Winter Returns

Sometimes the weather dictates what moves to make and it helps to be flexible and go with it.

The sheep have eaten their way through the bales on the first winter pasture. I wanted to keep them there for a couple days extra to pick through the residue and clean up.  However, winter returned last night, dumping a load of snow.  With the dump of snow I felt poor about keeping the flock there to clean up. If it there was fresh hay rolled out I wouldn’t be bothered about making them dig for it because it would be easily accessed. But there isn’t, there is just what’s left on the ground, which they have to root for. With the snow it makes it a bit tougher for them to find and get a days worth of feed. Besides, the flock can always come back to do clean up.

So this morning I decided that the dogs and I would move the flock to the second winter pasture. I left the girls in the night paddock while I went ahead to roll out two bales on top of the fresh snow. The dogs and I just needed to lead the sheep to it. It was a calm and overcast morning, and very decent to work in. To get where we’re going we pass through the yard, and travel through an intermediate pasture before turning into the gate of the winter pasture. 

Over the winter the pastures not being used sit idle with no one there for several months. This creates the opportunity for wildlife, including coyotes, to move about, hunt and set up camp there. While it’s a relief to see four or five guardian dogs travel out with the sheep and forge ahead to patrol the new territory, I still feel anxious about the sheep for the first day. Particularly right now, since there are a bakers dozen of young lambs in with the flock.

With feeling a little unsure and there being no open water for the animals (they can and do eat snow as they graze) the dogs and I brought the flock back to the night pen tonight as well. It was a good days work and surprisingly, on the morning move, I managed to get a few photos. I'd love to show a video but recording a video while keeping up with sheep and dogs, doesn't work out to well.

Heading to the main gate on the way out
Because I stopped to take the first few pictures, sheep passed me and so did Cajun. He is such a strong heading dog and as soon as he figures sheep are getting away (ie any time they pass me), he goes to the heads, whether I want him there or not. In this case I used him there to hold up the flock while I went ahead to open the gate.

Cajun heading the group

Almost through the gate and starting through the yard

At the new pasture