Yesterday was beautiful. Bright sunny sky with puffy white clouds. Even a tolerable wind making just a thermal & jeans adequate attire. Perfect day for cleaning out the chicken coop.
Ming the Peke accompanied me outdoors even though I knew her short 3 inch legs with that long white coat meant a bath would be in order. I let the chickens out to roam knowing they would be fine with Ming. As mentioned in the past, she is rather fond of sniffing them and they have come to accept this without any fuss.
So I busied myself with hauling the winter bedding over to the garden as a top layer to the decomposing Fall leaves while the chickens busied themselves with a bug hunt. Ming being not far behind. She seems to enjoy watching them. Every once in a while I would look up from my job, checking to make sure everyone was where they should be. During one such "head count", I thought it appeared as though Ming was preventing the hens from straying too far from the run. Of course not. That's just silly. So I dismissed the idea as I fetched the clean straw for the coop. But then, as I peaked the hill drive, I could not believe what I was seeing. She was herding the chickens! Just like a trained dog does with sheep. My little white dog was making side to side passes pushing them closer towards their run gate. I stood their for a moment thinking it may very well be a coincidence.
Boy, was I in for a shocker!
Roo Beer is still the Harem leader and despite allowing Ming to hang out amongst them, on occasion he tries to put Ming in her place. As if that ever works....
She just keeps on going like nothing happened! She is determined. Diligent with what ever she is doing. Should any of the gals stray out of her intentional clutch, she breaks from the group to corral them back in.
She was moving so fast and I was in such amazement, besides forgetting to snap the button at times, she looks like a blur of white zipping about. By looking at her face, you can see she is rather happy with her "job".
Once all the chickens were in the pen, she plopped herself right there in the middle of the gate! Looking back over her shoulder as if to say "all done mom!". I still can not believe what I had seen. I mean, the breed is not known for such things and I never trained her to do it. I would joke and tell her to round them up. Earn your keep!. The extent of her actions would be sniffing their bottoms and laying amongst their group in the yard.
I know this is not the frst time she has done this. Today was the confirmation she has been doing this for some time, just not while I am paying attention. I would let the chickens out as I worked in the yard or garden, to only find they were back in their run within a short period of time. At first I dismissed it to comfort. They do not free roam very often outside of summer. I thought Roo Beer would call them back in being he was tired of watching the skies for falcons. I now realize, all this time it has been from our little pekingese dog. The self assigned Chicken herder. Maybe it is her "everything has a place" personality as well as her natural trait of being in charge that brought this about. Whatever the reason, I now have a proud chicken herding Pekingese who takes her self assigned job very seriously...with a smile on her furry face.
With such a nice day, we ventured out into the side woods for determining the perfect spot the kids can build their fort plus get that Zip line back up.
Of course, being all greenery has died down for the winter, the velcro burrs attacked my boots as well as covering the underside of Ming. I could not help but laugh as I looked back to see what was causing her to lag behind.
She was flopping her legs to the side, trying to shake them off. Poor thing. I felt sorry for her.
After all the hard work she had done with the chickens and the pathetic frustration I could see on her face from burrs irritating her paws, I scooped her up into my arms like a babe and carried my Ming back home. I spent a good portion of the evening combing & pulling those burrs from her long coat as she laid on her back, nestled into me on the couch.
I have a new appreciation for this short Diva dog. I have always had great love for her even though she has issues with strangers that set my nerves on edge. But today, in my eyes, all is forgiven.
Ming the Peke has now earned her keep.