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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

Isaac is Not A Shepherd

Isaac had such potential. He lets me know when there is a predator, he wakes us up faithfully every morning with his voice, I watched as he lets “his girls” eat before him and when he found a great food spot, he clucks merrily letting the flock all know. He seemed to have shepherding qualities.

Isaac, the rooster, had such potential, but Isaac never left the flock (14) to go after the 1.

Isaac is NOT a shepherd, he could be called a guard rooster, but he is no shepherd.

We had put up a pallet fence around the compost bin to give the chickens a bit more area to run around in, but with the ground still a bit frozen, getting the electric fence in the ground was a challenge, so we  “made do” with our pallet fence.

Unfortunately, there are some of the girls that jump up on top of the compost bin and then think nothing of flying down on the “other side” of the bin. They realize quickly that they are not with the others and start running back and forth, clucking. The girls on the inside and Isaac all cluck away, voicing their encouragement to try to get the wandering gal back into the pen. That has yet to happen.

If it takes a while for the wandering chicken to figure it out, Isaac will set himself onto the top of the compost bin and start “cock a doodling” loudly until I notice, which if I am inside, often takes a while, to go out and check it out.

Isaac does not put himself into danger by flying down to join the lost chicken.

After a few days of chasing chickens, I sometimes bring the dogs with me. Mocha is a great chicken dog, Mila…. not so much. She is still puppy behaviour and for her, if it runs, bunny, chicken, grouse… you name it, well heck, the chase is on!

The first time a chicken escaped I grabbed the meal worm bag which has a nice loud “crackle” sound and the chickens have come to learn that that bag has their best and fondest food in it. I shook the bag, and the chickens (2) came running and were easy to follow the bag and me to the gate where I could get them back in.

The 2nd time, the one chicken wanted to come to the bag but every time it came around the corner, there were 2 large brown fur balls thinking it was “game time”. The chicken would run the other way and that was a mistake because if a chicken “runs” those dogs are on it!

It was only 1 chicken this time and Mocha got the chicken over to the gate, I had not made it yet, but Mila took up the chase and that poor chicken got so scared, it literally flew over the gate and back into the pen. Well, that was easy.

The next day, there was 1 chicken out again, so I shook the crackle bag, the chicken did not come. I went after it, and as I got to it, the 2 dogs also did and darned if that chicken did not “run”. I was running one way, trying to out think the chicken, the dogs were hot on the trail and it literally ran around the coop in a circle. I had not left the gate open so I ran back around to open the gate, but that meant rounding up the other chickens so they could not escape. Got that part done and off I went again to see if I could get the chicken. Nope, that chicken and the dogs were in full “game-on” mode now. I was shouting but the dogs did not slow down or miss a beat. At one point behind the coop, I heard the chicken screech and then quiet. I ran around the coop to see if the dogs had killed the chicken but I could find no trace of it.

I noticed that all other 14 chickens and Isaac had run inside the coop, I am thinking watching their friend get attacked by 2 dogs was much to traumatic for them. The cheering section was gone.

I took the dogs to the house and then went back, with the crackly meal worm bag and began shaking, crinkling and trying to make as much noise as I could. Nothing. My heart sank because I was sure the dogs had killed it or maimed it and it was laying somewhere, but where?!

I looked all around and then bent down to look under the coop, I could see nothing. I got some sunflower seeds and shook them by the coop and went inside for ½ hour.

When I went back out, no chicken.

I went back in and then back out in an hour, no chicken. Waiting another hour I took a flashlight because it was getting dark, but I could not see any sign of the chicken.

I confessed via text to Brian that I had “lost” a chicken. He said, “okay,” not sure what he really could say to that kind of news.

He looked for it when he came home from work, but no chicken.

Early the next morning, we had left the gate open in case it came out, still no chicken.

Brian went down a bit later and said he saw the chicken under the coop. It was alive but not budging.

We let the other chickens out and went back and checked an hour later and that chicken was now out from under the coop and wanted to go in with her friends. She was fine.

This whole experience made me analyze what exactly is a good shepherd, it is not Isaac. Isaac could be compared to a bouncer, you know those burly guys who if touble walks in, they will meet it head on, but they won't go outside looking for the fight.

I came up with a list of what is a good shepherd.

1)     Protector of the flock

2)     Protect from predators

3)     Guide the flock to food and water

4)     Shear and groom the flock

5)     Nurse and bandage wounds when necessary

The following picture is exactly what we expect of our shepherd: “He left the 99 to go after the 1.”  Matthew 18:12


(picture available on Amazon and Etsy)

That’s our Jesus, the true shepherd of His flock (us people of the world).

When Jesus calls Himself a shepherd, it becomes evident that He is willing to do the true shepherd work. He is not about loosing anyone.

Jesus says, “my sheep know my voice.”  In Israel often the sheep are in a communal pasture, the shepherds put them all together in a pen for the night. In the morning the shepherd would stand at the gate and start talking to his sheep, when he opened the door, only his sheep would come to the sound of his voice. If those sheep did not recognize the voice, they stayed put.

It is imperative that we know our shepherds voice, as there are so many voices in the world clamouring for our attention. The only way you can know the true shepherds voice is to spend time with Him. Today, take the time to listen to your shepherds voice so you will not follow the wrong crowd and stay close to Him so that should you get on the wrong side of the fence, He will come find you cause He is not afraid to fight for you.

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