 weeks of age. That is crucial time for the pups to learn socialization and bite inhibition. They will be much more confident than a pup taken at 8 weeks. Also do not choose a pup that is a cross of LGD/non-LGD. Two breeds of LGD that have been crossed, such as Pyr/Akbash should be fine. Again, finding working parents with good temperament is the best predictor of how the pup will perform giving a good upbringing.
2 years ago
I just posted this in response to someone else who had a similar question. I thought it might be useful to you too so here is is again with a couple modifications for your question:

I would urge you to move to your land, start getting to know it, begin with your chickens and do extensive research into livestock guardian dogs (LGD) before bringing one into your life. There are many things you will want to consider and learn in order to make your LGD experience a successful one for you and the dog.

Breed: There are many breeds of LGD from around the world, the Great Pyrenees is but one. There are many commonalities among the breeds, but each has its own characteristics. Some breeds use barking as the primary deterrent, others are more reserved. Some breeds have easy going personalities while others have a "hard", more reactive edge. Some of the breeds are quite aloof, others are more tuned into their humans. Some LGD breeds protect by staying close to livestock, others defend a larger territory and therefore tend to roam.

Training: Many people start with an LGD pup which will require 1-2 years (2 yrs for most breeds) of exposure, training and maturity before it will be ready to guard your livestock. Many hours of work and a positive approach to training is a must in order to build mutual trust and establish a partnership with these highly intelligent and sensitive dogs. The single most common cause of a failed relationship with an LGD is the mistaken belief that the new pup can start guarding from day one. The instincts are there but it is up to you to nurture and shape those instincts. This takes a lot of time on your part and a lot of maturity on the dogs part.  Puppies play. Chickens squawk and run. Chickens can die in this game. Just as one would never suggest that a 5 year old child could be a responsible babysitter, so should we never expect a puppy to be ready to be a trustworthy guardian. Guarding poultry is the most demanding job, requiring the highest level of maturity from the dog. Acquiring a mature, well raised LGD rather than a pup is an option but not without its own set of challenges.

Behavior: LGDs bark. Some of the breeds bark a LOT and often bark more at night (when predators are active) than during the day. This can disturb your sleep and your neighbor's sleep. Please also note that the mindset and working style of an LGD are very different from the breeds of pet dogs we are commonly used to. LGDs have been bred for centuries to think for themselves and work independently of humans. This has resulted in dogs that will partner with people but will not always conform to our usual definition of obedience. It doesn't always matter to them what you as mere humans want in a particular moment. They have a job to do, so if they feel it is more important to do a perimeter check right now rather than come when you call, that is what they will do. This is not a fault, it is a feature.

Predator load: It is important to consider exactly what you will be asking of the dog. In general, LGDs work best in pairs. One dog should not be expected to take on a pack of coyotes or larger predators. Not a fair fight.

Fencing: A secure perimeter fence is a must for keeping the dog on your property.

I hope this gives you a starting point for more research into livestock guardian dogs. It is a serious commitment to learning and partnering when you bring these incredible dogs into your life.
2 years ago
I would urge you to move to your land, get set up and do extensive research into livestock guardian dogs (LGD) before bringing one into your life. There are many things you will want to consider and learn in order to make your LGD experience a successful one for you and the dog.

Breed: There are many breeds of LGD from around the world, the Great Pyrenees is but one. There are many commonalities among the breeds, but each has its own characteristics. Some breeds use barking as the primary deterrent, others are more reserved. Some breeds have easy going personalities while others have a "hard", more reactive edge. Some of the breeds are quite aloof, others are more tuned into their humans. Some LGD breeds protect by staying close to livestock, others defend a larger territory and therefore tend to roam.

Training: Many people start with an LGD pup which will require 1-2 years (2 yrs for most breeds) of exposure, training and maturity before it will be ready to guard your livestock. Many hours of work and a positive approach to training is a must in order to build mutual trust and establish a partnership with these highly intelligent and sensitive dogs. The single most common cause of a failed relationship with an LGD is the mistaken belief that the new pup can start guarding from day one. The instincts are there but it is up to you to nurture and shape those instincts. This takes a lot of time on your part and a lot of maturity on the dogs part.  Puppies play. Chickens squawk and run. Chickens can die in this game. Just as one would never suggest that a 5 year old child could be a responsible babysitter, so should we never expect a puppy to be ready to be a trustworthy guardian. Guarding poultry is the most demanding job, requiring the highest level of maturity from the dog. Acquiring a mature, well raised LGD rather than a pup is an option but not without its own set of challenges.

Behavior: LGDs bark. Some of the breeds bark a LOT and often bark more at night (when predators are active) than during the day. This can disturb your sleep and your neighbor's sleep. Please also note that the mindset and working style of an LGD are very different from the breeds of pet dogs we are commonly used to. LGDs have been bred for centuries to think for themselves and work independently of humans. This has resulted in dogs that will partner with people but will not always conform to our usual definition of obedience. It doesn't always matter to them what you as mere humans want in a particular moment. They have a job to do, so if they feel it is more important to do a perimeter check right now rather than come when you call, that is what they will do. This is not a fault, it is a feature.

Predator load: It is important to consider exactly what you will be asking of the dog. In general, LGDs work best in pairs. One dog should not be expected to take on a pack of coyotes or larger predators. Not a fair fight.

Fencing: A secure perimeter fence is a must for keeping the dog on your property.

I hope this gives you a starting point for more research into livestock guardian dogs. It is a serious commitment to learning and partnering when you bring these incredible dogs into your life. In the mean time, I would suggest building a secure chicken coop with a predator proof outdoor run for your chickens. Get to know the land and its inhabitants. You will soon know if it is safe to allow your chickens some free range time during the day when you are home. Locking them up securely at night and when you are not home goes a long way toward keeping them safe.
2 years ago
Hello Sunny,
We are in NE Oregon near the town of La Grande. We have a reasonable growing season and gravity fed spring water on our property. It sounds like we have similar life goals and experiences. We would like to visit with you about the possibilities for partnering. I'll send you an email. My email address is subdo2000@yahoo.com.
Sue

Adding our current websites:
http://www.nwskillet.com
http://www.turkishbozshepherds.com
2 years ago

Melissa Limes wrote:I had this same thought when I kept rabbits, then I found out that I like the meat of wild rabbits way more. My new plan is to create a few rabbit edens. I'm thinking there could be a brush pile in the middle or something they'd like for a home, surrounded by a perimeter of raspberry bushes, with clover and other tasty plants for them planted throughout and maybe even a water source put in. Then repeat this a few times in different locations since they're territorial. With any luck, I think a place like this would attract the wild ones and I could set a trap in their runs when I decide I want rabbit for dinner.



I love it!
2 years ago