Monday, May 31, 2010

Holmestead: Meet Jupiter!

Meet Jupiter, our Maremma/Anatolian Shepherd mix. This dog is definitely the most important animal on the farm. I've suffered enough losses to predators and dogs that he is well worth the cost of purchase and food to prevent future losses--and besides he's man's best friend. Maremmas and Anatolian Shepherds are two breeds in the livestock guardian dog (LGD) category. LGD's are not herders. They were bred to have a low prey-drive and to live with the herd or flock. They are territorial but not aggressive--unless you are an uninvited guest on the property.
The first time Jupiter saw our neighbor's beagles he ran right past them, stood in front of our house and stared them down. We can definitely tell when he is giving an alarm bark. We've had a feral orange cat around that I've been trying to shoot and Jupiter notified me of its presence last night when it came into our backyard area. I still didn't get a good shot off though.
Jupiter is pretty good with the livestock but I usually keep him outside the fence so he doesn't pester them when he gets bored. We have two Suffolk lambs and two LaMancha wethers (that means they're castrated). They mow my lawn and sleep in the portable dog run my neighbor let me borrow. We had a third lamb but some neighbor dogs got it. Jupiter was too young to leave out of the backyard fence at that time. He raised the alarm but Taliatha wasn't able to get outside in time. A friend in the ward helped me butcher the lamb. Since then we've had leg of lamb and lamb curry. Definitely go for the lamb curry--definitely avoid the leg of lamb unless you like a strong, gamey lamb flavor.


  1. Well he's about as cute as they get. I bet your kids were thrilled when he was a necessary purchase.
    Sounds like he's already being useful, good for him!!

  2. So last night after I wrote this post I found a headless turkey poult in the backyard. Apparently while we were out in the evening Jupiter dug into the backyard area and got it. This morning I found our other turkey poult (that means all of our turkeys this year went down to disease or dog) in the yard as well as on of our chicks. Last night I smacked him with the dead turkey and yelled at him a lot. This morning he got a few more turkey whacks and I tied the dead chick to his collar. He got it off but I might fasten it back on more securely. I've read that after the chicken starts to rot dogs develop a real aversion to them. I hope this will teach him.

  3. Sounds like you need to worry more about shooting the neighbor dogs than the feral cat. Oh, and I am gonna catch major hell when Maya finds out you guys got a puppy.

  4. I would love to get both groups of culprits if it would help. Actually, as long as the dogs don't come back we're good--I definitely don't want to kill anything. The ones that got my lamb have now been penned up and the neighbor is going to have them neutered so his pack doesn't get any bigger.