Our Livestock Guardian Dogs are fascinating. It is amazing to see how protective and perhaps even tender they are with the animals they are to protect. The other morning I went out to do some chores and noticed the geese were distressed. I could see the gander and one of his geese in the back yard but they were separated which is unusual. I didn't see the other goose. The ones I found were anxiously turning their heads and almost sneaking around the yard. The two LGDs who happened to be in the yard with them at the time were acting like they usually do so I didn't think they had been chasing or misbehaving toward the geese. I walked all around and finally came upon the other goose hiding in the grapevines. Her feathers were ruffled and she seemed a little disoriented but when I walked her out she rejoined the other two.
As I walked the yard to figure out what had happened I found small piles of goose feathers in several spots. The last spot was right against the woven wire fence that is part of the oxen pasture. The neighbor's woods are on the other side of the oxen pasture. It looked as if something had tried to drag the goose across the yard but left her behind at the fence.
We had heard a little commotion with the dogs in the night but it ended rather quickly so we didn't go out. Sometimes they bark when they hear the hound up the hill baying so we don't always jump up at the first noise.
We watched the geese the rest of the day. The goose who'd apparently been attacked showed no external signs of injury but continued to lag behind the other two geese and seemed disoriented. That night we heard the dogs again so Al immediately went out. All of the dogs were in their appropriate pastures. The dog that had been in with the geese was right against the oxen fence barking towards the woods. Every other dog on the property was up at the edge of its pasture also barking towards the woods. We believe we had a fox visit. That would also explain the goose incident from the day before as the fox would have dropped the goose and run once the dogs started after it.
The goose was dead the next morning. We let her lay out for a bit so that her companions would realize that she had died and would not search for her. Later in the day I walked out to discover that the dogs had done their very best to bury her body. Although it is not a pretty picture, I am amazed at their desire to protect the rest of the animals in their pasture by hiding a dead body that might draw predators. Years ago when one of the cows died of old age down in the woods we discovered Regina, our oldest LGD working hard to hide her in the pine needles. God has certainly programmed them to do a remarkable job in trying to care for their charges. And it looks like time to do a little fox hunting here.