Wednesday, May 27, 2015

All The Babes

The pups seem to be changing by leaps and bounds now, becoming more curious and exploring further.



Out on the pasture the older lambs are kicking it up a notch.  The practice of head butting starts early.


And the lamb races are on.





Monday, May 25, 2015

BJ's Trio

Jill and Tamara, and anyone else who has been waiting to see some puppy photos - this post is for you  :-)

The days are full of lambs and pups with a bit of time in between to put my feet up.  I injured my ankle last week and am getting around with a support boot on so the feet up part is needed right now.  The weekend was a blur with lambing check in the morning, taking in the stock dog clinic for the short afternoons and back to the pasture in the evening to catch lambs. 

Allen, home from work for a few days,  did all of the lamb catching today to give me and my sore foot a reprieve.  I drove the Ranger and did the recording in the lambing book.  There are 35 - 40+ lambs birthed each day right now.  I suspect this will be our busiest week and then the pace will taper off again.  We are about half way through.

The stock dogs are not seeing too much work right now and BJ’s trio takes up a bit more time nowadays.  We take them outdoors for the day and return them indoors overnight and spend time each day handling them and enjoying them.  They are really emerging into individuals now and I was amazed to see the first brief instance of stalking behavior in the pups already.  They are just shy of four weeks old.



 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Intermissions

Lambing is chalk full of intermissions with BJ’s precious trio.  If I've had a rough loss on the lambing pasture they help soothe it.


I need to take recent photos as the pups have changed considerably just in the last week.  They are mobile and talkative and now able to spend warm days outdoors in one of the dog runs, coming back into the house for overnight.  Their bodies are taking shape and their features becoming more distinctive each day.  They show some recognition of things other than their mother.  They play more frequently although still not for very long.  I’m am enthralled with watching them grow and change. 

Another intermission is a stock dog clinic taking place this weekend although this time at another location.  Allen and I chose to take a break from hosting clinics this year and then some dear friends stepped in to organize it and host it at a different location so it could still happen.  We loaded and hauled our dogging sheep there yesterday, giving BJ a break from mothering to help us load.  Today I returned with a few stock dogs to work the sheep in the new place.  I will not be able to fully participate in the weekend clinic due to lambing, but I’ll be stopping by for sure to say hello to some good friends.  I’m quite excited the clinic is still able to happen and do wish I could be there in full to work dogs and visit. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sweetness

Lambing is moving along swiftly, full of the successes and losses it is prone to and roller coasting me on the ride along with it. 

With the loss of fences and the ewes moving around on the 800 acres they have access to it is tougher to keep track of the numerous lambs on the ground now.  I'm not sure I could call this drift lambing but I guess it's a natural variation of it.






Sunday, May 17, 2015

That'll Do Kelpies, That'll Do

I traveled southward this weekend to help Larry and Liezel at Shamrock Ranch with the vaccination of sheep they are custom grazing/raising for a year.  I took a couple stock dogs with, in case there was some stock work to be had and indeed there was. 

Our first hurdle before working sheep was convincing several guardian dogs we were there in peace, even though we were going to move their sheep.  Next was negotiating two very protective llamas that wanted to stomp the dogs.  After that was worked out we were good to go to work.

It became apparent that these sheep would move better if driven from the rear rather than gathered.  They were not interested in following a human leader.  They are also in a new place and so didn’t have the familiarity of knowing where they might be headed to as farm sheep often do.

They flocked quickly and tightly and when they felt insecure about going into an unknown they set to milling immediately, which is really a thing of beauty in its own right but very difficult to direct motion from.  Gibson and Mic and I did some beautiful and difficult pieces of work to get  forward movement of the large milling flock and then long stretches of driving work across the pasture up to the corrals.  

I did make a poor judgement call when I put young Mic in the corrals to help with crowding ewes into a holding pen.  Some ewes had lambs at side and Mic was over-faced.  It fried her mind for a bit and she resorted to using her speed as power which was ineffective in this situation.  I could see the effect on her the next day when driving another mob again.  Back at home today I put her to work on a smaller group and she willingly stepped forward to turn heads so hopefully we haven’t gone too far backward.  Gibson surprised me with patience and control and holding the wings of the mob when I moved him over to do so.  He also showed a willingness to come forward and say move when the ewes tried to stand up to him.  He was tense about it but he sure stepped up and had good success. 

It was a treat to see Gibson and Coyote Mic work elsewhere on a large flock of sheep and to handle them through doing so.  It made my week to see the dogs work in that fashion and to have worked the two dogs together without having a wreck.  What I had done only occurred to me later.  At home I work two dogs together quite often with varying degrees of control, but I have never done so away from my own sheep or for that matter with an audience watching. 

That’ll do Kelpies, that’ll do :-)