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"Element Of SURPRISE Truly Possible Around Early Farms?" Topic

23 Posts

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1,293 hits since 14 Oct 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Cacique Caribe14 Oct 2018 12:59 p.m. PST

After watching this "organic" method of pest control on farms, I find it VERY difficult to believe that many army units (this would include Neolithic/ancient war parties and later marauding groups) could pass between farms without immediately raising some sort of an alarm:

(WARNING: Video is not intended for delicate individuals)
YouTube link

Do you allow for natural "alarm systems" in your raiding scenarios?

PS. My grandfather had lots of dogs (and very aggressive and vigilant geese) on his farm and, back in the 1920s, rum runners learned quickly to never conduct their smuggling operations on the outskirts of his property. Well, not without his permission at least. :)



French Wargame Holidays14 Oct 2018 1:35 p.m. PST

this is why Dogs are a mans best friends!

We had eleven working dogs on the farm, they let us know as soon as somebody strange was within 500m.

Now Geese are more effective IMHO, our neighbour had them and he would get warning at about 1500m.

Both give an effective warning, so yes useful


ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 2:34 p.m. PST

IIRC Rome had geese outside the walls for an alarm system. Beats ADT & you can even eat them in an emergency!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 2:39 p.m. PST

Forget about ancient/neolithic. They had geese around nuclear weapon sites in Germany during the Cold War.

And in the words of The Begatting of a President, "dogs are The Man's best friend."

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 3:49 p.m. PST


Oh My! My delicate sensibilities have been triggered, where is the TMP Safe Space I can cower in?

Actually, very interesting video as I have never seen Terriers worked. Spending part of my youth on a farm I am familiar with the "Barn Cats" leaving their prizes (mice/rats, rabbits, etc.) laying around.

During Neolithic times the farmers probably ate some of the varmits as well. Protien is protien, after all.

YouTube link


KPinder14 Oct 2018 4:38 p.m. PST

A friend tells a story of his youth when he worked on his uncle's farm in Ohio. Seems their problem was wild dogs. If they raided the farm at night you simply DID NOT go out to confront them, no matter how well you were armed.

Well, also on this farm was a mean nanny goat. She was so bad they had to keep her horns ground down.

One night the dogs came. By morning the dogs were gone, and the goat looked like it'd been dipped in red paint, it was so bloody. Come to find none of the blood was hers. They found 3 dead dogs tho.

Not one farm animal was hurt.

Pat Ripley Fezian14 Oct 2018 6:23 p.m. PST

the population was a lot smaller the further back you go so pretty likely they could simply go around them if they bothered to stay hidden

Stryderg14 Oct 2018 6:26 p.m. PST

There's a university research farm near here. They always have donkeys in with the sheep. Found out from my dad that coyotes will come after the sheep and the donkeys will kill them.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 6:58 p.m. PST

Yes, the farms around here raise beef cattle and keep donkeys in with the cattle. Sometimes even deer hang out with the cattle because it's safer!

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Cacique Caribe14 Oct 2018 7:01 p.m. PST

I've seen llamas protect sheep from coyotes and big-ish cats. But they don't make an "early alarm" ruckus the way dogs and geese would.



Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 7:56 p.m. PST

I would think 'how early' the ruckus would be. If the raiding party was within 500 meters of the farm when the dogs let out the alarm, how much warning is that?

Cacique Caribe15 Oct 2018 1:46 a.m. PST

At the very least it would start a domino effect, as the dogs in the area will pick up the signal from their neighbors. And owners know when their dogs are barking in alarm and when they aren't. Soon enough every little farm house in the valley will be getting ready for the raiders, hiding valuables and sending off for reinforcements.

So, if the whole valley has farmers with dogs and geese for example, the sand in the raiders' hourglass will already be pouring out even before they strike the first house.

Of course, if the farmers are mean to their dogs, constantly mistreating them or view their dogs as food and not as loyal partners, they might not get much warning at all. :)

PS. Granted, it's not as effective as the signal fire beacons of Gondor, but it sure beats having no alert system at all.


goragrad15 Oct 2018 4:28 a.m. PST

By the way, the rat colony in that video was surprisingly large for being in a plowed field.

As to the terriers, as I noted in that post on the cats and their reaction to the rats at the waste facilities, you want rat control get terriers…

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 6:49 a.m. PST

A couple of years ago two alligators found their way up into the Tennessee River lake system in Northern Alabama. They went after some cattle near the river. The farmer also had a mule in the same field. Result: Two dead gators.
You do not mess with a mule.

Legion 415 Oct 2018 7:20 a.m. PST

I like dogs better than people !

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 8:45 a.m. PST

I find it amazing that the rats in such large numbers were in such loose dirt rather than buildings or harder dirt.

Winston Smith15 Oct 2018 11:30 a.m. PST

Nobody has yet brought up the Sacred Geese of Juno?

Vae victis!

Winston Smith15 Oct 2018 2:03 p.m. PST

Terriers playing tug of war with rats reminds me why my dog loves to play tug of war. While I'm trying to watch TV.

Hector Blackwolf15 Oct 2018 3:47 p.m. PST

I think part of the question is how much surprise is needed and how much warning is enough?

Let's say I'm your friendly neighborhood marauder come to steal your stuff. Are animals going to supply enough early warning to allow to actually mount an effective defense? Likewise, once I hit the first farm or the outskirts of a settlement very quickly everyone nearby will know something unpleasant is going on. But it takes time to get organized while panic and confusion spread quickly.

Now, if you already have men under arms and/or some type of gate or fortification a couple of minutes alert might be enough. The Battle of Sedgemoor, for example, demonstrates that troops can be rather quickly be brought to action to fend off a surprise attack.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian15 Oct 2018 6:35 p.m. PST

Terriers playing tug of war with rats reminds me why my dog loves to play tug of war. While I'm trying to watch TV.

You should do something about those rats in your living room… evil grin

Winston Smith15 Oct 2018 11:30 p.m. PST

That's what a dog is for.
I really have to consider getting an auxiliary dog. I usually have two.

Cacique Caribe16 Oct 2018 3:43 p.m. PST

You should always have two, at least.

One alone is not much of a defense against large or determined enemies.


Aethelflaeda was framed17 Oct 2018 7:44 a.m. PST

Playing tug of war with your dog is probably more fun than watching TV. My dog often wants to play when I am painting figs and has jostled me more than once to get my attention ruining my fig. Nothing to do but go play with her, she is insistent.

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