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TAC2

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Everything posted by TAC2

  1. We have a buff orp hen who was very broody, though she had never laid an egg that I saw. This went on sporadically for the first two years, then a few months ago, she started getting bigger and developing rooster type feathering (a cape and long tail feathers.) Beautiful bird, but neither hen nor roo. I think it may be some type of androgeny. This hen looks like a rooster but doesn't crow, doesn't have spurs and doesn't go after the other hens. Very odd, but not unheard of.
  2. TAC2

    Shearers?

    Several folks have recommended him. Now I have to find others in my area to book with to make the mileage workable.
  3. I'm a shepherd first and dog handler second - not a competitor or trainer either - so please take this in context. Our dog Lena had been worked and competed with dog broke Cheviots or trial Katahdin sheep. I needed a dog that could "work" our sheep and teach me a thing or two about shepherding. What I learned is that a shepherd has to work with what he's given. We can't just trade in our sheep or get a new dog; we HAVE to make it work. Our sheep (Corriedale, BFL and Coopworth) live with LGD who are submissive to the flock. That's they way we want them, but the sheep "walk all over" dogs because of it. When we first brought Lena out into the field, the sheep stood their ground and ignored her. I rec'd lots of good advice, give her a chance to acclimate, take your time, etc. etc. but what I learned to do is adapt. With plenty of trial and error, we found what works for us. The troublesome ringleader had to go - she was trouble in more ways than one. Now the flock pretty much goes where we want them and our pastures are set up to help facilitate this. Lena's job is to follow the flock and keep the strays in line; preventing them from searching for greener pastures, or heading into the trees. Gathering isn't necessary as shepherd = food in this flock's collective brain No, I haven't learned as much as I'd hoped about herding, but I have learned a lot about shepherding with Lena's help. So I guess what I'm saying is if you can stick it out and make it work, you and the dog might be better for it in the end. As a post script, we're only purchasing dog broke BFL the future and when Lena crosses that rainbow bridge (many, many days in the future) ...lookout herding world, here I come
  4. I know if anyone can help, it will be one of the folks in this group! Does anyone have a shearer they could recommend who works in central Virginia near Charlottesville or Richmond? The person I thought would be able to do our sheep just responded to my follow-up email to tell me she did not get my confirmation and has now filled her book. We have a flock of six sheep and one angora goat. I've already wasted too many fleeces shearing on my own. Really need to take classes...if I can ever find the time. In the meantime, I'm in a pickle for spring shearing with reservations for two fleeces. Thanks! Tru Laingcroft www.freewebs.com/laingcroft www.laingcroftfarm.blogspot.com
  5. This video was on our sheep list - had to share! ~ Tru
  6. I've been looking for a 2009 Border Collie Calendar, but I can't seem to locate any with sheep! Puppies, Agilty, Rescue, Goofy up close head shots...all available; but where are the calendars showing the BC herding? Please tell me if there are any regional clubs with HERDING calendars. Thanks!
  7. Sounds like a fine adventure to follow. BTW, love the second picture!
  8. A couple of things to add to what has already been said: Will the sheep be at your place or a rented field without supervision? If you predator load is pretty low and they will be kept in the same pasture as horses, then the horses should help keep them safe. Ditto if someone is around during the hours of dawn and dusk when most predators are active. Depending on where you live, that could be between 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Also, make sure the horses and sheep will tolerate each other. We had a problem goat (with horns) that we had to worry about either the horses getting a let stuck between horns when bucking or goat rearing up to butt the horses. Sheep on the other hand get a running start to ram, but it might still cause problems. If you have horses, you know they are injuries waiting to happen. My personal preference is for polled animals --- I've already had enough with horn related bruises from the goats. We only get health certificates when our animals will be shipped inter-state. The person selling the sheep down the road may not have them or any that are current. You can ask if you can have a vet inspection before purchase. We allow this for any stock we sell, but it is at purchaser's expense - usually farm call fee and $35 for the certificate. Electric tape or rope is a pretty good option for horses with other critters. It even kept our goats in; however, we have recently discovered that woolie sheep have ways of getting past/through electric. This might not be an issue for hair sheep, something to consider. I have also recently learned that sheep already "dog-broke" are a definite advantage, unless your dog is already well trained, tough enough for stubborn sheep and/or ready for more advanced herding on such sheep. Hoping to save you some aggravation here. Good luck!
  9. Chose the new Scrimgeour DVD. Thanks to everyone for all of the advice and recommendations! Perhaps I'll catch up with some of you at a clinic, then you can meet Lena.
  10. I feel your pain Our location is tough in the winter. Winters here range from freak 70 degree days in December or February, to an ice coated world (picture #1, Valentine's Day 2007 everything coated in 1/4" of ice; 2nd picture snow on Easter in April...really uncommon here!) and everything in between. What we don't get is consistency. In our particular location the southeast pasture gets Venturi affect wind gusts that can make it feel like North Dakota. I'm not a jeans kinda gal so I most often wear sweats or old riding breeches. For boots it is muck boots or my Ariats with or without half chaps. If it's really cold, my failed felting projects wrap around my legs under the half chaps. Tops range from T-shirt topped by flannel, quilted flannel shirt jackets, an old army jacket (the heavy kind) or rarely, a down parka. Of course when breaking ice out of stock tanks or sloshing buckets of water around in the darkness, I usually end up needing to change at some point during chores.
  11. I don't think it matters and I too like a black faced dog. We had the same issue with our black GSD. Most people associate GSDs with the tan/black or red/black with saddle, but they also come in solid black, sable (agouti) and bicolor as well as various recessive dilutions (white). I do have a preference for B/W BCs (over reds and merles) but then again, I must have a b/w hang up because all my recent dogs (14 years) have been black (GSD and Portie), white (Westie) or b/w (BC)
  12. Evening all. Point taken about others learning from information posted. I certainly don't mind constructive criticism, but everyone will eventually reach a point where enough is enough (and I mean in anything, not this thread specifically.) I also don't believe that anyone reading through all the messages in this thread will fail to understand the issues raised and addressed unless they are cheating and skipping most of it. I'm really surprised that my comments even generated a response...I'm long over it and it really wasn't a big deal, but I am sorry if anyone took my "annoyance" as a personal criticism. We all read internet information through the filter of our own "bias" or subjective opinions/experiences so it does happen that written words can mis-communicate a thought. I am really sorry Bill if my irritation seemed directed at you personally (as indicated by the phrase "in my own defense") when in fact, I was not directing the comment to anyone in particular, but trying to convey the information that I get it already, so if the next person to post is intending to add more of the same, as in "I agree, you shouldn't work the dog" then please don't. I certainly did not intend to insult anyone or disparage the advice already given --- which advice IS appreciated as I've also mentioned previously To 'pick on' Bill again you (personally) have given honest and sound advice on this and other topics and others have been as forthright and helpful here and elsewhere - thank you. And just for general input, for those that missed it earlier, I indicated I won't be working the dog near the end of message #10 and again at the beginning of the second paragraph in message #15 Julie: I will contact the trainers you recommended this week. I will also cc: you on my emails unless you would prefer I do not. And now one last little bit with respect to training. I am almost done with Mr. Holland's Progressive Training book, have ordered Bruce Fogt's book and will add a training DVD to my Xmas Wishlist. Based on reviews I have read, I am leaning toward the Scrimgeour (sp?) DVD set, but which one - old or new; OR is there something better for novices? Once again - Thank you to everyone for their comments and assistance.
  13. Lightning: "AAAAAeeeeeiiiiii..." Thunder: "Gotcha!, ha, ha, ha, ha" Lighting walks into the room to be frightened by these ghost spheres, result of Thunder's practical joke OR Lightning catches a "ball" only to have it explode into a million dust motes (like snowballs) while Thunder looks on and laughs.
  14. OMG, Dulce and Lena had a stick like this today. I was wishing at the time we had digital video, but we don't and it was over before I could get a camera. Each dog had an end but was facing opposite directions so they were running with the stick together, but in circles. They looked like a hurricane moving erratically across the yard. What really had me laughing so hard was the Westie in the middle trying to grab at the spinning stick, but unable to get a grip. So he would rush toward one dog or the other on the ends to try and grab with them. They weren't having any of it though, so which ever one he ran toward, sped up to keep out of reach, which sent them spinning faster and faster. It was so funny! Beautiful pictures!
  15. Okay, I'm starting to feel like I'm in the twilight zone. I've read each bit of advice given. As a result, I've stated each of the following, sometimes more than once, already: 1. I bow to greater experience and won't be working this dog with these sheep any further 2. The stubborn ewe and the escape artist will be culled following weaning, so by June 2009 they will be a non-issue 3. I'm working on finding some dog broke sheep to work with her and will have a larger flock of young sheep (who presumably will follow the more mature dog-broke sheep) in the spring. It will take time to find the right sheep for our farm situation. 4. I have been provided with some recommendations and will contact a trainer to work on my partnership with Lena and my own lack of herding experience in the meantime. While I appreciate everyone's thoughts and the time taken to respond, if there is nothing NEW to add, additional comments with the same refrain are unnecessary, and frankly annoying. A - since you do have a bit that's new, I'll respond. Yes, she has worked with dog broke sheep in the past. Those are the sheep we, she and I, worked when I met with her owner. She has also worked cattle and other large sheep that were not dog broke, but that was with her experienced and familiar owner, not me. SHE does have what it takes, but I do understand that we need more time for her to adjust to a new home, a different group of sheep and assistance from a trainer (more so for me) so we can build a working partnership together.
  16. Virginia, 1 hour west of Richmond. Julie: Yes, thank you. I think we're all beating a dead horse at this point. I got the part about dog broke sheep...that's why I'm going to try and find some. Now I just need someone to work with for my confidence.
  17. Hi Amelia: No, you are not being harsh, and I know it is something I'm not doing right - hence my request for information on a trainer. I don't feel that I abandon her and have been within 15-20 feet of both Lena and the sheep with any work I ask. However, I really don't have anyone here to observe and tell me what I'm doing wrong. I don't believe I've stated anywhere here that I'm absolutely determined to work this dog, it's just that she shows such desire to work. If holding off is the recommended thing to do, then that's what I'll do. I am, however, determined to find some dog broke sheep for both of us to work with, that way at least two of the three participants will know what they are supposed to do. And yes, I'll need some training too. Hopefully this will have both of us ready for down the road when I have more sheep and will really need her help. I also seem to have done her a discredit, or it's just the words misunderstood, which isn't fair. This dog is absolutely wonderful. She is almost too perfect sometimes and I love when she gets silly with the others. She is housebroken, crate trained and has a solid "off" switch. She follows me to the gate and looks soulful when I say "no" but she isn't running fence lines and moves away when asked. Her basic obedience is good too (down, stay, sit, leave it, etc.), takes cookies like a lady, will shake hands and recall is sound. She is developing a good relationship with our other two house dogs and two of the three LGD have pretty much accepted she is here to stay (the third is the oldest, a male that is going to take a bit longer to adjust.) We do have some kitty issues, but we're working on it. In the past week since she arrived, she has also learned to retrieve, "go inside" which means go to the yard gate and wait for me to open and go into crate to wait for dinner - all on verbal command. I'm planning to teach her a couple of silly tricks as soon as I figure out what would be fun. ~ Tru
  18. Thanks Julie, I would appreciate that. I seem to have been posting at the same time as you. Is it discouraging to the dog to be told "no" with the sheep here at hand? She always comes with me to the gate, even with the LGDs barking at her. She really WANTS to work the sheep, and I know its somehow my fault that we're having problems. If you all don't think not working the sheep will be a problem for her frustration wise, I can handle that, but she looks so disappointed when I tell her "no" not now.
  19. I'll keep that in mind. She is so keen to work the sheep and they are right here with us it's difficult to not work them. I'm going to look for a couple of dog broke sheep to both increase numbers and give our sheep some "direction." I'd like to outline what we did yesterday and perhaps someone can tell me where I went wrong and give some suggestions --- difficult as that is from just words on the internet. We started off with a nice gather and wear. The sheep thought I had feed, so they came running and Lena was straight and steady behind them. We worked a sort of circle with wearing and I could tell the ram was paying attention to the dog. On the other hand, when the ewe figured I didn't have any food, she decided she had enough and turned to go to stall while the ram stayed with me. She wasn't aggressive about it and didn't "stomp" the dog, but it was like a dog wasn't there. Lena focused on me and the ram so we worked a bit more; then I sent her to "look back," which she did really nicely. Unfortunately, this is where we ran into problems. The ewe didn't want to leave the corner by the stall and Lena held her there instead of bringing her to me. At this point I lost the ram because he wanted to be with the ewe and the dog was gone. I walked over, tried to get Lena to push them off the fence, but she seemed worried about it. Using the clock analogy, sheep with fence behind were at 12, Lena at 10 and me at 2 moving slightly away from the sheep, roughly at a 45 degree angle. I used 'come by' as the direction, but she just swung side to side at 10, unsure of what to do with the sheep that wouldn't budge. Perhaps I'm just not putting the directions together in way that makes sense to her or I'm in the wrong place. In the end, I shooed the sheep off the fence, had Lena hold them to the other side of the run-in, walked toward the gate, "lie down" she continued to hold them, then "that'll do, well done" and out we go (always ending on a positive note.) Lena seemed happy with her work as we finished - tail wagging. I did a lot of thinking last night about this, trying to get inside the sheep and dog's heads. The only thing I could come up with is that Lena, being new here, is unsure of me, unsure of the sheep and trying her best. The sheep are also fed in the stalls (that's where I've usually bribed and caught) so they head there when they see hubby or me. The corner the ewe kept heading to is the corner formed by the stall where we feed and the fence for the other ewe (who was out of sight) When they were in that spot, they were completely motionless unless I tried to shoo or catch them. Perhaps this may have been what Lena thought I wanted, bring those sheep to the "pen" and hold them there. I do have a round pen set up for bucks/rams that I could try working in to get them out of familiar turf, but it isn't an easy area to work in due to trees and stumps. We are preparing an arena area, but it won't be finished for awhile yet. Maybe I'll just continue to have her hold them at feeding time - which is what everyone seems to want to do anyway - until I have more cooperative sheep at hand and/or a trainer to work with.
  20. Hi Bill: 1 - got a dog to work the sheep. Herding has become addicting fun on the one hand and frustrating trying to get inside the sheep heads on the other 2 - flock will be growing; lambs expected in spring and 6 more reserved from breeders so we'll have new sheep to work with, just won't be for several months yet. Following weaning the two Corriedales will be culled from the flock 3 - definitely need to find a trainer! 4 - these sheep aren't pets 5 - ram is under a year old (9 months) and still very docile (though I NEVER let my guard down around an intact male) 6 - confined sheep is out of sight while working, so it's really just working the two 7 - I'm going to keep muddling through very slowly, keep sessions simple and positive, build my relationship with this dog and hopefully find a trainer soon. ~ Tru
  21. I've posted elsewhere that our sheep are "stupid" and hard for our newly adopted BC to work. Lena did well working with me on sheep she knew and was even able to grip as needed; however, our sheep are significantly bigger, heavy and one in particular, stubborn. Lena has 2+ years of training on her, is excited about sheep and I think, very capable of handling them, but I don't know how to bring out her confidence with my sheep - in fact, I'm afraid of compromising it. The young ram lamb is falling into line, but the big Corriedale ewe just ignores Lena, so that she starts to worry back and forth instead of walking up or gripping, forcing this ewe to move. I think she is intimidated by this ewe and I'm not sure how to help her. The ewe has never been worked by herding dogs before. Basically, I need to find someone nearby with really tough dogs to put this ewe in line (anyone here in near Richmond VA willing to practice on some stubborn sheep?), find a trio of dog broke sheep or advice on what I can do to build her confidence with this ewe. Right now I have to drive the ewe and keep her moving, which puts me between Lena and the sheep --- not good. Lena is good at heading the sheep if they try to break away or split - but today the ewe decided to barrel through and Lena let her. Tomorrow I'll put this one away and work with only the ram lamb to build her confidence up, but that isn't going to help over the long term. (Yes, this and the other ewe will either find new homes after lambing or be culled.) Thanks again! ~ Tru
  22. TAC2

    Dog Food

    Kibble (like baby formula) became popular because it was convenient and seen as "modern." Wish my folks were still alive! Up into the early 60s, most people prepared their own dog foods out of necessity. I do seem to recall that most of the food was cooked however, brown rice, meats including organ - liver, kidney, big bones (feeding poultry bones had always been a no-no, but I guess that is changed now.) Plus treats like carrot bits, sweet potato bits, cooked liver, curd cheeses, eggs, etc. I'm not so sure I would feed raw to our dogs, but then I wouldn't eat undercooked meat myself these days. It is just as true to say that human prepared meats aren't what they should be now either...otherwise there wouldn't be outbreaks of e.coli, salmonella, etc. Sad because I really do like a med-rare steak! Chicken in particular has too much sodium solution added, even when its supposed to be fresh. Custom slaughter might be the way to go, but unless you raise and slaughter your own anyway, that is really pricey.
  23. Here is Lena (BC) staring at the Westie chewing a toy - out of frame - while the Portie stares at me....but you can't tell, because her hair is in her eyes. ETA: Here is another picture of just Lena
  24. Tried this with all three house dogs: 1. mouth, mouth, mouth 2. left, right, right 3. mouth, right, mouth but rested bone on left leg 4. left, neither just looked at me and walked away, left 5. right, left, right
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