Lifestyle

My Pet: special connection to Border Collie

By Madeleine Caccianiga

Growing up in Numurkah and spending time on the family farm at Drumanure, David Byron thought two border collies would be a perfect fit for his first home.

Showcasing a big backyard for the two boisterous dogs, Mr Byron said ‘‘the boys’’ spent all day chasing birds, playing and guarding the yard.

‘‘My fiancée and I always wanted to have two dogs, so when Scout was about two years old we brought home Blue and they are the best of friends,’’ he said.

With room to spare, Mr Byron built a chicken coop which houses more than 20 pekin bantams.
‘‘They are more like pets and Scout just loves them — he’s developed a bit of an obsession,’’ he said.

While Blue walks alongside Mr Byron to start his ute every morning, Scout deepens his feet into the soil around the chicken coop.

‘‘He just takes off — there is a two inch deep track that runs right around the chicken coop,’’ he said.

‘‘He can do a lap right around the chicken coop and the shed within 10 seconds, we’ve timed him.’’

Since breeding the chickens, Mr Byron said some of the younger ones had started venturing into the backyard.

‘‘They come through the gates because they love the green grass and Scout just follows them around, eventually leading them back out the gate,’’ he said.

Not as interested in the chickens, Mr Byron said Blue was known as the annoying younger brother.

‘‘While Scout’s rounding up the chickens, Blue’s circling him — it’s pretty funny to watch,’’ he said.

Although the chickens are known as ‘‘Scout’s chickens’’, Mr Byron said Blue was more helpful with the hatchlings.

‘‘We had some hatch last weekend in our incubator and there was one chick that hatched early that we were a bit worried about,’’ he said.

‘‘My fiancée brought the chick inside and sat it on the couch with Blue to keep it warm.’’

Mr Byron said the chicken now had eight siblings to keep it company.

‘‘Since we got the incubator we’ve been spending more time handling the chicks than we normally would if they were hatched from a hen and the boys take the time to inspect the babies also,’’ he said.

Mr Byron said Scout now did a head tilt when the word ‘‘chicken’’ was mentioned.

‘‘When I get home from work he doesn’t even wait for me anymore, he just runs off to check his chickens,’’ he said.

‘‘But Blue gives me a grumble and sits for a pat.’’

With plans to buy more land in the future, Mr Byron said hopefully Scout and Blue would be just as attentive to a flock of sheep.

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