One new neighbor
moved in and got some of every kind of animal. Instead of asking
a neighbor or learning, they just did it. Most of their chickens
were killed before they figured they had to totally enclose
bought a beautiful yearling horse that they NEVER fed. The poor
thing got thinner and thinner. It took numerous calls to Animal
Control before they finally came out to rescue the severely
underweight and ill animal.
neighbor moved in and brought several horses from another
location. She got them because they were pretty and cute, but
knew nothing about them.
make matters worse, she had a stallion (very dangerous to handle
for an inexperienced person), two yearlings that have never had
a halter on, (because she doesn't know enough to do
it, nor will she hire a trainer), and have not been gelded.
They're wild now and will be more wild and more dangerous as
father's friend agreed to board two new horses with her own.
While in the coral one day one of the horses intentionally
crushed her against the corral fence breaking several ribs and
puncturing a lung... and she was experienced with horses.
Thankfully she fully recovered, but some aren't so lucky.
summer we had several kittens thanks to a few feral cats that
dropped by to have their litters. From very early on I taught
them to go for little walks with me. They'd bounce around
playing with each other, usually a few feet in front of
day they came upon about a 3.5' rattlesnake right in the middle
of the path. He coiled, rattled, hissed, and put on a good show.
I thought for
sure one or two would be bitten.
the kittens formed a big ring around him and just watched this
a while, the kittens decided he was too big to eat, and he
decided the kittens really didn't pose a serious threat, so they
eventually wandered off and so did he.
serve some rather vital functions in the country. From hunting gophers
and moles like our dog Jenny shown here, to chasing out predators and
providing protection for you and your family. This 45 lb. Australian
Shepard has chased mountain lions away on several occasions when I've
been out walking, killed skunks that were in my path (she's usually 30 -
50 yards in front of me) and chases deer and rabbits away from our trees
and garden. Even at 15 years old and totally deaf, she'll be off on a
chase in an instant if she thinks I'm in jeopardy.
I was amazed when talking with one woman, telling her how my dog
sniffs out predators and chases them. "Oh," she exclaimed,
"I'd never take my dog out then. What if he got hurt?" Well,
if you let a small, "non-working" dog out by itself, it's
likely to run into trouble eventually.
But, if you take that same dog on
a walk and it smells a predator, even if the dog won't be as bold as a
working dog, its behavior will tell you that there's a problem you
should heed. Their sense of smell, hearing, and their surroundings in
general is much more keen than a humans. A small dog may refuse to go
forward, start barking wildly or exhibit some other unusual behavior to
warn you, but they probably will. You just have to learn what their
warning is and pay attention.
If you don't have a dog, I'd suggest you get one, and get the right
kind of dog for the country. The working dogs I refer to simply means
breeds that are typically farm or cattle dogs. Australian Shepards,
Boarder Collies, Queensland Heelers, and other cattle dogs are excellent, and there are a wide variety from which to
chose. Note: all the dogs shown in the photos here are all
Dogs need to be protected from several medical problems. Heartworms
can be fatal to a dog so getting annual blood tests and giving them
monthly medication to prevent heartworms is vital.
Ticks are also prevalent in the country. Some years are worse than
others. The first year we were here, Jenny was given to us at 6 years
old. As mentioned elsewhere, no one had lived on this property for years
so all sorts of things were breeding in quantity because they were left
undisturbed for so long.
We had a party at our pond, and Jenny, who
loves to swim was in the water, then into the fallen leaves to dry off
all day long. By the end of the party she had literally thousands of
ticks on her. No, I'm not exaggerating, thousands. That quantity could
have killed her... especially if we hadn't detected them and treated her
For serious tick problems, the best solution by far is
the Preventic collar, available at almost any veterinary office.
There is medication you can get from your vet that can be applied
monthly to prevent fleas and ticks. A couple of flea & tick baths a
year is also a good idea.
Rabies are endemic in the Sierra Foothills. Your dogs and cats should
get their rabies shots regularly.
Dogs need to be trained... even here in the country. Many people seem
to think that it's OK to let them run, but after a long talk with a
county game expert, called out to determine what killed a neighbor's
sheep, a domestic dog was the conclusive answer, and it's he who said
that domestic dogs are the main culprit even though everyone is quick to
assume a mountain lion, bobcat, or coyote.
You should note that in some counties in California (El Dorado being
one of them) dogs can be shot if found "harassing or worrying"
livestock. So DON'T let your dogs enter a pasture with horses,
goats, sheep, cattle, or other type of livestock. It may seem
"cute" or "fun" to you if your dogs are
"running" the animals, but even doing that, an animal can
break a leg, lose its young (if pregnant) or escape its pen or coral.
Maybe you think the cost of one of those animals isn't too much to bear,
but just wait until your dog is responsible for injury or death to an
animal that is thoroughbred breeding stock. That could cost you
thousands of dollars -- simply because you didn't train or contain your
The other issue with dogs is barking. You want them to bark if
there's a predator in the area, but just like in the city, no one wants
to hear your dogs barking day and night for nothing. Again, training
and/or bark collars are essential.
Rattlesnake Bite Treatment for Dogs
The vast majority of snakebite cases can be treated without the use
of antivenin. A dog that has received antivenin in the past, (and
is probably not in mortal danger from a rattlesnake bite anyway) should
not, in our opinion, ever again receive antivenin.
Used with permission of: Jon
Cats are your organic mousers, snake killers and home entertainment
center. They're fun to watch, and all but two of our 12 live
outside all year round. You may think 12 is a lot, and for the city it
would be, but on 20 acres it's really not. They're out hunting the
fields all day and much of the night. Occasionally we'll lose one to a
predator, but most of the cats we've lost are to the neighbor's domestic
We found that we had the best success with kittens when the mom was
here to teach them. The kittens who have grown into the best
self-preservationists are those that came from a feral mom that we
caught after she gave birth and had fixed.
It seems to be fairly common
for big snakes and cats to face off. I probably wouldn't have
seen this gopher snake had I not spotted Shadow (the cat)
sitting in the hot sun obviously fascinated by something. They
all seem to know who's a serious threat and who's not, and
pretty much work things out for themselves.
Feral, or wild or domestic-gone-wild, cats are a problem. We've had a
few wander in, but some of our neighbors have caught as many as 30, had
them fixed, and returned them to their habitat. Of course all those
found with kittens, the kittens were fixed as well.
It's important to keep the population of cats in check. Don't just
abandon them, and ALWAYS get them fixed as soon as they're old enough.
Animal control will generally lend out cat traps if you request one, and
there county spaying clinics in many areas that will spay and neuter
your domestic animals at a significantly reduced fee, and will sometimes
waive fees all together for feral animals if you let them know.
Some veterinarians will spay and neuter feral cats for free as
Rattlesnake Bite Treatment for Cats
Cats are much more resistant to rattlesnake bite than dogs.
Cats need supportive care, but we do not administer antivenin. We
have not seen fatalities from snakebite in cats or noted permanent
Used with permission of: Jon
Males don't mature until
they're two to three years old, that's when they'll grow their
long tail feathers. Once mating is over, and toward the end of
the summer, a male's tail feathers will fall out and he'll grow
a new set the following year.
These beautiful birds are not native to this area but
have adapted very well. They'll eat a wide variety of things from snails
to chicken scratch. They love dry cat food, Cherios, and pick bugs,
seeds, and plant leaves for their natural diet if not spoiled by us
They co-exist well with a variety of other pets, but can
get very nasty if trying to protect themselves or they're just feeling
intruded upon by the family dog. They have sharp talons and a very sharp
claw up their leg that they use to defend themselves.
roost in trees at night so are not too prone to being attacked by
predators. The females will leave their mate and hide while she nests.
They lay 8-12 eggs a year, but usually only a few hatch, and because the
chicks cannot get into the trees to roost for a month or so, the surviving
chicks only number one or two every year unless you keep them in a pen.
Some people find their call very loud and annoying, so
listen before you leap into having a peacock for a pet.
All photos on this site
are copyrighted. Many are available to purchase, however, at www.19thCentury.us