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Posts posted by NorthfieldNick

  1. A sheep leg crook works wonders. Hook the duck's neck. I have a poorly designed duck tractor (that would be my own fault) and I catch ducks in it with my crook all the time. Never had one get hurt.


    I'd be tempted to keep it, too :rolleyes: I love my ducks... although I do eat the extra males. I love my ducks, but I also LOVE duck!

  2. Both of my dogs will eat pills if I toss it in with their food. Wierd, but easy :rolleyes:


    My sister's ancient BC has been on DES forever- I think only twice a month- as she had trouble with the Proin. Apparantly, some dogs can have liver problems on it.


    My older mare gets a joint supplement called Recovery EQ. They make a dog version, but it's the same as the horse version, only more expensive. I'll bring a tub of the stuff home & start Lu on it. A 60-day supply for the horse should last Lu a year or so :D

  3. ZOMG! I go to work all day, and come back to three pages of discussion. Wow!


    Thaks for all the responses. I guess I wan't thinking very hard here...


    I live on an island. A small one. I have to get on a ferry to get to the mainland. It really limits the accessability of everything. My entire living comes from animal protein. ALL of it. I raise sheep. I also manage a shellfish farm. People don't think of them as "animals," but trust me, clams and oysters are very much alive. I can't tell you how many oysters I've killed some days just in the day-to-day business (darn, why can't dogs eat ugly oysters?!)


    And DUH! I'm part of a livestock producer's Co-Op! The folks at the cut-and-wrap place are always griping about how many organs & bones they throw away. It doesn't cost anyone anymore to have the bones wrapped instead of thrown out. At least half the people I know hunt. Heck, I was just lamenting the fact that my duck-hunter friend cuts off the legs & breast, and dumps the rest. I bet with a little work, I could make feeding raw not too difficult. I already have two freezers, so usually have plenty of storage space.


    For whoever asked about feeding raw & kibble, I usually feed both in the same meal. Sometimes it's one or the other, though. My dogs usually get fed twice a day, sometimes more- like if they get a frozen liver mid-day or something (my dogs seem to enjoy chewing away at mostly-frozen meat).


    Sheesh, who knew I'd start such a discussion :rolleyes:

  4. I'd like to feed my dogs an entirely raw diet. They currently eat part kibble, and part raw in the form of various sheep pieces from my flock. I like the idea of a no-grain diet. My dogs can not eat most of the grain-free kibble I've seen- they have either eggs or potatoes in them, both of which my crew has allergies to.


    In a lot of posts about raw feeding, I see people talk about how thrilled they are to get chicken backs, turkey necks, what have you on sale, in bulk, etc. I'm going to assume here, which is never a great thing, that any animal part that cheap is coming from CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) and the like.


    I don't really want to support that kind of livestock operation, nor do I want to put all the antibiotics, hormones, etc into my dogs. Heck, I won't eat meat from CAFO animals.


    I can't afford to buy free-range, organic meat for my dogs.


    I raise most of the meat I eat, and there is no way I could afford to raise enough to feed my dogs. There's not enough "leftovers" when we butcher to feed the dogs. I use the necks, etc. The dogs do get lots of organ meat (of which I have more than I could ever eat), and they eat old rams. I know some people feed cull ewes, but I can have my old ewes ground and sell them for far more than they're worth as dog food. I'm not rich, by any means, and the income from those old ewes is very welcome.


    Of course, on the flip side, what kind of livestock operation (I refuse to call it farming) am I supporting by feeding kibble? I know there are the organic, free-range, etc kibbles out there, but they're either out of my price range, or have ingredients my dogs are allergic to. I'm not kidding when I say that my mutt can eat about three brands of kibble out there- even supposed "hypoallergenic" foods generally don't work!


    So, where's the balance in this conundrum? How virtuous can one be?


    (If this would be better off in the Politics section, please feel free to move)

  5. Well, Lu indeed has a ragin UTI. She's on antibiotics that should clear it up.


    No stones, no crystals, x-ray is clear.


    After a long talk about her history, the vet thinks Lu has older-spayed-female incontinence and that that's causing the recurring UTI. Lu is on Proin for awhile, and we'll see what that does.


    *sigh* Lu's x-rays did show some arthritic changes in her hind leg joints & hips, though. She has been a bit slower than usual, less apt to zoom around with the BC's. Time to start some joint supplements, I guess. I don't want my Lu to get old!

  6. Lu has a vet appt for Monday afternoon- soonest I can get in. I wish we had a better vet on the island *sigh* The one we have is, well, an idiot, and only useful for emergencies & cheap spay/neuters of feral cats.


    The vet is going to do the sample, culture it, and check for stones. I hope they don't need to sedate Lu for anything- she's not the most cooperative patient.


    Julie- I had thought about the older-spayed-female incontinence. My sister's ancient BC has been on an estrogen mimic for incontinence for eons. I mentioned it to the vet, and she said we'll see what happens once the UTI is cleared up.

  7. I think, but am not sure, that cranberry is on the long, long, long list of things Lu is allergic to. I need to pull out the paperwork and check. She had a full allergy test- lines of red bumps on her stomach- in '04. Her list is about 3 pages long :rolleyes:


    I'll call the vet tomorrow and see what they say.


    Lu has never been a big drinker (that sounds funny!), so I'll try getting more into her. She'll eat anything, no matter what, so mixing water in her food is no big deal.



  8. Lu, my GSD-best guess mutt seems to have developed a recurring UTI. I noticed some blood in her urine about 8 weeks ago. Vet sampled urine- UTI. Treated it, and it went away for a bit, then came back. Same thing this time- it's back. Nothing has changed in our routine- if anything, the dogs get out more now since I can come home for lunch.


    Lu is probably about 8 yrs old, give or take a year, 49 Lbs lean, in good health otherwise. She's been spayed since 2004, and she had at least one litter before I got her. She's allergic to almost everything, but does well on a combination of CA Natural Chicken and Rice & raw.


    She is allergic to penicillin, amoxicillin, and a few other drugs of that class. I can't remember what the vet gave her for the UTI- something I'd never heard of before.


    Lu has also had some very recent night incontinence. She HATES peeing in the house, so I'm pretty sure she doesn't know she's going. This is the dog who wakes me up if she has to vomit- she'd wake me up even if she had to go right now.


    I guess it's back to the vet next week, which means more time off work for me. Grr. This fall has been one long vet bill, I think.


    Anyone have any experience, adivce, etc?



  9. I'm in the PNW, as well, in the north Puget Sound. I'm assuming you're on the west side of the Cascades, since you say it's wet.


    If you don't want to have to pump feed into your sheep constantly, stay FAR FAR AWAY from the show-bred Suffolks (and anything else show-bred, for that matter). They've had the usefulness bred out of them, unless "useful" to you means winning show ribbons.


    For reference, I run about a hundred head. 100% grass-fed- only supplement is some alfalfa for the bred ewes.


    I raise purebred & half Cotswolds. The purebreds are not the best production sheep, but I love the wool, I love the breed preservation. The purebred lambs I've butchered have been pretty darn nice, though. They're hardy sheep, they eat anything, and they're easy to deal with. My half-Cotswold lambs look amazing in the freezer. Big frames, great finish. They pay the bills!


    I also run a flock of cross-bred ewes. They were originally a Coopworth flock, but have had some East Friesian (not my favourite), Romney, North Country Cheviot (NCC) and Katahdin bred in. I love the NCC cross ewes & lambs. They're hardy, thrifty, get fat fast, and are great fun for the dog :rolleyes: The Romney was crossed in there to improve wool quality, and the Katahdin crosses only raise market lambs.


    The hair sheep seem to do well around here. The carcasses are nice, but a little narrow for my taste. They put on enough fat, the carcass is just, well, thin.


    The best ewes I have are the Coopworth x NCC. They're great mothers, have no health troubles, lamb easily, thrifty.


    As far as horse & sheep compatible fencing goes, you have several choices. Woven field fence works, but is pricey. Use it for a perimeter. Four-and-five strand hotwire will work. I use electro-net for the sheep, but NEVER around the horses! Horses and electro-net are a disaster waiting to happen. I always run an offset hotwire or three between the horses and e-net. Granted, I have two very curious Arabs who love to rearrange (BCs of the horse world), but better safe than vet bills.


    We have no predators here, save for the occasional stray dog (the perks of living on an island), but if you're going to have any significant number of shep, get an LGD. That way, you don't have to worry about putting them up at night. The number of sheep tou can put in an 8 x 10 stall depends on how much you want to feed... and how often you want to clean the stall. An LGD means your sheep can stay out all the time.


    My sheep have no housing. The ewes come in the barn or shed right after lambing, but that's mostly for me- it's a lot easier to catch lambs for docking & castrating when they're in a pen! Otherwise, my sheep rely on trees & hedgerows for shelter. They've been out in this rain & wind happily grazing away. I figure they've got a pile of wool on them- they take their house with them. I've never had any trouble from exposure.


    If you want, and depending on where you are, I can put you in touch with a number of folks who run sheep in different settings up here. Send me a PM, or e-mail me at Northfield.Sheep (at) gmail (dot) com.


    Obviously, I'm no help! LOL

  10. I charge $5.25 per Lb hanging weight, but that includes the $40.00 slaughtere fee & $1.00/Lb cut & wrap fee. I just butchered 15 lambs, and they averaged a 47 Lb hanging weight- range was 35 (crazy ewe lamb who just needed to go) to 52 Lbs, with most in the 42-48 Lb range. I don't feed any grain, and I generally have enough pasture to not have to feed hay. I do feed the ewes some alfalfa right around lambing, but that's it. I aim for a 45 Lb lamb- that seems to be the size most of my custom-cut customers like.


    Last time I weighed my lambs right before they got butchered, I was getting a 45-50% hanging weight. Those were big NCC cross lambs, though. My Cotswold crosses are a bit lower, I'd guess.


    This time, I ended up grossing about $150.00 per lamb. That's BEFORE I take out my time, wormer, etc.


    If you want your customers to pay their own slaughter, cut & wrap fee, I'd think about charging a flat rate per lamb, as Denice suggested.

  11. There's a product called For-Bid that you sprinkle on their food that makes the poop unpalatable. My starvation resuce mutt was a poop-eater, but a few days of For-Bid stopped it. Every now and then, usually when she's stressed, I have to use it again, but it's been a year+ since that happened. I didn't know about the pineapple, etc, when I got the For-Bid, so I don't know if it works any better.


    You have to give it to every dog or cat in the household for it to work.


    Now, that only works with dog poop. I gave up trying top keep them from eating chicken, turkey, duck, horse, goat, sheep, etc poop. I holler "Quit eating turds!" more times than I care to think about every day, but it only makes them leave *that* specific poop. With as much stock as we have, it's hopeless trying to get them to quit entirely!

  12. FWIW, it took months before the well-started dog I bought would effectively work sheep for me. He was only 2 when I got him, but he'd done some nursery "fun" trialing. Part of our problem was that his previous owner was a slow-drawling southerner, and I'm a fast-talking mid-westerner, but it was still months before Nick & I were really a team. I even had dead-dog-broke sheep to work (my old dog was the definition of soft, and he could move them), and it was still a disaster. It was like Nick had to figure out that I really did want to work with him to get the job done.


    I didn't even attempt to put Nick to sheep until I'd had him for a few weeks. And then it was only because a group of ewes busted loose. Give it some time with Lena to let her settle in a bit more.

  13. Here's to a smooth & speedy recovery for Skye.


    I came home once to find my Lu (the mutt) with a 3-4" gash in her stomach. Still have no idea what it was from- she'd been in the yard all day. At first I thought the blood was from the BC, who was far more accident prone. Luckily, Lu's floppy boobs saved her- only tore skin & fat.


    Tell Skye she's not alone, and no more pointy sticks!

  14. Julie-


    I raise Cotswolds. Mostly coloured, but I have a few white ewes now. I got them for the wool, but I really like them. They're huge and mellow, and so easy to handle. Even the lambs hop right in the trailer! They really aren't the best breed for a grass-fed operation, but they're so thrifty- they'll eat ANYTHING including rose hedges- that it's worth it to keep them a bit longer.


    Most of the lambs I butchered today were half-Cotswolds. I LOVE the cross-bred lambs! The ewes these lambs are out of are a hodge-podge of Lincoln, Romney, & some other long wool, so still not a real fast-growing sheep. Crossing a Cot ram on those ewes just produces a nice lamb.

  15. The butcher is coming on Thursday, so I sorted lambs today. There were 22 out in one pasture- 10 of them had been worked a few times with their mothers, the other 12 had never been dogged. Those 12 had also not been touched by a person since August. I was prepared for a long, stressful time of trying to pen these sheep.




    The lambs turned and ran when I walked out there with Nick, but as soon as he got to their heads, there was no stopping. He held them together- a few tried to split off a couple times- and didn't let them stop until they were penned.


    I gave up my old dog because "quit" was his favourite speed. He was not cut out to be a stock dog, and would just give up if the work got hard. "Quit" is not in Nick's vocabulary. He just will not give up until the job is done. It was another day when I again realised that I really lucked out with this dog. I paid almost nothing for him as a well-started dog, put a bit of time on him, and he's just amazing. His outruns seem to have suddenly come together, and he's figuring out pace.


    My lambs are all fat & huge- they'll hang 50+ Lbs. Not bad for pasture-raised heritage breed sheep!

  16. I make my living from "stock" of sorts... the sheep pay for themselves plus some with lamb and wool. Most of the "stock" that makes my living are shellfish... clams & oysters aren't so much fun as sheep (no dog required), but a million of them (literally) don't take up much space :rolleyes:


    We buy almost zero produce- we eat out of the garden- raise our own poultry & fowl for meat & eggs, and have diary goats. The useless goats' feed is certainly more expensive than what we save from having our own milk & cheese, but the rest of the stock pays for itself.

  17. What gives?!? Our goats don't test fences! We have lots of hotwire, and they stay in.


    My experience with angora goats is that if you look at them funny, they fall over dead. If the wind blows, they fall over dead. If the sun shines, they fall over dead.


    And if not, their fleece gets stuck on something.


    And they fall over dead.

  18. My rescue mutt was certainly neglected and starved, but not abused. She definitley has issues- she's snarky, a bit dog agressive, and pushy- but I'm pretty sure she'd be that way no matter what her early life was like.


    My previous horse was most certainly abused. She was, as Becca describes, totally dead to the world when I got her. She reacted to almost nothing- just stood there looking distant. She eventually became the best horse I've ever had, probably the best one I ever will have. I miss my funny little grey mare!

  19. Tea, where are you? I'm in the PNW- about as far NW as you can get in the lower 48- and am part of the IGFC coop that has what was the first mobile unit in the country.


    My lamb IS in local grocery stores! Granted, I'm in serious-small-town (er, island), but it's still there. One of our stores carries local beef, pork, and lamb. All raised right here.

  20. Both of my dogs have endured 12 hour, cross-country air trips with no ill effects. Of course, there were no international borders to be crossed.


    The biggest thing is to be SURE, absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt sure, that your dog will be 100% okay confined to a crate. Get one now- the exact kennel she'll travel in- and make it the best thing in the world. Both my dogs love their crates. It's their space, they use them voluntarily. When Lu flew across the USA with me, the woman at the airport was amazed that Lu hopped right in the box and curled up to sleep before I'd even shut the door. (Nick was sent to me when I bought him, so I have no idea of his departure).


    Lu arrived after a layover, and a mid-length delay, rather thirsty and with crossed legs. She REFUSES to even pee inside her "house." Nick had peed in his bedding, but otherwise arrived happy and ready to go. Poor dog had left sunny Tennessee for cold, windy, rainy Washington, to a person he'd never seen before.


    If you can, freeze water in a dish that hangs on the kennel door. It'll last a little bit longer that way,


    Ailsa has a good suggestion about a hand-written note on the kennels. I did that for Lu, mostly because she can be a bit grumpy, but the people who handed her over to me said they love having a name to call the animal, makes it more personal, etc.


    Some airlines will not fly a dog in certain weather, so be sure to call your chosen airline and make sure they'll take the dog.


    I've heard you should not sedate a dog prior to a flight. Neither of mine needed it, so I didn't think much about it.


    My Lu seemed to rather enjoy her flight trip. She's a serious traveling dog, and loves going new places. I'm fairly certain she thought her very long nap that ended up in a new place was just one big adventure.


    But do get a kennel very soon, because your dog will have to fly in one. Although, at this point, it might be cheaper to by her a seat ticket :rolleyes: Think you could pass her off as a very odd, very rare instrument? (My sister used to fly with her cello in a seat). I'm sure you could train a BC to howl a few bars :D

  21. I butcher my own birds (chickens, turkeys ducks), but not lambs becauset they have to be USDA inspected for my market. I do use the first (no longer only) USDA-inspected mobile slaughter unit in the country. I'm right there when my sheep (and the occasional goat) get butchered. I've seen and helped some hundreds of times. You get "used" to it, but it's never "okay."


    I figure the day I no longer have trouble killing an animal I raised, usually an animal I brought into this world for the sole purpose of dying to feed somthing else, is the day I need to quit.

  22. My Nick is almost 4.5 yrs old, and he. licks. everything. There's a reason he's known as Licky Nick around here. He's about the world's happiest dog, and it's like he just can't help it, he's so HAPPY! I taught him "back off" and he does listen and quit mauling who or whatever he's licking. Sometimes, when he's really excited, though, he'll just lick the air in front of you :rolleyes: It's rather comical, and seems totally harmless. He hasn't yet licked something hot or sharp

    (although he did try to eat a stinging nettle yesterday). I've never met ANY dog that licks as much as Nick, so I wouldn't call it normal. It's pretty endearing, though, esepcially with little kids :D

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