A Full Day of Dogs and Sheep

Whew what a day!

Last evening we made a long move to bring the flock to a temporary netting paddock near the yard. This way they were closer at hand for today. Starting early this morning right after regular morning chores, Cajun, Jayde and Fynn were hard at work helping to move the flock from there up to the shearing shed (a very difficult feat as it turned out).  Then Allen and I spent the morning catching lambs and docking tails and ringing (castrating) all later born lambs not yet done.

Afterward we let the flock return to the temporary paddock, regroup and graze again. Processing lambs causes great disturbance and stress as the ewes and lambs become seperated for a time and of course the lambs are stressed from the whole procedure.

While they were settling and grazing we went out to the original pasture to collect netting and bring the water bus back.  We took Gibb and BJ along to explore while we did fencing. Electranet loaded, we headed to a new pasture the flock will be moving to and set up a new 4-5 acre grazing cell. This pasture contains lots of meadow brome grass and cicer milkvetch but only a little bit of alfalfa. The grass is thick and high and maturing quickly. Keeping the flock in a smaller area aids the ewes in keeping track of lambs who can easily disappear in the grass. The flock will also graze better and trample the grass down while they do so.

The horses had to be moved so the flock could pass through to the new piece of grass. Then Cajun and I were off to gather the flock again and bring them through the yard and into the new pasture. It was a great job for him alone, as the ewes were familiar with the route but there were still a lot of work to keep the lambs up.

Right after that, Jayde and I sorted some yearling sheep and it was time for a quick stock dog lesson and to work Gibb for a bit, since he and BJ were not involved in any of the work today.

The evening wrapped up with regular chores and feeding guard dogs.

By far the hardest work of the day was getting that flock moved into the shearing shed. Both us and the dogs had to work very hard and persistently to convince ewes and lambs to move indoors. Of course the flock gets stirred up while this is going on and then ewes try to come back out for their lambs. It was incredibly windy today as well and I’m sure that affected the stocks willingness to go inside the building.

It was a great and satisfyingly exhausting day of dogs and sheep. Although I notice the dogs all still have some energy left while I am fading very quickly.

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