An Univiting Job With Highlights

Yesterday and today we tackled the one big and uninviting job of the year: selecting and sorting out cull sheep.

The first day started with gathering and bringing the flock to the yards. This was the highlight of the day. I let Cajun handle the job on his own. Typically, for moving the entire flock I use two dogs and Jayde often accompanies Cajun.

Cajun and I have our struggles learning to do this livestock work together and those struggles have eroded confidence and trust in each of us, which we are now rebuilding together. I needed to know that he could do such a large job and accept his way of doing it when he works so unlike what I am used to in Jayde.

Once we were in the yards, Jayde was on hand to provide extra push and get the flock headed into the alleyway and the back pens.

After that the bulk of the work was for Allen and I. Allen and Jayde handled the tough outside job of bringing sheep to the race. I handled the tough inside job of checking the feet, udder and condition of each animal and sorting those that were questionable.

First batch waiting in the alleyway
This was an all day job and with so many animals to sort through there is not time to re-think the criteria. You catch (we use a head gate), check feet, check udder, check condition, make a decision and sort. At the end of the day we had about seventy sheep in our cull pen. Not all of these were for sure culls, some were only in need of a little TLC before being sent on their way but that would have to wait until the next day.

Part way through the day when our front pen was full of non-cull sheep I brought Gibson out for his first taste of work on a larger group. Together we drove those sheep out to pasture so they could return to what sheep do so well - eating.  BJ and Fynn had a little bit of work on this day as well although BJ showed signs that she just isn’t ready for this much yet.

Another batch coming in
The highlight of large jobs like this and the reason I have sheep and continue to enjoy them, is all the dog work involved. I feel blessed to have enough work and to have good dogs to help with it. I am learning so, so much.

The second day Cajun and I brought the cull sheep back into the building and penned them. From here Allen and I could fill the race directly and once again catch each ewe in the head gate. This time we could take the time to tend to the animals as needed, tag and sort off the final culls. The trouble with the second day is the ewes are far more reluctant to enter the catch gate having been there once recently. This day was far shorter than the first and we are all glad to have this uninviting job finished.

Now onto selling.

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