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...Day 2 the plan fell apart


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#1 ejano

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

Flushed with success from Brodie’s training yesterday, I headed to the farm with Robin. Same sheep, same routine….very different results.

As with Brodie yesterday, I started out by taking my sweet little Shetland, Silver Belle for a stroll. I have aspirations of showing her in the breed ring so I’ve halter broken her and she leads very well. I had the notion I might teach Robin something about distance, which seemed to work okay. Again, going away from the barn, everything was just fine.

On the way back Robin found himself in the same dilemma as Brodie yesterday. Though he has never had Brodie’s predilection for heading, today responding to the pressure, he wanted to head yet all of his instincts told him he needed to be behind us. His response was to attempt to orbit around us but he couldn’t because he ran smack into the paddock fence. Most dogs would have doubled back and I fully expected Robin to do the same, I prepared to catch him on the quarter turn and position him properly. “Outsmarted you just this once, you Red Dog,” I snickered, just in time to watch him continue his “away” circle by clearing the paddock fence.

I’m not sure who was more surprised. I came to an abrupt halt, my little Shetland at my side, thinking….how do I get him out of there? He came to an abrupt halt, clearly thinking…okay, now what do I do? Then – wait, I don’t need to get out of here - there’s MORE SHEEP in here! Preparatory to our walk to the slope, I’d separated out my two Cluns to idle in the paddock, leaving the others in a pen in the barn. I could hear Daffodil, my puppy sheep, sighing. Here we go again.

Robin is a bombastic, pushy dog. I have been advised by someone who knows what they’re talking about that I should send him away for training and there are days – like today – when I am ready to make that call. But then, I can’t bear to part with him for that month or two of foundational training. I need him. He challenges me because he lives life large with great expectations for each day.

Today he hit the jackpot. He’s in the paddock with two sheep all his own to do with what he pleases. How he came to be in these fortunate circumstances, he doesn’t question. He crouches….starts to slink.

“Robin, lie down,” I whimper into a sudden gust of wind. “Stay,” I whisper, a note of pleading in my cracked voice.

He lies down – and stays while I, my little princess in tow, make a gimping dash for the gate. “That will do,” I call prayerfully and he runs to me. Somehow, with Silver Belle dancing on my toes, I crate him in the SUV, and then marched my relieved little sheep into the barn to put her into the pen with the others.

I should have quit there but you know, I was just so darned proud of him for listening to me, holding firm when it was so tempting to chase those sheep all around the paddock, for doing everything right -except jumping the fence, of course. But that’s Robin. He seldom considers going around an obstacle; he’ll go over it, under it, or just plain through it without hesitation. I should have named him Admiral Nelson.

We collect ourselves, I swing the gate wide. If something goes wrong, I think, they’ll head back here. Daffodil lingers, wanting no part of this lesson. Snowdrop is hungry. Her bell tinkles, urging her twin onward. We start off with no serious difficulties but halfway down the fenceline Daffodil gets annoyed. Robin is persistently inside her flight zone and I keep pushing her off because she is in my back pocket. Nothing suits her about her present situation so she kites off to the north at fast trot.

Robin makes a beautifully sweeping turn around her. They dance in figure eights against the green grass and I wishing for a camera suddenly realize I must run for my life as a 150 pound sheep is bearing down on me with no obvious intention of stopping. Robin has a very enthusiastic fetch.

Daffodil manages to put on the brakes. Perhaps she didn’t want to hit the fence. Snowdrop raises her head with an “Are we done playing yet?” expression and off we go again, wearing our way down the fenceline.

I was so proud of my dog when we arrived at our destination. The sheep dropped their heads to graze and I thought….hmmn- time for a break. “Go play” I told Robin, looking longingly at the camp chair Ken had left for me.

Robin’s expression clearly said, “Are you NUTS?” as I stepped between him and the sheep and in that instant our perfect world fell apart.

The paddock comes to a point just above the slope. Hayfield to the north and a tractor lane along the fenceline to the south with an opening in the stone wall into my cousin’s perfectly manicured lawn. I’ve teased him about bringing the sheep over to “mow” his lawn and suddenly, hoof prints all over that beautiful lawn were a distinct possibility as Snowdrop darted up the tractor lane. Predictably Daffodil headed up the opposite fence line, back the way we’d come, through the hayfield. It was a 7-10 split. My Red Dog was dumbfounded.

Stupid, stupid me. I was at the farm by myself; no cell phone. Robin escorted Daffodil back and we lingered on the slope, watching Snowdrop watching us. She was dangerously close to that opening to my cousin’s lawn. If she passed by that turnout and went further on, she’d be in my not so secret garden beside the barn, and further than that – gulp – in the road. I daren’t send Robin after her as he had no way to do an outrun in the lane – he’d be chasing behind her straight to the road. After a few minutes consideration she caught her bearings and headed for the barn. A slightly better choice than my cousin’s lawn.

I made an executive decision, hoping it was a better one than the last. We sent Daffodil on the same path as her sister and left them bawling in a corner of the Not So Secret Garden. I clipped Robin on lead and we hustled (for the second time!) back to the barn. I pushed open the south door, banged on the grain barrel with my stick on the way through the alley then fled through the north door, shutting it behind me. A chorus of bawling let loose as we hustled around the front of the barn, slipped inside again and Robin lay down, gleefully holding his lost sheep against the solidly closed north door of the barn. I shut the south door, clipped him to a handy long line I keep beside the south door and flung open the pen door and the door to the paddock so everyone had a clear flight path away from the dog. “In you go, girls.” I gasped with relief. With Robin at the ready the sheep in the pen moved outside and the twins were more than eager to join them.

Robin is a good dog. He forgave me my foolish call. We sat on my bench in the garden looking at the sheep picking through their hay, me muttering at the disaster averted and the many things that could have gone wrong but didn’t. Next time, I thought, I’ll leave the barn doors open as well as the gate. They’ll have options. As always, Robin was eager to go again but no, we’re not pressing our luck a third time Red Dog. We’ve had quite enough adventure for one day. But we’ll be back tomorrow. With a barrier for that tractor lane. And I’m putting in a work order for the east gate…no more long trips down the fenceline.

Back home, I slumped before the fire contemplating pleasant things. A stiff drink. Scotch came to mind. A long soak in the hot tub followed by a snooze in front of the fire before bedtime. My eyelids drooped then snapped wide open. The gate. I hadn’t closed the gate.

My husband responds instantly to plaintive howls for help. We careened down the road to the farm, three border collies swaying in the back of the SUV. I know I didn’t close that gate, I said. I know I didn’t. Which way would they have gone? I pictured Lamb Chops devouring Grandmother’s Forsythia then starting on the Lilacs; the big Cluns, Tulip, and my little Shetlands scattered to the winds...and it's getting dark. I look back at the dogs. Just how equipped are you for this little adventure?

We careened to a stop by the gate, solidly closed with all six sheep safely tucked behind it, looking somewhat surprised to see us again so soon. “The wind blew it shut,” Ken pointed to the unfastened latch, swinging in the stiff evening wind. "Probably while you were chasing them the first time or they'd have gotten out when you let them out of the pen." I love this man. He didn’t even yell at me for leaving it open.

I let out one long heartfelt sigh of relief then opened the back hatch of the SUV. The dogs tumbled out into the gloaming light. Brodie raced out into the near field to inspect his favorite woodchuck hole, sweet Ladybug behind him. Robin halted at the gate, satisfied to be once again staring at his sheep. I watched the Passover moon rising above the Pinnacle and could only repeat the words of Sue R. Life is good. Life is very good. Especially when your sheep are in the pasture where they belong. :)

No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
---Louis Sabin - All about Dogs as Pets.

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Ladybug, Brodie, Robin


#2 bcnewe2

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:50 AM

Wonderful! Such a climatic ending!

Kristen
 

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#3 gcv-border

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:59 AM

I loved reading about Brodie's and Robin's adventures - and your -- er -- misadventures. :D I am glad all was calm again.

Jovi

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#4 TEC

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:28 PM

Both you and your dogs will grow doing work that has real consequences for the right and wrong decisions. For me, I don't recall routine training exercises as much as doing a nice job in a tricky farm situation, or the mess that occurred when I did thus and such. Exercises to lay a foundation have their place, but farm work is fulfilling to the dogs.

You are approaching this adventure just right, IMO, taking it in little steps. Have fun and best wishes. Enjoy the well-written updates. -- TEC
          Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. - Patton

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#5 Sue R

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:09 PM

This is such a fun read! Of course, it wasn't fun for you when it was happening.

When I would get upset over something, a friend used to ask, "Did anyone die? If not, get over it." When things go wrong, unless something happens that you can't fix, work on, or restore, it will be okay and will be a learning experience.

Some of the absolute best learning experiences at Anna's were when things did not go according to my plan. That's when I had to think (most likely, quickly, or occasionally with time to reflect a bit) and figure things out. Figure what I had done wrong. Figure what had gone wrong and why. Figure out how to do it better so it didn't go wrong again. Figure out how to fix the situation that resulted.

One day, it was just a few sheep heading down a fenced lane when they should have gone through a gate. Had to trust Dan and send him on that sort-of-impossible outrun - which he did just fine, running right along the fenceline and around them, screeching to a halt in front of them, and turning them back - ripping off bits of a couple of pads on the pavement, but doing the job and fixing the problem created by our/my inexperience.

One day, it was the whole flock, escaping into a grove (I didn't realize there was an open gate into the grove and, worse yet, that the gate could not be closed to prevent Peggy Sue from following them). What to do? Well, gather and put the sheep back through the gate, then worry about Peggy Sue. So we did and guess what? Peggy Sue followed her sheep back through the gate.

One day, it was some very clever sheep that saw their chance and took off for the environs of the night pen - down the lane, up another lane, kitty-corner across another area, up another lane, and out of sight. And Anna with a gouty toe could not help so Dan and I had to go up and figure it out entirely on our own. And we marched off (pulling up big girl pants, again), found the errant and wily sheep, and brought them back where they belonged.

I hate it when things don't go in the perfect fashion that I imagined. But, I have to admit, that those times have probably been the most productive learning experiences I have had because I have had to see what went wrong, figure out what I needed to do, and do it. And if Plan B didn't work, then come up with Plan C. And nobody died, fortunately.

You go, girl!

PS - A good husband is worth more than his weight in gold, but you know that already.
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#6 ejano

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:08 PM

Thanks everyone for your encouragement.

Day 3 went slightly more smoothly...We tried again today and are 3/4 of the way there now -- I now have a kissing gate right at the end of the pasture thanks to DH working hard all morning in a cold wind. Getting back through it was an absolute failure but in truth, it wasn't my fault - or Robin's. Ken was there, sitting in his truck eating lunch after building this wonderful gate. I walked the sheep through, sat in my camp chair at the top of the slope, let Robin pursue his favorite occupation in the world - watching his sheep without a single word to him. He did a great job of keeping them close - like at my feet close - I had some slight reservations about sitting in the chair, thinking I might get trampled, but I put my back up to shrubbery in the hedgerow, Robin beside me so I felt pretty safe.

Daffodil my (former) puppy sheep never relaxed. She didn't get one mouthful of grass as she was too busy staring down Robin and he at her. Snowdrop had a feast. It was actually interesting to have them so close, grazing because you could see what sheep or at least Snowdrop likes to nibble. She nibbled at the honeysuckle with relish but ignored the briars. She ate all grass, ignoring any weeds.

When we're ready to go back, I tiptoe around into position and Robin follows my lead going to the opposite side of the sheep. We're just ready to go back through the gate and that stinking Daffodil cuts around the opposite side of the truck just to be difficult. She really dislikes the dogs - that's why she runs to me first thing. Snowdrop knew where she was going and Robin cut back to get Daffodil at the same time DH leaped out of the truck bellowing at the top of his lungs DOWN YOUR DOG.

Poor Robin. He hit the deck because Ken rarely yells like that. There went Daffodil roaring back to the barn and just for good measure, Snowdrop decided to be difficult as well and hightailed it after her twin. But THIS time, I'd left the barn doors open (one does evolve - slowly). If DH hadn't gone charging after them at full speed I'm sure they would have gone directly into the barn. As it was he felt the need to chase them down...(big discussion still ongoing about THAT).

But, all's well that ends well, so they say. DH and I will start speaking to each other eventually and I'll be back at it tomorrow but that stinking Daffodil is staying in the barn. She's a sneak. We need a more dependable player while we're working on this chore. I'm thinking that once several of the sheep get the idea that we go back in the gate we came out of, they'll drag the others along and the whole journey will be much easier.

I see that sheep sense is really important - for me and the dog. If I understand what the sheep are doing, then I can trust Robin's suggestions. He laid down on his own when we morphed into "tending" but was tense, ready for action. It's an interesting question - if he had relaxed, would Daffy (her new name!) have relaxed too? Or did she have to drop her head and start to graze before he dialed it down a notch?

I have a pretty good read on my girls and Lamb Chops most of the time and I would bet that if DH hadn't got out of the truck, bellowing at the top of his lungs (not to mention slamming the door) that Daffy would have come to me because Robin was behind her doing his job...poor Robin. He's the real loser in the situation having been set up for failure twice,but we went into the paddock and practiced driving the whole flock between the two sections so we ended on a successful note.

And we'll try again tomorrow... I do have to say, I'm finally glad I got this new knee. It really is working well at 10 weeks out!

No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
---Louis Sabin - All about Dogs as Pets.

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Ladybug, Brodie, Robin


#7 Sue R

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:55 PM

Can you set it up that the sheep graze and you and the dog are located down toward the gate, a distance from them? I don't equate "tending" with the dog and sheep at my feet. Somebody, as you notice, is not going to be able to relax and a bit part of this as an exercise is remaining alert and aware but relaxed (on the dog's part) and relaxed and grazing and supervised (on the sheep's part).

If there is only one way in and out of the field (and I'm not sure if that's the case), couldn't you position yourself and your dog (and chair, and book, and warm drink, in this case) down towards the gate so that the sheep are all relaxed enough to graze, and you and the dog are applying gentle, distant pressure to keep them up there and not down towards the gate? (Long sentence, I know.)

Give DH a big reward for building the gate and sticking around to help. My DH is king of yelling, "Down your dog!", too. That's his solution to every situation that isn't going smoothly or as planned, and it sometimes does have merit. Of course, it might even work better if he was to leave you to your tending and go back home, and you call him on your cell once the sheep are safely put away for the day... Never underestimate the effect of throwing in something like a bellowing man and a slamming door, on a situation that is already running on adrenaline.

About the relaxation - the sheep won't relax if the dog is putting that sort of pressure on her (the tension he is transmitting) and the dog won't relax if the sheep is tense, so it's a lose-lose situation. If the sheep trusts the dog and he releases some pressure (turns his head, relaxes his posture, closes his eyes a bit), she can then graze - but would you graze if the "wolf" is staring at you, up close and personal and intently? I don't think so. And if the "prey" is nervous, the dog will feel that and respond.

Try putting some distance into the tending part but making sure to position yourself and the dog to encourage the sheep to be up and grazing where they should be. If the sheep are of the nature that they will stick by you no matter what, then you'll have to figure out how to deal with this differently. And it may just be that you have to sort out the "problem" sheep, as you noted.
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#8 bcnewe2

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:51 AM

I remember last year here, no fencing, new place made for some nervous grazing on my part. It is better if you can let the sheep drift a bit but they will learn to graze close if that's what they are offered. Just takes a bit more relaxing time on the dog and the sheep's end.
You all are lucky, my dh doesn't say anything, he kinda likes watching me freak! Although in the middle of a big family gathering last night he was kind enough to tell me I had a momma, new lamb and another ewe wandering down the road. Gee, thanks hon. You think you could tell those kids to quit chasing them?
Long ago when dew was young she broke out of the yard and chased a sheep into the pond. There they were both swimming round. I'm quickly walking over and figuring out what I'm gonna do when dh yells, get my gun! I asked what for, his reply was that he was going to shoot either the sheep or the dog.
Got them both out and no one got shot and from then on if I worked that sheep to hard he'd head for the pond!.

Oh the tales you will have to share and laugh about!

Kristen
 

The world is a magical place...
Full of people waiting to be offended by something!

 

 

 

 


#9 juliepoudrier

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 08:33 AM

Liz,
Am I understanding correctly that you are taking just two of the sheep out to graze? If you work up the nerve, it would be best to take all 6, or at least 4. Two sheep don't behave like a flock, and that could well be why Daffodil is unable to relax and is causing trouble. Two sheep feel very vulnerable, even with dogs they know. A larger group will tend to stick together better, and you might find things going better. Just a suggestion, and I apologize if I've misinterpreted what you've written.

J.

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

~Vincent van Gogh



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Julie Poudrier
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Willow, Farleigh, Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Twist (the troll), Katty Rat, Little Miss Larky Malarky, Phoebe (the rabid possum), Pipit (aka Goober), Kestrel (aka Messy Kessie), and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis sheep and mule sheep



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#10 ejano

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:41 AM

Liz,
Am I understanding correctly that you are taking just two of the sheep out to graze? If you work up the nerve, it would be best to take all 6, or at least 4. Two sheep don't behave like a flock, and that could well be why Daffodil is unable to relax and is causing trouble. Two sheep feel very vulnerable, even with dogs they know. A larger group will tend to stick together better, and you might find things going better. Just a suggestion, and I apologize if I've misinterpreted what you've written.

J.


Yes, I'm just taking the two that I thought were most sensible. Daffy (her new name) is now excluded from that category :). I believe now that I've been reading her wrong and she's actually quite a PIA. She only comes to me because it gets her away from the dogs, but I suppose in the sense of being a "puppy" sheep, that qualifies her. Oh, dog...go person...I'll be safe there. So, I do think she would have followed me and the other sheep had not DH thought to be so helpful. (We're still not discussing that!) If she didn't go in the gate with us, she would have hung on the other side of the fenceline, walking back with us.

I might throw Tulip into the mix the next time - She's a fast little thing, though. The Shetlands would be all right too and Lamb Chops, well - one can't be parted from Lamb Chops. He's a thorn in one's side, so he could go too. Though seeing all six out there might give DH a genuine heart attack. What I could do is let some of them into the back half of the paddock where I want the sheep do go when they are finished grazing. THe ones in the paddock might serve as bait for the ones on the loose.

With time, I know I could get this, but I need some kind of a catcher's mitt past the barn so the whole circus doesn't end up in the road. I won't send the dog after them once the sheep gets past a certain point because it is a straight line to the road.

If you think of the farm as a long rectangle divided intermittently, maybe my mutterings make more sense.. The house and greenhouses are on one side of the road with about five acres of field, garden and small orchard surrounding them. The other acreage follows in a straight line across the road, with the old horse barn now housing the sheep, my brother-in law's garden on the north side, a little plot I'm developing on the south side, and the fields and orchard behind it - near field out of which we cut an acre for the sheep paddock, the slope (sometimes referred to as cardiac hill), the first meadow, the second meadow, the orchard, the far field, and at the top of the far field, the Pinnacle, the highest point in the farm. This is the old home place - the original 40 acres of the farm from the 1850's.

We're now talking about either Electronet which is portable or building a permanent fence ( between the near field and the slope for several reasons - ATVers roar through the property at will because we're not there all the time and all the bar ways are open. Some hard fencing with locked gates would send a clear message. I could leave the sheep out for the entire day rather then the few hours I might spend with them. I think we're going to need that option - it's been a dry summer here so far...

The perimiter of the property is surrounded by stone walls/hedgerows so once my brother in law puts his garden fence up, I only need about 50 feet of fence on either side of the garden fenced and the entire near field will be available for winter foraging as well. We take a nice hay crop off it in the summer. The dogs would still have plenty of work to do to take the sheep for grazing in different fields for the day and bring them back. IF I could get this sorted out, the sky's the limit...I could add more sheep! A nice challenge in coming years.. might be to take them all the way through the meadows, the orchard, to the far field to graze...there's a nice grassy road that meanders through it all..

Ah....dreams...

Happy Easter everyone!

No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
---Louis Sabin - All about Dogs as Pets.

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Ladybug, Brodie, Robin


#11 bcnewe2

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:33 PM

Oh Liz
I hadn't figured out that you were taking only 2 sheep either. I totally agree with Julie, 2 aren't really gonna settle like the whole group. I know it's scary but really, the group will be calmer.

If you've fed them grain then I'd keep a little bucket of that handy, if you get nervous you can shake the bucket with your dogs down and out of the way. I don't know many a sheep that won't come for some grain shaking unless they've never had any grain. I was feeding the cat the other day in the barn, the sheep heard me from out in the pasture, they made a b-line to see if that was grain!

Love the names!
I'm not creative, I have, Big black headed Momma, Crazy sheep, & Jersery girl (cause shes marked like a cow) and the rest are just momma! ;)

Kristen
 

The world is a magical place...
Full of people waiting to be offended by something!

 

 

 

 


#12 ejano

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:01 PM

Oh, yes they love their grain...even more so now that we're cutting them back now that the weather is warmer. I could set up a tub about 10-15 feet inside the gate and pour some grain into it to get their attention..

Loved your swimming sheep story. How boring life would be without these experiences...

No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
---Louis Sabin - All about Dogs as Pets.

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Ladybug, Brodie, Robin


#13 Sue R

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 07:12 PM

Yes, you need more sheep in the mix!

Happy Easter back at you!
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#14 juliepoudrier

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:04 AM

Take more sheep out. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how much better they behave in a bigger group. And trust yourself, and especially trust your dogs.

J.

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

~Vincent van Gogh



mydogs_small2.jpg

Julie Poudrier
Oxford, NC
Willow, Farleigh, Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Twist (the troll), Katty Rat, Little Miss Larky Malarky, Phoebe (the rabid possum), Pipit (aka Goober), Kestrel (aka Messy Kessie), and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis sheep and mule sheep



Visit me on Facebook at Poudrier and Crowder, Set Out Specialists (P&C, SOS)


#15 ejano

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:55 AM

Take more sheep out. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how much better they behave in a bigger group. And trust yourself, and especially trust your dogs.

J.


Thanks, Julie...I'll give it another try very soon.

No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
---Louis Sabin - All about Dogs as Pets.

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Ladybug, Brodie, Robin


#16 NorthfieldNick

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    That's so cake!

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:26 AM

Yes, more sheep. Two sheep behave like two sheep, seven sheep behave (mostly) like one big sheep. The draw to the others left behind isn't helping the racing back home. I move anywhere from 12 to 80-100 sheep down the road all the time. Sheep are way less likely to leave in big groups. It's still nerve-wracking sometimes, especially with looney market lambs, but as Sue (I think) said, if no one died, get over it :) In the end, minor "disasters" are good learning experiences. Staying calm is the hardest thing to remember and do! If your sheep are bucket-trained, take some grain with you. If it comes to it, put the dog up, go to the barn, and rattle the bucket.

I had one nut ball ewe (she's long been turned into sausage) who would duck down driveways, etc. She took off once and hid from the dog. I left my dog to take 80-odd sheep the rest of the way home- luckily only a few hundred yards, but on a county road- while I hunted down the rogue ewe. Talk about nerve-wracking!
Northfield Farm:
-Ben: the shepherd-
-Nick: the mud-brown collie-
-Hoot: the up-and-coming-
-Scott: the better half-

-Lu: the mutt-dog who was-


barn's burnt down... now i can see the moon
-masahide

#17 ejano

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:47 PM

Yes, more sheep. Two sheep behave like two sheep, seven sheep behave (mostly) like one big sheep. The draw to the others left behind isn't helping the racing back home. I move anywhere from 12 to 80-100 sheep down the road all the time. Sheep are way less likely to leave in big groups. It's still nerve-wracking sometimes, especially with looney market lambs, but as Sue (I think) said, if no one died, get over it :) In the end, minor "disasters" are good learning experiences. Staying calm is the hardest thing to remember and do! If your sheep are bucket-trained, take some grain with you. If it comes to it, put the dog up, go to the barn, and rattle the bucket.

I had one nut ball ewe (she's long been turned into sausage) who would duck down driveways, etc. She took off once and hid from the dog. I left my dog to take 80-odd sheep the rest of the way home- luckily only a few hundred yards, but on a county road- while I hunted down the rogue ewe. Talk about nerve-wracking!



I suggested to DH tonight that we should let them all out. I would take them down to the slope and he could wait by the barn near the grain barrel in the event they cut back on us. He said he'd get back to me on that plan :).

As I write this, I am reminded of an experience told to me by a member of a spinning group I've recently joined. She'd been working the dog and the sheep got away from her, roaring off to the barn. She called off the dog and went on to other things, as unlike me, there was no way for them to escape out of the field. About a half hour later, she went back to the barn to find her husband barely conscious, flat out on the stone walkway outside the door. He could only murmur one soft word "Sheep..." They'd appeared unexpectedly still going full tilt and knocked him down hard so hard on the stones that he'd lost consciousness.

Hmmn...maybe it's not such a good idea for DH to wait by the barn...

BTW, I've been in contact with Hope Spinnery and just sent wool samples off to them today. The operator is going to think about how best to process the wool, then I'll send the fleeces off. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to enjoy working with them.


Liz

No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
---Louis Sabin - All about Dogs as Pets.

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Ladybug, Brodie, Robin


#18 Sue R

Sue R

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:41 AM

There is nothing that scares me any more than one or more sheep in full flight, when I am between their point A and point B. That is certainly a valid concern!
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown


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