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appyridr

Working Lambs

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I would not consider 5 months too young. That is if you have a good fully trained dog.

Here in Iceland under the people with stockdogs it is considered exctly the right time to teach lambs respect for the dogs at this age.

Lambing is usually in may. They are free range with mummy over the summer. After the round up and the slaughter time there is a good window of time for dogtraining, and then those "líflömb" = lams selected to become producing ewes are about 5 months old.

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Because my sheep are moved every day--out to one of several pastures in the mornings, and into a night pen at night, the lambs, along with their mothers and the whole mob, pretty much get moved the day they're born. By the time they're maybe 2 weeks old, they can be silly, especially early morning (and not necessarily stay with momma all the time), and may be running with a "gang" of other lambies. Often they will not quite make it through the gate into the pasture in the morning, and will run along the outside of the fence. I can send a dog to bring the whole gang of lambies in, and they understand to move off the dog (pretty much), as they've done it every day of their lives.

 

As for "working" a group of lambs for dog training purposes, I'll sort off a group of 3-4 month old ram lambs to work; this is their "job" for a few weeks before going to market,

A

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^^I do the same as Anna. Lambs are pretty much worked from day one. At weaning I would start working them as a group.

 

J.

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Eve and I were working a pair of 1 month olds earlier this week because they got on the wrong side of a fence and couldn't figure out how to get with mom. I needed Eve to help corner them so I could grab them and drop them over the fence. I didn't set out for this to be Eve's training session, but she was there when I found the issue so her training session turned into dealing with the pair of lambs. Eve rose to the occasion, handling the skittish lambs nicely.

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I find (with calves, and when we were working with Anna's flock) that if you can work the mothers and babies from early on, with a dog that is either kind and reading the stock or under good control or that you stay on top of, you wind up with young animals that learn from the get-go to move off a dog.

 

Where we run into issues is when young stock are never worked when they are tiny and keeping to their mothers' sides, and then I try to work them with a dog and they are clueless - they don't know how to move off a dog's pressure, they worry and panic, and so forth.

 

The mothers will teach them if you and the dog give them half a chance.

 

PS - What they all said!

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We move the lambs in the paddocks fairly early. Then they go out to the fields with the flock between two weeks and a month depending on the weather.

 

 

The bottle calves we started at about a month but very gently and carefully.

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I have to laugh a bit, I bought these BFL from a friend who does not use dogs. But one of these ewes is pretty onery I guess she ran off his pet dog. He told me that she would stomp any sheep dog. I said you know you should go watch some of the trials where you live, you might want to get a dog! He lives in Colo. and has alot of sheep!

 

 

Needless to say the ewe does not stomp on dogs.

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