Pasture lambing and processing

Here's the place for oldies but goodies -- topics that have not been active for a while but that contain excellent information that users may want to refer to later.

Postby Patrick H. » Fri May 11, 2007 8:18 am

I have a dog. (BC) I am not ready to call her good. She just turned 1 year old and just came back from 1 month of training. She and I have a nightly date with 3 rams in a one acre paddock just trying to get halfway proficient with gathering sheep. My sheep are not dog broke at all and are very flighty with a dog in the field. After weaning I hope to spend some time with the dog and the ewes together and hope that by next year my dog will be more helpful during lambing but I am completly unsure as to how to get her to do this. The trainer that I had work with her is more of a trial person, and really knows his stuff, but has sheep for his dogs, not the other way around.
Patrick H.
Old Hand
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:54 pm

Postby Janet McNally » Fri May 11, 2007 10:30 am

You are right, if you do not have an older quiet dog, it is best to not bring one in the lambing paddock at all. I just processed 14 newborns this morning without a dog and had no problem, but my ewes are pretty mellow.

As your dog matures and becomes steady and quiet (moves slowly downs well, etc) you start bringing her along for lamb processing. They seem to catch on real fast that you want her to work just a single animal. I just point to the ewe and say 'this one' and I think by my body language they know I only want that ewe. I give way and bye commands to direct the dog to block the ewe from leaving. I'm not a dog trainer so maybe there is a better way to prepare the dog, but I've had no trouble getting my dogs to do this if they already understand how to work the whole flock. But it does take a good dog that knows how to turn its power on and off, and usually only older dogs are quiet enough. The young ones are just too much into stirring it up.

Janet
Janet McNally
Tamarack Prolific and Ile de France crosses
Minnesota
Janet McNally
Old Hand
 
Posts: 5779
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:26 pm
Location: East Central Minnesota

Postby Patrick H. » Fri May 11, 2007 11:59 am

Once again thanks Janet, I am really looking forward to the day that happens. I processed about 20 lambs last evening and will do some more this evening after drifting the close ewes out of the current lambing paddock. The ewes are getting better as I am out there at least 3x per day. In the future I will be much better at this. I do have 4 elastrators so that I can band twins without reloading but only have one tagger. That along with a better way of feeding orphans is next on my list.
Patrick H.
Old Hand
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:54 pm

Postby Bill Fosher » Fri May 11, 2007 8:32 pm

Here's my good dog Tweed helping me with a fairly wild Cheviot ewe.

Image

And yes, that is my best side.
Bill Fosher
Westmoreland, NH
Bill Fosher
Chief Shepherd
 
Posts: 5603
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Westmoreland, NH

Postby Janet McNally » Fri May 11, 2007 11:36 pm

Hi Bill,

nice pic!

yesterday my oldest, better trained dog, misty, informed me she is not going to 'do' lambing this year. first look at a just lambed ewe and she jumped back up on the 4 wheeler with that 'no way' look. After a frustrating morning with her hiding from some only mildly cantankerous sheep, I realized it is just not for her (misty is too easily intimidated for one on one work). She does a fine job gathering a whole field, or driving down the road, but lambing is just not her thing.

So I brought out Fern, who hardly knows her commands. Amazing how fast they pick them up though, when they enjoy the work. Fern is still not too sure what to make of the foot stomping, and all too often she wound up behind me, rather than going round to the opposite side, but she really got into working baby lambs and is a real natural lamb catcher. She wont' bite them just knocks into them with her shoulder so I can catch them. Despite her lack of training she was still quite useful to me, although sometimes I had to down her, then *I* had to run to the opposite side to head off the ewe!

I think she will catch on....looks like I don't have any other choice!

Janet
Janet McNally
Tamarack Prolific and Ile de France crosses
Minnesota
Janet McNally
Old Hand
 
Posts: 5779
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:26 pm
Location: East Central Minnesota

Postby Patrick H. » Mon May 14, 2007 9:41 am

I enjoyed the photo and the talk about dogs. I am frustrated with mine right now; trying to do so many different things for the first time. Bill, is the vest that you are wearing in the pic some sort of purpose built device for carrying lambing supplies? I am using a bucket now, and it is just one more thing to carry.
Patrick H.
Old Hand
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:54 pm

Postby Bill Fosher » Mon May 14, 2007 11:36 am

It's actually a Filson waxed canvas shooting vest. I probably would not have sprung for the "very best" on my own, but I made covetous noises about it when my sister was in earshot one day and it appeared under the XMas tree four months later, and I absolutely love it.

I can have all my field gear -- elastrator, ear tag pliers, scale, gambrel restrainer, rings, ear tags, syringes, needles, BoSe, etc., within easy reach and keep both hands free at all times.

This is Tweed's third year as my lambing dog. He's always enjoyed holding a single sheep and loves the contact involved. The two other dogs that I've tried either want to bring the ewe down or just leave it alone, neither of which suits my purpose too well. I really think it is the rare dog that really likes lambing. Many can be trained to do it, but like Janet's dog may opt out at the worst possible moment, or like my other two guys never really get it fully. And some simply can't do it, no matter how much training effort you put into them.
Bill Fosher
Westmoreland, NH
Bill Fosher
Chief Shepherd
 
Posts: 5603
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Westmoreland, NH

Postby DeltaBluez Tess » Mon May 14, 2007 9:40 pm

>>It's actually a Filson waxed canvas shooting vest. I probably would not have sprung for the "very best" on my own, but I made covetous noises about it when my sister was in earshot one day and it appeared under the XMas tree four months later, and I absolutely love it. <<<

What a great sister!!

I made the whiney type of sounds one day for a letterman and farm jacket when I needed both for a job and didn't have them when my brother was helping me at the farm and lo-and-behold for xmas I got a letterman and a nice farm jacket.

He is a great brother.....once he came over to bring me some food (lived over 1 hr away) when I was very ill with asthma and the flu (spouse was out of town)...and I have no idea what posessed me, but I was struggling to build a round pen when he showed up and about passing out in the process. He made me sit down and he built the round pen for me that night. First round pen he ever built and it last until we made a bigger one. So not only I got dinner delivered but a new round pen.

Diane
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Diane Pagel
DeltaBluez Stockdogs
www.deltabluez.com
www.deltabluez.blogspot.com
Carnation, Wa
DeltaBluez Tess
Old Hand
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:51 pm
Location: Carnation, WA

Previous

Return to Archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests