Willa and I have had our differences over the years, and I know for a fact a few chickens have met their demise with her. She does seem to be outgrowing her wild youth though and maturing into a responsible adult. She still has the occasional outburst of energy, but now that she resides exclusively with the alpacas that are taller than her, she doesn’t seem to want to play chase as much. It seems to only be the smaller animals that trigger that impulse.
Unlike Thelma, she absolutely earns her keep around here. Each evening of late, just after I tuck everyone in for the night, I hear the blood curdling howling start; there is a pack of coyotes camped out in the ravine behind the barn. I suppose they are using the spring-fed pond as their winter watering hole. It sounds as if they are coming within feet, not yards, of the perimeter fence. Willa makes it emphatically clear where the boundaries are in case they’ve forgotten, going so far as to have created a rut where she patrols back and forth.
We are bringing another rescue llama in to keep Thelma company, and hopefully refocus her attention back to the sheep, but it is Willa who allows me to sleep at night. Bringing up a livestock guardian dog from a pup isn’t easy; they will try your patience, they will bark at harmless croaking frogs for hours, and they might even eat a chicken or two. Waiting them out is worth it though, eventually you will wake up one day and realize they have quietly become worth their weight in gold.