Since October we've lost two of our young layers to our pet Boxer. Talk about a dwindling return on investment. But more than that it has stirred up emotions, ideas, and internal dialog about pets, both companion and producers, and ultimately how the two may or may not co-exist. With the second hen killed, it became obvious that our boxer, Cosmo, has instinctively little control over his innate desire to kill the chickens. While we are around the chickens are pretty well guaranteed that Cosmo will not pounce, rather watch and apparently plot for a better time when one of us turns our attention elsewhere. However, when the moment comes that the chickens are out free-ranging and our gaze is turned inward, upward, wherever, he feels bound to his obligation to be true to his dog nature. After much deliberation, and tales and advice from other dog and bird owner's, we've purchased, ohhh how i hate saying this, a shock collar. It arrived in the mail late Thursday, and today is most likely the day we'll get up the gumption to begin the taming of Cosmo. We really can't live with the constant anxiety of pet and poultry sitting, want a good life for our pets, and at the same time desire a high quality egg product that results from our little flock foraging afield in our yard. At some point we think we'll put in a bigger fence for the girls, but truly they need to crop rotation so that good grass and new bug colonies are at their "beak and call". Neither of us has the stomach for the shock collar, but neither do we have the stomach for yet another premature loss of one of our laying ladies. Wish us luck.