Trained Bird Hunter


Egg production is booming these days and it’s been a busy few weeks here at the Homestead. Pulling dry, scratchy squash vines off fence pickets. Lining garden pathways with fresh mulch. Turning over the soil in the beds. Enriching the earth with compost. Planning. Planting. Pulling weeds. Planting more. Suffocating the weeds with straw. And trying to prevent Gracie from killing our chickens.

Sounded pretty standard till the last one, right?

Henry the Westie

You might recall a story from a couple of years ago, when Henry the Westie met our young flock for the first time. We worried that Henry might treat our pullets like the squirrels he so desperately tries to catch. And shake. To death.

Roz and MaryAnne

But Gracie, my friends, is a totally different animal. Literally. And figuratively. Because our German Shorthaired Pointer is now a trained bird hunter.


At least, she’s getting there. Last week, we picked Gracie up from her first summer camp. Two weeks of nonstop chasing down, chomping on and retrieving birds. Birds that have feathers. And beaks. And flapping wings. Strikingly similar to the hens residing in our backyard.

With a chuckle, her trainer suggested we keep Gracie away from our chickens. That is, if we preferred our chickens alive. And at this point, we certainly do.

Bamboo fence

And so construction on a chicken barrier began. Jay and I devised a simple, inexpensive bamboo fencing plan, hoping it will at least last us through the summer. Jay cut 8 foot 2×2 boards into stakes and attached the bamboo panels to them.

Chickens through the fence

While we can still see the birds, the bamboo shields them enough so Gracie isn’t staring at them in the yard. However, we’re well aware that this is a temporary solution.

Bamboo fence

There’s no way that fence will hold through the winter and if Grace ever decides to catapult her entire body into the bamboo, that baby’s going down.


The good news is that after a couple of days, I think the chickens forgot they once had the run of the whole yard and they still have plenty of room to roam.  I’m no longer dodging piles of bird poo on the sidewalk or frantically giving Henry a bath after a smelly roll in the stuff.

So far, our wall is keeping everyone safe.

The only one who isn’t loving this new fence situation?

HenryThis guy. The chickens now control his prime squirrel chasing territory. He still looks pretty happy to me.

**You can check in on our flock any time through the Chickencam.**

3 thoughts on “Trained Bird Hunter

  1. Just found your blog via “Where Women Cook.”. Excited to be following you! My husband and I recently planted two 3×8 container gardens and have 2 Rhode Island red laying hens. What an adventure!

  2. My dog just returned from the very same training facility. I can’t speak highly enough of the patience and perseverance that the staff had with my dog’s quirky personality. Remy is returning in two weeks for continued training.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s