With Fall grazing the sheep spread out further to find enough to eat and when there are lots of sheep they disperse in smaller groups. This makes it more difficult for the guardian dogs to guard the front, back and all the side doors.
Coyotes are upping their attempts to steal lamb so we are patrolling the pasture in the mornings when the flock goes out, after lunch and again in the late afternoon.
On this morning, the flock have recently arrived on pasture. After feeding Willow and moving the rams I come along very shortly after on the Ranger, and do a patrol of the perimeter. I scare up a coyote in the North West corner. I patrol further and then I set up on a hilltop on the North end to watch the flock and see where they settle. I’ll make sure the flock is in a group before heading back in to warm up. It is cold and very windy.
Oakley has kept up with the front on the flock. He settles at the foot of a bale, tucked out of the wind.
Whiskey is also with the front of the flock and sets on a hilltop to scout. The property fence-line is a short distance off to the left. Lady is near Whiskey, and also tucked down at the foot of a bale.
A short time later Glory travels in with some more ewes coming to join the rest. Diesel is further back with a group of ewes who headed to a different corner of the pasture and are now making their way around a large wetland to join the main group.
I watch for awhile but know I won’t last too long in the wind.
Oakley, who is the closest to me, alerts and takes off to the North. There is barking and commotion behind me. I stand up on the seat of the Ranger to see. Glory and Whiskey are in a full run. Both have cleared the fence and are moving across the neighbours stubble field.
Oakley, Lady and Diesel follow and carry on with barking. None of them leave the pasture though.
Lady and Diesel return and upon coming over the hill Lady spies me and charges. She soon recognizes it’s me but still acts suspicious. They return to the flock as does Oakley. I don’t see Glory or Whiskey.
Eventually I move off and see to it that any trailing ewes catch up so all the sheep are at least in the same area of the pasture which will give the dogs a much better chance of guarding. I head in to warm up.
When I return in the afternoon I do so on foot and begin with a walk along the South side. Oakley is far off to the South, barking. Diesel approaches and walks with me.
Whiskey is again sitting on a hilltop near the center of the pasture, he doesn’t approach until later.
I travel all the way along the South side heading West and then turn North going along the West fence-line. I get to the North West corner and Glory is with a large group of sheep grazing out that area. The majority of the flock are still on the North side but across a large wetland which cuts through the North end.
Oakley, Diesel and Whiskey have joined me by this point and continue on to the main group of sheep. Lady doesn’t show herself and I guess she is with the main group again. I cut kitty corner across the paddock and move up any sheep who have wandered back toward the South end thus putting everyone together again.
Allen does another patrol in the evening before we bring the flock and all guard dogs to the night pen for much needed rest.