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Tuesday, September 13 2016

Tending sheep outside the confines of good fencing requires some basic tools. Because our property is more than a bit untamed, it really isn't set up for sheep and goats who could be picked off in broad daylight without the dogs. The barnyard pasture is more of a 'sacrifice' area where the small stock can graze and browse in relative safety, but there isn't a lot of nutrition there. They can graze in the large pasture below the house without being monitored, because it's close enough that help is just a rifle away, but everywhere else they must be taken out with dogs and tended closely.

Tending keeps them within the somewhat loose confines of outer fencing and it keeps them out of the sticker burrs, which I will unfortunately already be picking out of some churro lambs.

(No, Halloween has not come early. She is really not black and orange. The red dirt around here turns all my white animals orange or pink.  Thankfully it washes out easily.)

So back to tending:

The basic idea is to roll out with the necessary tools needed to move sheep and goats safely.

Here is a list of tools needed on my belt:

The dogs understand their jobs. The Border Collies have the perimeters tattooed on the foreheads and thus any sheep straying outside the imaginary line is dealt with accordingly. The Livestock Guardian Dogs take this time to poke around the pastures and leave pee-mail for the rival gang of coyotes. Then they scratch out a hole in the shade and watch sheep with the rest of us.

If our browsing takes us close to a pond, everyone goes skinny dipping, except me and The Supervisor. I'm not a big fan of wading through cactus and copperheads in bare feet to swim in muddy water, and she doesn't feel she can let her hair down and play in the water when there is the chance that a single sheep may randomly walk across the arbitrary line she has assigned.  Ah well, we all have a cross to bear.

Others are not so encumbered by the weight of responsibility.

This can be a quiet time to enjoy coffee, a book, and peaceful meditation.

Or it can be a time of great cussing where curses are hurled at sheep who don't care,  Border Collies learn new adjectives,

and Livestock Guardian Dogs don't care one way or the other.

Regardless, the nuts and bolts of tending sheep come down to the dogs, and the generations of breeding that has gone into making them the willing partners of man that they are today.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 07:56 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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Red Feather Ranch, Failte Gate Farm
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