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Just a quick word of warning -- this is a sad story.


The woman who runs the barn I ride in has dogs in the barn. Today, she had a young, pure bred border collie who was new to the group. The woman explained that the dog is TERRIBLY shy, totally spooked by people, and told me how she wound up rescuing the dog. Dog's owner's roommate had a pet pot bellied pig. Dog herded the pig until it finally died of exhaustion. The roommate said the dog needed to go and the owner was planning to just euthanize the dog. My barn owner said - no, give her to me, and took her. Thank goodness.

But my gosh, I've never heard of a border collie (or any dog) herding an animal TO DEATH. There's obviously so much going wrong here and that the dog is so terribly afraid of people is really heart breaking -- other than taking it slow, any hot words of advice here? I also just wanted to share since I couldn't find ANYTHING online about a BC herding another animal like this. Yeugh.


PS: cute baby tax in the next post. My Niamh is all grown up.

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I have seen a human "herd" (not really the proper term btw) a sheep to death. In the roundup, it was unusually warm ( and the human in question was stupid). Under those circumstances you can even on foot ( let alone horseback or quad) easily walk a sheep in the ground. Exhaustion, fear and heat stress killed it.

I think there is nothing wrong with that dog, just an enthousiastic young dog that was exercising his innate drives on a hapless pig. The fault lies entirely with its previous owners for allowing that behavior. Did they leave him alone with the pig for this to have happened? You should never allow bordercollies unattended near livestock, especially young untrained ones ( and there are a lot of cases in which this went wrong, resulting in injury or death of the stock). Lucky for him your barn owner picked him up. 

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what do we store in our muscles to give us energy when we're not eating? Glycogen. On the slaughterhouse floor, animals have the same - glycogen.

Some animals have more glycogen and their meat turns out as DFD (dark, firm, dry), which is undesirable. aka dark cutting

Some animals have less glycogen (or burn through it more quickly) and their meat is PSE (pale, soft, exudative), which is undesirable

(apologies if i have that backwards - I took that course a while ago)

So whats a stressful time in an animals life? On their way to slaughter. We 'say' that we want to minimize stress because it is more humane, but I really think that its mostly about getting the most desirable cuts of meat afterwards.

Long story short, this pig that was herded to death was experiencing a stress very similar to above, and it may have just burned through all its glycogen and died. There are genetic disorders that predispose this kind of thing. Perhaps this pig had a genetic defect that led it to exhaustion and death from the stress, and any other pig would have been 'fine' with it and lived. (obviously not desirable at ALL but you get what i mean...)

Just throwing a different 2 cents in the well

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5 hours ago, Smalahundur said:

You should never allow bordercollies unattended near livestock

This. Jack Knox, who'd grown up as a shepherd in Scotland, used to (may still) tell folks in his clinics that any good shepherd knows that the worst worriers of sheep are border collies left to their own devices, and that they could worry a sheep to death.

And indeed I saw a sheep die at a clinic on an exceptionally hot and humid day in Maryland. The sheep hadn't even been worked that hard; it wasn't like Jack wasn't watching the sheep for signs of stress or letting the dogs run amok with them in the ring. The sheep were rotated pretty frequently because of the weather and none of the other sheep being worked that day were overworked or unduly stressed. But it does illustrate that if conditions are difficult and perhaps a sheep has a weakness of some sort that it can happen. This was in a controlled environment; with dogs running unchecked it's pretty easy to see how they could worry an animal to death.

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