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Pam Wolf

What stock?

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Got to thinking, what types of stock do most who work their dogs own/work on a regular basis. Hair sheep? woolies? Light or heavy? Large group (50 +) or 3-5? Cattle? dairy or beef, again heavy or light? Poultry? Other livestock-what types?

 

 

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Currently, I don't work any as I only have two BC mixes that don't work. However, when I did and when I will again, it was/will be big, heavy, beef cattle. We only have about ten head so that is the most they do.

 

Most of the herding dogs in this valley are BCs and 90% of those are cattle dogs. They regularly work 100-1000 head of beef cattle.

We got Riika from one of these big cattle guys, and she only worked cattle. She was a very, very strong dog. I never tried sheep but I think she would have been much too strong for them. Poultry? Eh...she ate them.

 

As a matter of fact, the only person I know who does sheep, is our neighbor from South America. Can't remember which country right now. He has around five thousand sheep and several BCs.

 

Goats, maybe goats. We've got 13 goats. Never thought if herding them before! Sure would be easier getting them to pasture and back.

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Icelanders, though not by choice, no other breed here.

I find them both light and flighty and at the same time very willing to stand up to an insecure dog. They have low flocking instinct.

 

I use mostly yearlings in training, in groups from about five to ten and find they do not get overdogged very quickly ( never got them to the knee knocking stage). But they are not worked that frequently.

 

"Real" work here is the autumn hill work, seasonal, gathering ewes with lamb from the heights. Unfenced open terrain, long distances, and bigger numbers, un(anti)dogged sheep from the neighboring farms.

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At the mobile unit. we worked everything. All mostly undogged, in close quarters and in small 10 acre pastures.

 

Here, at home, range sheep, range cattle, dairy cattle.....Everything with or without calves and lambs, bulls and rams. The crossbred brush island flock.

flocks/herds vary in size from 40 to a couple hundred. I sold 150 Spanish goats so no longer working them.

 

At the trials kahtadins, Scotties, range sheep.

 

This is mostly unfenced open mountainous country, with some deep forest, lots-o- predators. I work on horseback and on foot.

 

I have some land, maybe 1/4 section fenced with netting.

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Forgive the blank picture. For the life of me I can't get it to change.

 

Right now I have runners ducks and go elsewhere to herd white faced sheep. I woud like to find some dogged sheep to purchase and work my Border Collies on. One of my collies is young so would like to have him on dogged sheep more often.

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I'm about to get my first sheep (as soon as we have a night pen built, the barn repaired, its electrical brought up to code, and some perimeter fence upgraded around at least one pasture). I'm planning on getting them from my sheepdog training mentor, because I like her sheep. They're wool sheep - a Cheviot/Perendale cross. The Perendale part calms them down a bit from your typical Cheviot, while still allowing them to stand up to training dogs without souring too quickly. I'm hoping to get 10 yearling ewes from her, along with 10 or so newly weaned ram lambs (most of which will go to market when I run out of pasture in the fall). One of these ram lambs is a purebred Perendale (not related to the ewes) which I'll keep for breeding, along with a backup Cheviot/Perendale ram lamb (who will also keep the Perendale company). She is checking to see if she has some cull ewes that I could buy that are healthy enough to hold back from breeding so as to use for training when the other ewes are late in pregnancy or are lambing.

 

I typically work small groups of 3-4 ewes at a time. Sometimes I'll work only two yearling ewes if I think it will be better for training the dog.

 

How many will I work up to eventually? I'm going to play this one by ear. I'm hoping for that sweet spot where they graze enough of my pastures so that I do minimal mowing, while not overgrazing, recognizing that this balance changes from year to year. In our area they say 3-5 ewes with lambs per acre, so once I get all 12 acres fenced, I'm thinking maybe 30-40 ewes?

 

By far the most common sheep I run into at trials are Katahdins. But I like to knit, and figure eventually I'll learn to spin as well. So it's woolies for me. The Perendale fleeces are of a quality that sometimes appeal to handspinners - I'll be thrilled if I manage to sell one or two fleeces per year to them, though I know I can't count on even recouping the cost of shearing wool sheep.

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Cattle only, calve out about 30 each year, Angus commercial cows and first-class heifers. Not heavy, fairly docile, some can be intolerant of poor dog work - and some have been getting quite a bit more aggressive in recent years, and there could be a few contributory factors for that.

 

We calve in spring and wean in late August, and then have the group of weaned calves that are worked a bit (bringing up to preconditioning feeding, for instance) for about six or seven weeks prior to them leaving. Not much work at all in the winter other than holding cattle off the line when we move the temporary winter fencing around the haybales as we feed throughout the winter. Not much work in the summer other than moving between pastures and across the road, and into the working pens for the few works of the season.

 

During spring/summer, we occasionally have calves get out and Dan is the specialist at putting them back in through the fence.

 

Not much work at any season, really, but a genuine need for a useful dog when we have to move cattle or particularly when we have to pen them up to vaccinate, etc., or if any of them get where they shouldn't be.

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This is mostly unfenced open mountainous country, with some deep forest, lots-o- predators. I work on horseback and on foot.

 

I have some land, maybe 1/4 section fenced with netting.

Ah, yeah, forgot to mention, the roundup work is mostly done on horseback here too, on the longer ones (more than one day) we take two horses per rider. Being able to be led well is an important skill for a riding horse here.

 

Btw what does 1/4 section mean?

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A section is a square mile so a quarter section is 1/4 of a square mile or 160 acres (0.65 square kilometers).

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Thanks Sue. We use the metric system, and though I am familiar with the imperial, american, british etc systems this "section" was new for me.

We are also since new year the proud owners of a sizable chunk of land. Exciting possibilities.

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Mine gather in the chickens, work sheep and goats, and when I had a steer they worked him too. The goats are Nigerian Dwarves. The sheep are mixes. Mine are Katahdin/St Croix/Barbados/something else, a mix of ages, 10 of them so far. The lesson sheep are Katahdin/St Croix. I usually get around 6, but as my dog and I learn what we are doing, we can work more. Last week, we used 6 really flighty sheep and then switched out for eight different ones. My steer was a Brangus, heavy and lots of attitude.

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Dear Stockdoggers,

 

We pasture 200-250 wool sheep from May to December and a dozen aged ewes year round on 100 acres of hay/pasture land.

 

Donald McCaig

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Katahdins (waste of money having woollies here with all the cockle burs on our farm).

 

Training is typically done on 3-10 sheep; we make sure to include training on the entire flock and a group of weaned lambs as the dogs progress. Chores are done on the entire flock of ca. 80 breeding ewes plus their lambs or on the ram group. The groups range from heavy to light depending upon time of day, presence of lambs, size of the group, new grass, etc. We have a few dogs that will work our chickens and we may use them to put them up at night.

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Thanks for explaining Sue!

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What do you work, Pam?

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Because I tend to help out some others, my dogs get the opportunity to work a range of different sheep from Shetland and Soay (both light who tend to scatter rather than flock) to stroppy Jacobs and more commercial Mules and Suffolk Crosses and the numbers vary from a handful to over 200,

 

My own flock is 50 Hebrideans. These are very hardy sheep, good mothers, relatively light but flock together, tend not to sour when worked with a dog and in the UK, they are increasingly used for conservation grazing.. I start training my youngsters on 4 - 8 hoggs. Rather than keeping these separate, I let them run with the rest and then shed them off as needed (additional practice for my 2 year old 'apprentice dog).

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Tea, I have a small flock of about 65 commercial ewes, about 15 crossbred meat goats (really need more of them). I also have a few cows, 4 crossbred and 4 lowline angus. and right now 4 pigs, numerous ducks. I expect the dogs to help on all if needed.

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That is a nice mix, Pam.

 

Interesting to here from everyone what they do! :rolleyes:

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Got to thinking, what types of stock do most who work their dogs own/work on a regular basis. Hair sheep? woolies? Light or heavy? Large group (50 +) or 3-5? Cattle? dairy or beef, again heavy or light? Poultry? Other livestock-what types?

 

 

Regularly, my dogs work a friend's Scottish Blackface and Scotty-cross ewes and wethers. Groups of 4 to 25 or so. We also work another friend's hair sheep (Barbados-X) at times, and we do lessons on range ewes or dorper/whiteface crosses, depending who we go to. We don't often get to work big bunches, but times when we do setout for trials, we're moving flocks of 150-200. That's not "regular," though. Just wish it was! All these sheep are fairly light, though when the Scotty lambs are weaned, they are pretty heavy and befuddled, which gives my dogs good learning opportunities.

 

We have and can worked ducks and geese, but don't have much opportunity or need for it. Ditto for goats, but my dogs mainly think goats are just WRONG. :D

 

I used to work dogs on cows, both beef and dairy, but now that we don't have a *need* for cattle work and I'm trialing on sheep, I don't let my my current dogs near those scary things. :P

 

~ Gloria

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Just noticed this thread...enjoying the input.

Exclusively cattle working dogs here since 1972. Predominantly used Kelpies and more recently, a few Border Collies. Have had approximately 100 cows since the inception of the herd. Half are registered Red Angus and the rest comprised of high percentage RA (99% +/-) commercials. Have leased the current ranch since 1988 which is comprised of 1,700 hundred acres which by local standards is considered small. Cross fenced into mainly 4 pastures. Extremely unstable/broken ground, steep (majority 35-45 percent slope) with intermittent prairies interspersed with heavily timbered areas and or impenetrable brush. Access essentially limited to horse back or on foot. Very small portion navigable via ATV providing you're skilled & cautious. Talented & savvy gathering dogs are integral in my locale. The vast majority stem from the old foundation McNab's which have subsequently been crossed on Kelpies and to a lesser extent, Border Collies

Have never trialed for a variety of reasons not the least of which is living in a decidedly remote location.

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My flock is a mixed wool flock, soon the be even more diverse (clun mules, scotch mules, purebred tunis, suffolk cross lambs from those ewes, as well as some corriedale lambs, soon to add a few cheviots and some Gulf Coast natives). The nice thing about the mix is that the individual sheep range from light to medium (none terribly heavy) and I can mix things around as needed. I prefer working a larger group, especially for the youngsters because I think they can learn a lot by working bigger groups. Recently we have been working young dogs on the ewes and lambs. It's an easy way to dog break the lambs and it is good thought-provoking work for the youngsters. This is a group of about 30, give or take.

 

There is also a 50-head flock of dorpers on this farm. They are worked less often because they are really only suitable for trained dogs. If I had time, I would work them more to make them more suitable for the youngsters as well. They're lambing now though, so any of that will have to come later.

 

There is also a small flock of Boer goats on the farm, as well as a small flock of geese and a large flock of chickens (as well as guineas and peafowl). The dogs who will work poultry are allowed to work them. I will use a well started, sensible youngster on them, but don't routinely train on them--mainly just work them when they need to be moved for some reason. The chickens are put up at night, so sometimes need rounding up to be put to bed. I use the trained dogs for that. One subset of the goats is used for trying out puppies and starting youngsters. They have their advantages (won't run over a person) and disadvantages (don't flock as well, too smart for their own good). I generally move youngsters off the goats and onto sheep fairly quickly (or start with sheep if the youngster clearly doesn't like working the goats).

 

Re: the sheep. I prefer wool sheep and that's mainly what I work with. Now that we have a shearer nearby it's not so much trouble keeping them. The hair sheep belong to the farm owner. The nice thing about hair sheep is they are much more heat tolerant, which is important here in the south. But I don't think I'd ever personally go over to just hair sheep, unless I absolutely can't help it (like Mark's situation).

 

J.

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