Farm Staff are the animals who are not livestock but still work/reside on the farm. MOST have a job to do, even if that job is being a fluffy slug for stress relief.
Livestock Guardian Dog/Farm Dogs
Because our LGD roam the property full time it is best to call ahead or make other arrangements before visiting. Their jobs are to protect the farm, people, and livestock from predators. People are viewed as a threat just as much as fox or coyote. Definitely do NOT bring your pet dogs to the farm.
There is debate on what is a farm dog vs a Livestock Guardian Dog LGD. We consider ours both but not really one or the other.
In our opinion a LGD lives with the animals, be it chickens, goats, alpaca, sheep, whatever. They sleep with them, they bond with them. They are cool with human interaction, but pretty much sleep and eat with THEIR animals. Training is done from a young age so they think the animals are their pack. They are VERY protective of their animals and would not hurt them. They protect from humans not part of the farm, and predators. They are breed specific and bread for this purpose.
In our opinion a farm dog lives on the farm, may be inside/outside dog, barks at new people/cars may chase predators, but not really bonded to animals. They don’t sleep and live with the animals. Typically sleep by house, or barn. They bond with the people on the farm. They may have to be supervised or isolated from animals because they have not been conditioned that livestock is not food or a toy for amusement.
Jack came to us from a family member who was downsizing their farm. we became family because of Jack. He sleeps around the house, is not an inside dog, and protects livestock and farm at night. He is VERY intolerant of aggressive behavior between animals as everyone must get along. For example barn cats have a go, Jack is quick to step in and break it up. 2 goats want to get into it, he steps in. never to hurt an animal but send them on their separate ways. We have lost very few animals to predators, since jack came on the farm. we have a coyote, fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk, and predatory birds. He has a patrol route and keeps everyone safe. He loves his delivery drivers that come to the house and will even get in the truck if given the opportunity.
I’ll drive, just get in!
Freyja & Sigyn
We kinda messed up with the training for Sigyn and Freyja. They were SUPPOSED to be LGD living in the pastures with the animals. Jack was supposed to help train them. They were kinda failures, at LGD but it was 100% our fault. We are now working them back to farm/LGD status. We have tried various training techniques to rehab them to LGD. One is tangle sticks to prevent them from going up and over or under fencing.
We also keep them locked up when not directly supervised and only allow one off at a time with Jack while we are out. The two of them together seemed to get into trouble. They are still learning and it is said they do not grow into their brains until 2 years or older. Each day they get to rotate and spend the day roaming with us during chores. Hopefully soon they will graduate to night patrols with jack as well.
This is how she sleeps
Sigyn is litter mate of Freyja but look nothing alike and have completely different personalities.
Organic Pest control
We have a whole army for pest control. With all the animals on the farm and feed always getting spilled we quickly developed a mouse problem. We got a few “feral” barn cats from an animal shelter. These cats “fail” the pet criteria but still need homes. They came to live with us for free, (well we feed them) and they have eliminated the mouse problem. Three permanent outdoor residents (Boots, Puss, and Marcy). All were not people animals when they showed up, two weeks with Wee aka Jr Farm Boss and they are now great people animals.
Puss N Boots
Puss n Boots are brothers who had not been around people their whole lives. They came to us as fixed male kittens. Completely wild and didn’t come out of the hay loft for the 1st two weeks. Wee would go up daily and gain their trust. Eventually they came around and now come when called, like to be pet, and usually around anytime an outdoor project is going on.
Marcy came from the same shelter as Puss n Boots, and was called mama cat. When she 1st arrived she hated everyone and everything, except Wee. Now she likes everyone but the other cats. She will ride atop shoulders and head in winter.
Felix n Oscar
Felix n Oscar are brothers from a friend of ours whose cat unexpectedly had kittens. We needed housecats at the time when we lived in Indy. Now at the farm they are indoor/outdoor cats and enter/exit when people do, or they meow to ask the door be opened.
Major really doesn’t do much, or contribute much. We like to think of him as a fluffy slug. He moves occasionally, mainly to eat, and sometimes to get pet, or go see if there is food. He may be a mouser, but we haven’t seen much. Major, came to live with us as his old location was being downsized for a move. He was an outside farm cat, now he is an inside cat, and has absolutely no interest in EVER returning outside.
This is how he regularly sleep in the middle of the walkways, kitchen, and bottom of the stairs.