This is a sheep scene very different from what I’m familiar with at home. With the snow gone, these pets are being moved out to pasture for the daytime and returned to the corral area for the night. One hardly needs a stock dog to move them, they’re so willing to follow and return at night for their treat of corn. No guardian dogs.
This is a small flock of 37 sheep kept primarily for enjoyment and used to start young stock dogs and train older ones.
Burradoo ranch is equipped with gorgeous and very functional kennels which eases the task of looking after numerous dogs (it is a dream kennel). The main kennel is a large building with ten indoor/outdoor runs. It has an indoor space complete with couch (for special visits and dog snuggling), double sinks and cupboard space. You can access every kennel both from the inside and the outside. Photos of dogs cover the walls and a couple of my photos are pinned up here. There is a second kennel building with five large indoor kennels and with full veterinary clinic on the side, with sink, exam table, bathroom, laundry - the works. Dogs in heat or with puppies are housed here. You can scroll through photos at the Burradoo website (Hover your curser and you'll get a brief explanation with the photos).
All the dogs are housed in indoor/outdoor kennels overnight. In the morning they are taken out for a run, then turned into one of three large exercise yards for the day. Kennels get cleaned and hosed down every day. In the late evening the dogs are let loose from the exercise yards and return to the kennels where they’re fed. After eating they have a second short run, this one just to allow them to do their business, then return to kennels for the night.
During the grazing season the dogs are put to work, going along to mountain grazing allotments where large herds of cattle are put for summer grazing. Rancher and dogs cover miles of ground checking on cattle. This is done on horseback. Later in the summer a large band of sheep moves onto the ranch land here in the valley. There are no guardian dogs with this flock so Bill and Janice, and the Kelpies, take over the task of bringing the flock to the corrals for safe keeping every night. The dogs get lots of work at this time.
It is a part time job to keep up with numerous stock dogs. Since my dogs at home play two distinct roles (stock and guardian) and hence live seperately, it never feels like this does. The high energy here takes some getting used to.
|Photo taken two days ago; snow melted off yesterday|