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Border Collies for Deer Control


Robins All,

Several months ago  I read of the experiences of a few hosta gardeners
regarding the use of Border Collies to control damage by deer.  I missed
my chance to participate at that time, so I want to add my 2 cents worth
now.

John Lanier's post was my favorite to read and enjoy...partly because I
was familiar with John's experiences with Clea, his beautiful female
Border Collie. I had been familiar also with Pete Ruh's experiences as
he described them to me personally via telephone. Descriptions of
excellent control were so  convincing to me that I have joined the ranks
of hosta gardeners with a Border Collie to guard my garden.

In October 1999 I acquired as a gift from my cousin in West Virginia, a
six week old purebred, smooth, tricolored merle male puppy whose sire
was obtained from Scotland at a cost of 700 dollars. This ensures, most
likely, that he came from excellent stock...at least for a working breed
such as a Border Collie. I named my puppy Cleo out of respect for John's
Clea. I took the puppy to Florida where he grew up , bonded with me,
played in the back yard and chased about 500,000 motocycles on the other
side of the fence during "bike week" in Volusia County in March 2000.
He was returned to my tree farm in Oakland MD in June 2000. He took up
his gaurd duty with gusto and has been on duty all summer, doing an
excellent job of preventing the dozens of deer in my wooded neighborhood
from grazing and browsing in my hosta garden. I have practically NO
damage in my acre of hostas which are surrounded by 100's of acres of
dense hardwood forest. So Cleo has done his job and will continue it
through the coming winter. Do deer eat hostas in the winter??? You bet!
If  not prevented, they will chew off fat, dormant buds which exist on
top of huge clumps  of hostas so that they will not sprout in the
spring.

Meanwhile, Alex Summers had been looking for a Border Collie to control
damage in his garden in Bridgeville Delaware  but could not find one.
Border Collies, as you may  know, are in high demand to use in weekend
working dog trials...a new, highly polular weekend sport for
suburbanites and rural dog fanciers. So I searched for one in my area
for Alex. I found a beautiful six week old, white collared, black  puppy
in Princetown, WV in southern West Virginia and took it to Alex who was
delighted with it.  Its name is Rascal, after another dog with the same
name.

So by now, there are perhaps many other hosta gardeners with Border
Collies protecting their owner's investment and hard work. Could we see
a show of hands ( or a brief description of your experiences...good or
bad?)

I am getting a new little puppy from someone who has just had a litter
of six this week. It must be LUV for the breed????????????????????

Jim Hawes

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