Friday, March 28, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Formerly a a chicken dog....

Just kidding....Maid is still my main Open dog. She loves to help me put away the chickens at night. That used to be Tess's job but Maid took over that duty. I let the chickens out to free range and then Maid puts them away at night. She has learned not to rush the chickens as they will scatter. She is quite an excellent chicken dog. Additionally, she works the geese, ducks, turkeys and guineas.

Maid checking out my new chickens, They are Gold Spangled Spitzhaubens, a rare breed of chickens. These are two show hens, Thelma and Louise.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bye Bye Baby

Maid was a super foster mom for the lamb. She took care of the lamb for a week. She cleaned the lamb and snuggled with it. The lamb was happy  to have a mom who doted on him.
Lamb taking a nap after his bottle. See how Maid is smiling!!
Maid would stand guard or would snuggle with the lamb. She would not let any of the other dogs near the lamb. rain ignored her warning growl and went to see the lamb. For her efforts, she got a huge tumble by Maid, then shrieked and went running to her bed. Nikki went to the barn as she was not going to give up to checking out the lamb.  Nan hid in  the bedroom. I stayed on the couch until the lamb needed to be fed.
But all good thing must come to an end. A pet home was found for the lamb and he went home tonight. She was a lady who moved from the UK and had sheep. She wanted a pet lamb and knows all about raising an orphan. She took him and I think named him, "Hope"
Maid followed the lamb out to the car and looked perplexed as her baby was being loaded. I told her that he got a new mama and as she drove off, Maid stood in the driveway, staring down the road for a few minutes. It was sad but she did a tremendous job is raising the lamb.
Good dog, are one of a kind!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Maid and her new baby...lamb, that is...

If you raise sheep, you are going to have the bottle lamb now and then. This lamb's mom had one bad side and hardly any milk on the other so we pulled her lamb for a while. During the day the lamb will go back to mom and at night, in the house. He is being bottle fed and is a large lamb.  He was cold when we brought him in  and we put him in front of the fireplace to warm up. He is in Maid's dog bed and she loves her dog bed. She was surprised to see something in her bed so she dashed up to chase off the intruder and put on the brakes when she realized it was not another dog. She carefully approached the lamb and sniffed it. She licked his bottom and then his face. For some reason, she has taken to heart that she must be the guardian of the lamb. If any other dog goes near her lamb, she runs and put herself between the lamb and the other dog. If the other dog doesn't move fast enough, she give a low growl.  Then after the other dog has left, she goes over and gives the lamb a little lick on the head. Then she gives the lamb a good sniff and settles down about five feet away. When I go up to the lamb, she fawns all over me, like a new mom with pups. I pet the lamb and she wags her tail.
I've been bottle feeding the lamb. Maid is right next to me and when I am down, she cleans him from top to bottom and licks the milk off his body. The she cleans his head really well and he nuzzles her and she wags her tail When she is satisfied that he is clean, she lays in the rug in front of him being a guard lamb dog! How neat is that.  She even does diaper duty.

Now, who would have thought that Maid would be a lamb's mom?

Certainly, not me!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Winter Work

It's winter here which means rain and more rain followed by flooding. About half of my field is under water so that cuts down on the training space. Plus it rained so hard that the grass is super soggy. Thank goodness I brought in lots of hog fuel so the critter pad is not muddy. The dogs don't mind and so we work sheep. The young pups don't get much time as their are still young and need to grow up. Then I tune up the seasoned Open dogs with lambing work and make sure the flanks are square. Nikki, my PN dog is starting to learn to work with me and I am taking my time with her. It's a slow progress and hampered by my inability to get her whistles down pat. So it is voice commands for the time being. She has a lot more eye than I am used to so I have to keep her free and on her feet. She is a nice dog and tries hard to please.
Lambing has started and we have about 12 lambs on the ground so far. I had reduced my flock way down from last year due to high hay prices and will keep the number below 40 or so. I used to keep 65-75 and now that hay has doubles, it is not feasible.
The newest member of the farm, Hebert (A-Bear) is learning the ropes. He is our Anatolian pup that rounds out the LGD team. Now the coyotes will think twice about having fresh lamb or chicken. The coyotes walk around the farm than through it which is a great relief.
Soon the weather will turn warmer and we can do more training. I look forward to it and with the recent time change, it has been much nicer to come home in daylight than darkness. Pretty quick the cold finger of winter will be gone and replaced by the warm rays of spring. I can't wait.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hebert update

It's been a few weeks since Hebert (A-Bear) arrived on the farm. He is the newest LGD and compliments Stella and Heidi. He is Anatolian and his sire came from Turkey. We got him from Josh Farmer and he picked out the perfect pup for us. He is mellow, loves to be handle and very social.
This is the night he arrived. He had no idea what as going on. He spent the nights in a kennel and was loose with us during the day. Now he is in the lambing corral with the ewes, lambs, Heidi and Stella. He has fit in well.
He is practicing the fine art of lounging.
Every dog must be used to the Vet handling them. Here Vet Audrey is snuggling with him. He is licking her face.

Hebert is also sleeping on Audrey's lap. You know, for the dog exam. Aren't all dog exams upside down and asleep in the Vet's lap?

And to end the day in my lap. He loves to snuggle and sleep in your lap. We let him do it now but soon he will be too big. He loves it and is easy to handle. A super good natured pup. We are so happy to have him as a member of the team.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lamb Watch and Stella

We are starting to lamb. First set then a month break and then the rest. The first set won't be very many ewes but we decided to split up lambing due to space limitation.  One of the ewes, a first time mom, had a tiny ram lamb. He is feisty and has no idea he is tiny. He is quite friendly and follows you around. I am calling him Squirt.
Stella, the Anatolian loves her charges. She dug her way into the stall to be with the new lambs. Prior to that she was in the lambing corral with the week old lambs. She helps the new moms dry the lambs. I watch her and the ewes will lick one end and Stella will clean the other end. In no time, the newborn lamb is dry. The ewes are fine with her and some of them will lay next to her. This first time mom was a lamb last year and grew up with Stella.
So Stella decided her other lambs that were a week old would be fine without her and the lambs born today needed her undivided attention. So she tunneled her way into the stall and I let her stay.

After dinner, the lamb decided Stella was a good warm blanket to snuggle with.  So he did and she nuzzled him, In fact, most of the lambs go to her and sleep next to her and she licks them. After every big meal, Squirt  goes to Stella for a nap.

Well, mom decided she had to do this as well. She used to snuggle next to Stella last year so why not do that this year? Look, a real snuggle fest. Soon all were fast asleep and no doubt dreaming of sun and perhaps weather above 55 degrees?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Sheep Shearing

Today was shearing day. We did all the sheep and the one goat. Nan, Maid and Rainey stayed in the house as we had enough dogs to help. They weren't happy about that either but too bad. Eifion came over from Wales and sheared the sheep. He has been doing my flock for years and we do the shearing in the first Sunday in March. The ewes are due in late March and early April so this works out perfectly.  The weather was cold, sometimes sunny but overall nice. We used the tilt table in the barn so we all stayed dry. Janet and Jude did the loading and then later, the sorting of the sheared sheep back to the respective pastures.
Eifion and his setup. He had a holding pen and then we loaded from the stall.

The tilt table team. Amber was tilt master, Vets Audrey and Diane did shots/worming and hooves. Morgane did trimming and Phil was the muscleman. I did hooves and go-fer gal. The sheep loaders were Wayne and Scott. Wool baggers were Karol and Mitzi. The note taker was Ellen and Janet did sheep sorting/holding/backup. The sheep looked fat and healthy and some did the wild sheep bouncing after being relieved of their wool!

Daisy the goat got sheared also. She wasn't happy! Even with a full team doing the hoof trimming, shots we still got behind Eifion as he sheared. But all in all, we got all the sheep down in about two hours. Then we had spaghetti for lunch and hung out. After lunch, we all worked the freshly shorn sheep that were light and had a blast. Thanks to all the folks who came out and did a piece of the work and made this shearing go seamless! As the saying goes (with a slight modification) ..."it take a village to shear a flock!"