Liz has never really liked the idea of an “inside dog,” coyotes were wreaking havoc on our chickens, and we were planning on going on a family vacation for two weeks and leaving the Dog outside to “protect” the other animals and to make it much easier on the family who was going to be feeding and watering the animals. The dog would need somewhere to get out of the weather. Because the barn is behind the back pasture fence and I don’t like the idea of the dog hanging out in the chicken coop I decided the best option would be to knock together a doghouse out of scrap lumber in the (vain) hope that he would use it.
As far as the dog goes, it was a wasted effort. According to our friend who was feeding and watering him, Mr Thornton spent his time hiding in the shade under my truck, and I can’t see any evidence that he has been in there. Since we got home, he’s insisted that he belongs inside with us, and I think we’ve given up on trying to convince him he lives outside. On the up-side, the boys had fun painting it to match the barn and coop, and the one turkey the coyotes didn’t get while we were out of town has decided it makes a decent roost, and he spends the night on top of if after the chickens he’s adopted as his flock go in for the night.
As for Thornton protecting the other animals, ALL of the chickens survived the coyote raids. Only the turkeys (who were in the back pasture where Thornton couldn’t go) were picked off. Apparently a coyote had managed to get through the electric fence, grabbed a turkey to take back to the den, then dropped it on the wires when he got shocked by the fence. The dead turkey shorted out the fence and opened up a hole that made it easier for the coyotes to get in and out over the next few days to pick off most of the rest of the birds. You could see where Thornton had been scratching and digging at the fence and gate to get to the back pasture. I suspect he was trying to go after the coyotes, because he doesn’t bother any of our animals.
In the end, I don’t mind the lost turkeys. I’m tired of scraping and spraying poop off the porch and listening to the constant noise. The one bird that’s left is noisier than our rooster and leaves more messes on the porch than all 15 of the chickens combined. Now that he’s the only one he spends his time with the chickens, and without a flock to keep him company I can’t keep him in the back field where I wouldn’t mind the mess and noise. If this one makes it to Thanksgiving I’ll be surprised.