For the latter part of this winter the guardian dogs settled themselves into two camps. Oakley, Lily, Whiskey and Zeus with the main flock, and the youngest dogs, Tex and Birdie with the rams/wethers. Wren comes and goes. Wren is the outcast and spends more time at the yard than anywhere else (this is why she was in on my foggy walk with the kelpies the other morning).
In my chore routine I go out to check the main flock first and when I do the three youngest dogs often follow me out and visit/eat there. Upon arrival there is sometimes an inspection of sorts by the one or more of the other dogs.
|Tex being inspected by Zeus (L) and Lily (R)|
For a long time Tex floated around not sure where he belonged as Lily would push him away from the flock but yet Zeus was with the rams so he had no real role there either. Then by some way of guardian dog logic (which is magic really) Zeus started staying with the flock and Tex assumed the role with the rams.
Meanwhile, Birdie was well established with the main flock, but when we sorted the groups for breeding I think she became a bit confused. She started to stay with the culls and replacement ewe lambs which were adjacent to Tex and his group. We’ve since sorted the sheep again but instead of going with the animals that returned to the main flock Birdie has elected to stay with Tex. She visits the main flock daily and, unlike Tex, I think in her mind she is trying to do double duty but there is always Lily to watch out for at the main flock.
Earlier this winter Wren was on the receiving end of a beating up by one or more of the other dogs and given her overly soft nature has decided no group of sheep is worth that. She is two years of age but Wren is the puppy here. She has become a yard dog and will not make a good flock dog so will have to be replaced which bothers me on many levels and so I keep putting off any decision making.