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Posts posted by NorthfieldNick

  1. Evidently, I got really lucky when I got Nick. I had him flown across the country, sight unseen, and he hit it right off with my somewhat-snarky, very alpha, I-like-being-an-only-child mutt. Of course, Nick is perfectly happy in his role as annoying younger brother, and having him around actually got the mutt to start playing more.


    At first, I really did not like having two dogs. I felt like I was always neglecting one, it made it even more crowded in the tiny house... Now, 15 months later, I love it! I don't think I'll ever go back to having just one. It's so much fun watching the dogs have the zoomies outside. They wrestle with each other in a way only two dogs can. Yeah, you can get those things at the dog park, but then you miss the cute moments like when both dogs squash into one crate, or when they lay there snerfling each others' eyes in front of the fire.


    The one thing that has gotten much tougher with two dogs is finding care for them when I travel. Despite my worries, it's actually the BC who is the easy one, but still, far fewer people are willing to look after multiple dogs than just one.

  2. The joy of electronet is that it's easily moved. When the grass is really growing here, I'll put 8 sheep in an area one 164' long net on each side. That lasts them about 4 days before I move them to the next paddock.


    The size of area you have will depend on the grass & growing conditions, how often you are able to move the fence, etc.

  3. Diane, Eifion is coming here next Friday. I was just contemplating running the sheep up the road to the barn instead of trailering them... The only spot dry enough to drive on is the worst spot to pen!


    Julie, if you ever want a Cotswold fleece, coloured or white, let me know. I have plenty :rolleyes:


    I, too, cull ewes with cow-tits (I like that phrase, although one of our dairy cows has "sheep-tits"- they're tiny).

  4. You have Cotswold crosses? Lovely!


    I have about 30 registered Cots. I've found that crossing my Cot ram on my cross-bred ewes produces a lamb with a large frame.


    Looks like a hefty lamb- he's going to be a wooly bugger!

  5. We have turkey vultures & bald eagles galore, but my biggest trouble comes from crows and ravens. The ravens are awful- they'll kill a lamb while the ewe is down birthing it's twin. The vultures & eagles usually only go for afterbirths and dead things. I've only lost one live lamb to eagles- out of 300 +/- lambs, that's not bad.


    I seem to have a deal worked out with the birds. I put dead lambs & ewes on a compost heap way away from where I lamb. The birds eat there & pretty much stay away from the lambing area. Most of my ewes eat their own placentas, and I've seen a number of ewes chase off eagles & vultures.


    We don't have coyotes here (if any showed up on the island, they'd be shot in a nanosecond), so no LGDs.

  6. I don't get all the goat grumbling! We have FIVE Nubians, and they're easier than the sheep. They stay behind hotwire, and they're such sissies that they never stray far from their shed. They come tearing back up the pasture at the slightest disturbance. The two does we breed are sweet and give great milk. The wethers are mostly useless, but, well... I'd much rather milk the goats than the cows. This year, it'll be both :rolleyes: I'd better dig out my cheese making supplies...

  7. Bill, I think it's just the leaves of the plants, not the roots. I also think they have to eat a lot of Beta vulgaris to have any effect.


    We're in an area of very deficient soils, so maybe it's a more regional thing. We're so deficient, we can get away with our sheep eating the dairy minerals that have copper in them (only when the sheep busted into the cow pasture and cleaned out the mineral tub).


    My friend ran her sheep through their garden and had trouble with them on the chard patch. They're market growers & had many hundreds of row feet of chard. I'm guessing it was an iodine deficiency. Most of us here add a lot of kelp meal to our standard minerals to keep our sheep balanced...

  8. All the solanacea (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant) plant parts are toxic. They're nightshades. They're toxic even to humans. I've never met a sheep that would actually eat a tomato plant... but that's not to say they wouldn't! I had a few ewes bust into the garden last year, and they went right past the tomatoes to decimate my sunflowers. Arg!

  9. Considering that folks grow some brassicas for forages, all the broccoli, cauli, kale, etc are fine. Most sheep love them! My sheep cleared a new pasture of wild mustards (which are brassicas) last summer.


    Beet greens & Swiss Chard (same plant) in large quantites can cause problems, I think.


    Edited to fix typos...

  10. Diane, she's in western WA state. I nearly adopted another dog from this rescue, then came to my senses & got a started stock dog (which was what I was looking for). If I didn't have my other mutt (who was a shelter dog from Maine), well, I'd be really sad, but I'd take this girl. I have a serious soft spot for red tri's with prick ears :D


    And yes, I'd rather have The Man than another dog! He pays for his own food, and I don't have to take him outside at 3 am when he's eaten something he shouldn't have :rolleyes:

  11. The trick for getting milk out of ewes:


    Handmilk two dairy cows for 10 months! Milking sheep is nuthin' after that :rolleyes:


    Sorry, I think my Cotswolds would milk themselves if I showed them a bucket. They milk like Jersey cows.


    On grafts: I had a ewe have one stillborn twin last year. I grabbed my orphan (who was mostly too stupid to follow his own mum) and shoved him in front of the other ewe. Worked like a charm! He had no trouble following her, and the ewe took right to him.

  12. I do as Bill does- ewes, left ear, wethers, right ear. I also do the 8001, etc thing. Ewes I decide to keep get a farm tag, which has a flock ID (either an NF or H).


    If I've used more than one ram, and it won't be obvious who sired the lambs (ie one ram was a hair sheep), I'll add a letter to the lamb tags. A few years ago, I used a Romney and a Cheviot on Romney cross ewes. I had tags that said 6001R or 6001C. It worked fairly well.


    I keep insane records, just because I'm a detail nut. I have to cross-reference an ear tag number to a page in a notebook to find out the details. I tried the computer program, but I found I just didn't enter the data.

  13. I have a single-cab Dodge Ram 2500 HD. I love my big diesel truck because it hauls the trailer like there's nothng there.


    I hate it because it eats fuel (although it gets twice what a gas truck of the same size would). I also hate it because the cab is perpetually gross because both dogs ride in there. I load the bed so often that I don't want to put crates back there for the dogs.


    I'm currently looking for something small & fuel efficient to drive around and put the miles one (the truck has 251.800 miles!) My bro-in-law has a little Honda hatchback. It's prefect! Both dogs fir quite happily in back. My short self fits fine in the front, Scott would be cramped, but there's always his car (which is always too loaded with field work gear to fit the dogs).


    A friend of mine calls her Element the rolling dog crate :rolleyes: She loves it!

  14. My friend who raises pastured pigs and sheep uses her little BC to move pigs every now & then. I help her a lot with the hogs, mostly because I get pork in trade, and not because I like pigs.


    We once had a group of weaner pigs get loose, and Joey-the-BC managed to get them all back where they were supposed to be. It was not easy, and it took forever, but a BC can outrun both pigs and people...


    Joey works both sheep and cows regularly, and he's a tough little dog.


    It's easier to move pigs with a board than a dog, I think, but it *is* possible to use a dog on hogs!

  15. Er, SunnyDay... I live on Lopez. And yes, Julie Matthews is the real thing, atlthough she left after burning too many bridges here. I graze the land where that sheep trial was...


    Totally off-topic, but it's wierd to see the name of this little island appear on the boards!


    For the topic: my mom's Lab thinks she's a herding dog. Of course, she has NO idea what she's doing, but hey- the sheep moved when she ran around them. Being Lab, she's more interested in sheep poop than sheep... ick.

  16. Alison, where in the rainy PNW? I have some lovely Cotswold sheep who have lovely coloured fleeces that would make some lovely handspun yarn for some lovely handmade clothes...


    Yeah, I love the fiber, but it's the market lamb that pays the bills.


    I think they best way to learn to farm is to apprentice with someone who does it. I learned a lot about sheep from a friend of mine, and now we help each other out with our flocks all the time.

  17. If you have ready access to real (ie raw, right from the cow) milk for cheap, I have a recipe somewhere. I got it from a nun... I never tried it (managed to foster my orphan lamb on a ewe last year), but it works for them. The nun part might help, though... I have two dairy cows, though, and there's way more milk than we can ever use.

  18. Elizabeth-


    Wow! Thanks! That's great info. I'll have to go look at the pedigrees harder when I'm not working.


    Nick & Mist look much alike- that long build. Nick even has the 3/4 ruff and lop-sided blaze. Nick will also work to exhaustion, then keep going. Last winter, it snowed & I had a band of rowdy ram lambs get loose. It took us nearly 5 hours in the snow to get them back where they were supposed to be- no idea how many miles we had to go to find them all (some had gone to visit the ewes down the road), and Nick never once even thought about quitting. He gets sticky sometimes, but I think it's just from lack of conifidence and miles. He's only 3 1/2. I need to make a serious effort to get him on sheep far more often. I'll need him for lambing this year, I know. Nick also has a good grip- and it comes out when he's frustrated. Although, the first time I really worked him, by big dumb wether came at him & Nick had that sheep by the nose in a flash! I was amazed!


    Nick has an independent streak, but he's always looking to make you happy. Now that I think about it, the times I've had the worst luck with him were when I was micro-managing... Hum. I never thought of that before.


    I don't have any pics of Nick here- I'll find one when I get home.

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