Thursday, 14 February 2013

Part 2: feeding frenzy..

Ok, so the bull has now been reduced to slices, blocks and chunks.
These pieces are then piled up outside our barn,
patiently waiting to be fed.

 We never feed all the meat at once,
some days they have kibble,
and then I fast the dogs for a day or two.
I have seen our dogs getting tired of eating meat...
they actually look forward to a kibble day..
Some, of these chunks weigh as much as 10kgs and that is enough to feed a dog for almost a week.

When we load up the sled with meat and head out to the dogs,
they all seem to do a happy dance.
This is maybe the highlight of the day..
that is unless a coyotes decides to hop over the fence,
then the meat becomes a secondary interest,  the coyote has just provided a
"make my day" event.
Unfortunately for the dogs this rarely happens,
as the coyotes are very respectful of our fences and sheep pastures.
so they should be.

Anyway, I generally walk by each dog and hurl a lump of meat to each dog.
I usually say the dogs name and then throw so they know who that piece is intended for.

Each dogs has his own feeding strategy.
Cindy, likes to gnaw on a piece, turning her had sideways to chew on the meat.

Katcha stands with both paws on the meat and uses the rip, slash and tear approach.
She has no manners.

Fena, well she always takes her meat and heads off to the sheep.
She likes to eat her meat surrounded by the sheep.

She will take her time with the meat, look around, nibble a bit, take a nap.
She has never been the "ravenous wolf" kind of dog.
Perhaps, it has also to do with her status,
she is like the matriarch here.
She is mom and grandmother to quiet a few of the dogs here
and this gives her almost "top dog" status.

You see,  dogs who are at the top point of the hierarchy triangle
enjoy the most and best parts of meat,
they can, at any stage decided to take the meat from any of the dogs lower on the hierarchy.
They can eat without fear of having their meat stolen.
That is just how it works in dog society.
Now, when a pup is growing up, it is ingrained into him, very soon how these rules in society work.
The rowdy pup will and always does, attempt to take food from the top dog.
Usually, "the look" is enough to make a pup wither and wilt away.
Sometimes, a small growl
or swift reprimand is needed to back up "the look"
The pups soon learns to back off and be respectful.

Here is a great photo showing Fena giving young gun Vuk
"the look" when he tried to paw some food away from her a few years back.

Now, he is all grown up and is teaching young upstart Hank to be mindful.
Vuk, shares his pasture with Shadow and Hank,
both always defer to the wishes of Vuk.
Shadow, is also learning how to perfect this technique of "the look".
He is way to respectful to even contemplate using it on Vuk,
however he does use the same technique with this bull.

Hey, what you got?
Can I have some to?
"back off, its mine"

Lets just zoom in at this stare down..
Intention is clear...

The bull backs off slightly.
Do you see the minor relaxation in the intensity of the stare on Shadow's part?
 Ever so subtle, he is taking the pressure of the bull..

Watching and rewarding the bull for leaving
Good bull.
And, it worked!

Now, Lucy, she shares a pasture with Fena (top dog) and babe Cindy.
She, just like Shadow,  is kind of in the middle of the dog hierarchy.
 She, however, does not really have this stare down technique mastered.
Her approach  to warn Cindy off is;
not exactly what you would call subtle.

Nor is it polite or in any way diplomatic.
No, she is all for the clarity approach,
be clear, concise and leave no room for doubts.
It works, but is not quite as elegant as using the look.

Lucy, is also a hoarder.

She likes to gather up as many pieces of meat, bones and other edibles together.
Nobody is allowed to approach her stash.
She will spend the whole day chasing off the ravens from her little stockpile if needs be.
(I suppose it is all a bit like the Hunger Games..)

So, you see feeding time is one filled with moments of happiness, dominance, learning and respect.

Well, that kind of wraps up what happens to the dead bulls here.

Next week,
I believe the dogs will be eating moose.

Now, behind this moose is also a little story..
Our neighbours have also been having a "house" moose visiting this winter.
This winter has lots of snow so a lot of animals are battling to find food,
so they come to farms and acreages looking for food such as hay.
Now, "their" moose has been hanging around their place a while.
Sleeping close to the hay bales.
A few days ago she was eating there.
Then she lay down.
And, slept and slept.
Finally, Roeby (our neighbour) went and checked,
and this poor moose had just laid down and died.
After reporting the dead moose to Fish and Wildlife we got permission to butcher it for the dogs..
So, Eric headed over to their place to bring this dearly beloved moose back to us.
And, so the circle of life continues...

"Hey Hank, moose next week!"

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