BASTION MOUNTAIN RANCH - TALES OF A FARM FAMILY


My family lived on a Ranch full time from 1993 until 2015. We were a 5th generation family farm.
I am writing this blog to share my experiences living there. It is best to read the blog chronologically by going through the archives, starting with the introduction in January of 2010.
The blog starts with the arrival of my great-grandparents to the farm in 1947 and will follow the families to the present.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Living with the Animals

Living with the Animals

One of the enduring joys of farm life is living with animals. In our case we have equally embraced the wild and domestic animals who live with us on the Ranch. Challenging to be sure as we have suffered many losses over the years of both livestock and pets. We have considered at times dispatching the wild predator, particularly with the more gruesome or heart wrenching attacks. My father once drove around for months with a gun in his pick up truck as a mute threat to the coyotes that had taken one of his little dogs. It was just not our way to extend our revenge to an “eye for an eye”. 
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Eddy Miege circa 1990s, well before one of his beloved little dogs was captured by a Coyote.
My reasoning about the management of “pest wildlife” is most likely not very logical. I feel that there will always be another animal to take the place of the one that was killed. It is nature’s way to move to where there is food. I try my best on my property to remove easy to access food. I was quite sad this Fall to take down the bird feeders as a hungry bear made an appearance. The garbage can was also moved to a more secure location.
I have very active bird feeders, often needing to refill the seed once a day.
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The above are all photos taken by my daughter, Marlee, of birds at our feeders.
I finally was able to put the feeders back up in the late fall after I was sure the bears were in hibernation. The numbers of birds at the feeders are slowly starting to build but still a long way from the numbers I used to  have. It seems the birds have lost faith in me.
Last year about this time I wrote about our “resident” Bobcat that spent the winter under one of our old sheds and fed on all the small animals around the farm. (See the post at Edmonds Bastion – The Winter Dick Killed the Bobcat.  We had no large dogs last winter and the Bobcat was absolutely free to go about his feasting. This winter our neighbours lost some of their livestock to a predator, they assumed at first it was a cougar as in previous years, but it was a Bobcat. A very large Bobcat. I fear that our little Bobcat grew up and continued with his habits that he initially learned at our house. A Conservation Office came and the Bobcat was successfully trapped and killed.
Over the many years of living on this ranch the best way I discovered to keep the farm animals and pets safe was our Great Pyrenees. Bred to protect livestock and the home, the breed originated around the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France and northern Spain, used for livestock protection by the Basque people. One of the first descriptions of the breed dates as far back as 1407.
Our dog served us well and a method much preferable to having to dispatch wildlife with a rifle or just endure losing your animals. Unfortunately our dog did take his duties rather too seriously, one day attacking a pick up truck which brought about his premature death.
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Milo, our wonderful Great Pyrenees.
This winter the farm once again has dogs. In February of 2013 we acquired a very small dog that is very protective but is not good for predator control.

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Charlie is a sweet little dog, and a perfect travelling companion. However he is considered prey on the farm.
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Jake was purchased as a Father’s day present, he is half lab and half Maremma Sheepdog. The Maremmas originate from Italy where they were used to guard the sheep from wolves. We are hopeful that this addition will assist in keeping our livestock and pets safe.
- See more at: http://shuswaplakeranch.com/living-with-the-animals/#sthash.IglUlNlv.dpuf

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