Posts Tagged ‘nikki’

Farm pictures

goats of the round table


Nikki guarding the evening meal

Nikki among her tribe

Nikki (short for Nokomis) is our LGD (livestock guard dog) who lives among our “tribe” of pygmy goats and other livestock.  Nokomis means “daughter of the moon,” named so because this breed is mostly nocturnal. She is an Anatolian Shepherd – they are also known as Kangal dogs where they come from in Turkey, however Nikki is from Arkansas. That does not sound nearly as exotic, I know, but that is where I found her breeder.  Nikki came from Diamond Acres Ranch,  Becky Barber is a respectable breeder and wonderful to work with. Her dogs are very well cared for, beautiful, and she knows them well. There had been 6 puppies total in Nikki’s litter, 4 boys and 2 girls, but we let Becky pick just the right one for us based on temperament. Nikki was shipped out here last spring as an 18 pound pup at 8 weeks old. She had a long flight that included 3 layovers, so she had some serious frequent flyer miles chalked up by the time she arrived at the Burbank airport. We pulled this sweet little tired pup out of the crate, and it was love at first sight.  She rode the hour and a half back to the farm in Christy’s arms, no worse for the wear. She had come right off the field where she had already started working goats with her dam and littermates. Poor Christy spent the entire ride pulling wood ticks off of her and tossing them out the truck window as we sped down the 101 back towards the coast.

I had a Great Pyrenees Mountain dog when I lived in the valley many years ago, because of problems with feral mobs of dogs. I love the Pyrenees as a breed, but they bark incessantly and there is not much you can do to break them of it. A few years ago I was visiting a large alpaca farm and that is where I first came face to face with Anatolians. They were calm and gentle and seemed to sleep most of the time and not care too much about who was coming and going. The owner assured me that they prowled all night though, and woe-be-to any predator that tried to come after their livestock. This breed bonds to your family and livestock and you become theirs.  They are great with people and gentle with children but can fight off large predators with lightning-fast efficiency.

Two years ago the Malibu fires drove large numbers of predators into our area and we suffered a number of horrible attacks on our stock, including two by mountain lions and one by coyotes – we lost 7 goats total. This is not even including the many raids by raccoons and possums that took out a lot of our poultry. We got even with one of the coyotes, two possums and one large raccoon, but the thought of facing down a mountain lion in my blue chenille bathrobe and slippers at 3 a.m. decided it for me. It was time to get a full time guard dog! After her arrival, Nikki and her new charges were sequestered in the barn at night (for all of their safety) and as the weeks went by she bonded well with the goats. She quickly reached 40 lbs and it was then that we could safely let the barn door stay open at night and leave the tribe under the watchful eye of their new fulltime shepherdess. She has grown from 18 lbs to 80 in her first year of life and I am happy to report that we have not lost a single life to marauding wildlife since her arrival. She will not let anything larger than a dove land in the yard and I have found the remains of the few other critters that thought they could outrun her. She is by far the best dog I have ever owned.

I would however be remiss in my story if I failed to mention that the only thing worse than raising a puppy, is raising a BIG puppy. We may not have lost life or limb but over this first year we have lost 5 rubber garden hoses, two large water buckets, ALL of the plastic grain scoops from the shed, some towels from the laundry have gone astray, the wooden handles have been chewed from the wheelbarrow and a few plastic fly traps are missing from their appointed places. All in all everyone here, human and animal alike, feels safe under Nikki’s watchful eye, and we are blessed she came to be a part of the farm family.