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Posts posted by NorthfieldNick

  1. Ah, I just had a thought. If you ever take anything made with duck eggs to a potluck, etc, warn people! A friend of mine gets rapidly, violently ill if he eats anything with duck eggs in it. Some people are allergic to a protein in them that is different than chicken eggs. Of course, the reverse is also true sometimes.

  2. Yesterday afternoon I was working on the computer and suddenly realised I'd been hearing the neighbours (grrr) set off fireworks for 1. hour. Looked around for Nick & he was slabbed at my feet, like usual. He slept through everything. The mutt dog could care less- no food=who cares?


    The horses, however... the yearling ran like crazy for the first few, then he ran just because it was fun. The older mare watches the fireworks. Like the mutt, she's all about food...


    As for the humans, well, we stayed home & went to bed before the booming stopped.

  3. Oh, good, another duck convert! I love mine- am considering sending all the hens to the freezer & having two duck pens. But I like my rooster too much...


    I have a Khaki Campbell duck who has laid an egg a day since April 11. Hasn't missed one single day! The runners don't lay quite so well.


    Have you broken an egg open yet? The yolks are HUGE! Careful you don't overcook the eggs- the whites are quite thick & turn to rubber if overcooked... gak.


    The neighbour's muscovy tried to herd the dogs... he's since disappeared, so either a coon got him, or he's in the freezer...

  4. I have turntable envy...


    My Cotswolds outweigh me by 50-100Lbs. They're super mellow, but man, turning them over gets painful after a bit. I love my deck chair.


    The hair sheep vs wool sheep is interesting: It's my Kats & Kat crosses that go floppy when tipped. The cross-bred (mostly Coopworth) wool ewes are the kicking, flailing, steel rod types!

  5. Not so much the computer... but the bathroom. Good grief!! I get no peace. If I shut the door, they whine. Actually, worse than Nick is Lu, the mutt. She knows she's the love of my life (sorry, Scott), and is always *right there* She'll crawl into my lap if she thinks I'm ignoring her.


    Nick will howl, coyote-style, if I stay in bed too long. The dogs are loose at night, but they can't get to the sleeping loft. They stare up at us, then whimper, then Nick pulls the coyote trick LOL!

  6. Hrm. My mom had her Lab chipped at vet in Twinsburg. Is that too far from you? I don't think it was that pricey. My mom really liked the place, and she's uber-picky about vet care, after losing the Lab I grew up with to cancer.


    It's been too long since I've lived in Cleve-burg to know much about vets... could tell you where NOT to go...

  7. Nick is much like Laurae's Taz. He just turned 3, and I'm pretty sure he's had more training than I have :rolleyes: He works fast and close, unless he's working ewes with lambs, in which case he keeps a nice distance (he must have been bashed by a ewe before I had him. My ewes are heavy, but they generally don't bash dogs).


    His outruns start wide, but he cuts in real close the minute he gets around the sheep. Sometimes, if the flock is scattered, he'll cut off sheep, but that's getting much better. I'm usually able to stop him cutting in with an "Eh!" followed by sending him off again. His outruns are so bloody fast! In the beginning, I honestly think it was because he thought I was asking for speed. He was owned by a guy in Tennesee, who had a SERIOUS drawl! I'm from the midwest originally (and I do twang), but I talk fast and loud. Poor dog had to adjust to my voice. (I haven't tried the whistle yet...) I hope Nick gets wider as he gets older.


    As for eye, well, I can't quite figure that one out. Nick isn't super strong eyed like my previous dog, who would get stuck staring at the sheep, but he's not loose eyed like my friend's dog who goes nuts trying to keep an eye on each and every sheep in the field. Nick is definitley a powerful dog- he has no trouble getting the sheep to move. Sometimes, he gets stuck in high-pressure spots (like penning the rams), but I think that has more to do with his lack of confidence than being sticky. I do that if I don't stop him at the top of the outrun, he won't stop at all. Brings the sheep right on in. Not a huge deal- doubt I'll ever trial, and he gets the farm jobs done.

  8. Since I've lived in lurkdom for so long (drawn out by duck posts), I suppose I should re-introduce myself.


    I live in NW Washington state, on a funny little island full of sheep and BC's. My own flock runs about 100 head usually, cross-bred commercial ewes, and a growing number of registered Cotswolds. Last fall, I gave up my old dog to a non-working home, which he really needed, and got a new BC: Nick, who just turned 3. He's a blue-and-white, which really means he's mud-brown. Most food-motivated BC I've ever met... lives for his sheep & pestering my other dog, Lu, the shepherd mutt. Lu wants nothing to do with livestock, except for eating poop... :rolleyes: She's pretty certain that all BC's are obsessive weirdos...


    Then there's the horses, goats, ducks, and the world's most pampered flock of chickens... the chickens are my partner's thing. He loves them- I love him- it all works out :D


    Despite the fact that I've been lurking for a long time, I'm officially a Woo fan... In fact, I had a brief thought of painting Nick orange. He wants to be Woo for Halloween... :D

  9. Oh, my. Just wait until you actually see ducklings. Then you'll want them. Cutest things ever. Little peeping balls of fluff... besides, when you let the duck hatch them, you don't have to deal. Just watch out- even my dinky little 3 Lb ducks give the dogs hell when they have babies. My poor mutt-dog just avoids the duck pen... she acts tough, but she's kind of a wuss :/

  10. Ah, good. Pre-trained ducks! They'll probably lay their eggs in the house, then. Most ducks lay around dawn. Mine all lay between 4 & 5 am (yes, I'm up that early almost every day). Don't be surprised if they lay about 15 eggs, then quit for a few weeks, if you're collecting eggs. They lay in clutches. Of course, if you're letting them set, then it's a moot point.


    I'm telling you- chicken electronet from Premier is the BEST predator protection EVER. Put it around your shed, and just connect it every night. Since I put it around my chicken & duck tractors (bottomless, moveable pens) I've had zero losses to coons and minks (I live on an island- we don't have coyotes). It also now keeps my BC away from the birds, but that's because he thought the poultry net wasn't hot like the sheep net & he zapped himself good...


    I love my ducks- more than the chickens. I keep both for eggs (and meat sometimes), but the ducks have WAY more personality.


    Oh, right, be ready to change their water every day- mine make a mess of any water they can find :rolleyes:



  11. Muscovies like to segregate themselves by sex, except for, erm, their "dalliances" with each other. Get 2 hens and a drake, and they'll quickly give you more ducks :rolleyes: A single hen may be overwhelmed by the drakes advances...


    Good luck penning them in at night- Muscovies like to sleep in trees, and unlike chickens, ducks DO NOT go in at night. I finally gave up and got some chicken electronet to put around my laying duck pen. It gets really old trying to chase them in at night. You can try training them to go in at night- clap your hands (or something) and give them a treat (corn works well), and they'll soon come running :D My partner trained his hens like this- it's hilarious- they come RUNNING whenever anyone claps!


    The only Muscovy around here thinks the BC's have it backwards- he chases them! The Muscovys smell a little funny, but they have funny soft whispering voice.


    They also tend to lay better than books say they do, so you might get some eggs to eat. I have Kahaki Campbells & Runners- I love my duck eggs!

  12. The welded wire panels from Premier are my favourite things ever! The 40" x 48" size are easy to move, and can be used for any pen, wherever, whenever. They come in larger sizes, too. I run my sheep on a lot of pasture (100% grass fed) and I need to be able to set up a pen wherever the sheep are grazing. I can hurl the Premier panels and some t-posts in my truck, and we're in business! The panels are well worth the price! My 350 Lb Cotswold ram bashed one of them this week, and the panel is fine... the ram cut his head, however.

  13. I must be really lucky. Or maybe Seattle parents are more hip to dog behaviour.


    I once had Lu, my mutt dog (only obivous thing in there is GSD) at a kiddie park in Seattle. Went down for a very last minute visit with friends. This is a dog I'd never take to a dog park- she plays way to rough. With kids, however, she just lays there & licks their faces. Every single parent askedif their child could pet Lu. I was amazed! Some stopped their kids before the kid ran up to Lu. It was a rather pleasent visit- my dogs like kids a LOT more than I do!


    Of course, it all begs the question- why was a kid playing loose in a dog park?!? Aside from the dog bite danger, what about the poop! LOL!

  14. Unless you have one of the rare horses who has bonded to the sheep, two shelters are must. Also, if you pasture them together, you're going to have to move the horse every time you want to put the dog on the sheep. Unless you want a very badly injured dog.


    My mare terrorises the sheep, the colt wants to play with everything, so everyone stays seperate. They graze the same pastures- great parasite control- but not at once. My mare will also not hesitate to kick the living snot out of any dog that enters her pasture.


    98% of my sheep never see shelter, but I live in a mild climate. The horses are blanketed, but as of yet, I haven't gotten a shed up for them. Only the wimpy Nubian goats have a shed- otherwise they scream!


    So, no, I don't advise keeping horses & sheep together.

  15. As others have said, my guess is that once he settles in and gets to know things better, your guy will become different dog. It took nearly 6 MONTHS for my mutt-dog's true personality to come through.


    That said, my BC, Nick, has no interest in toys, either. He either wants to be working sheep, or to be the center of attention. This is fine- sheep are his job- and he's learned that I don't need to be petting him all the time (he lays on my feet instead.)


    Try smearing some PB on a ball- Nick is currently at my sister's (I'm on my pre-lambing vacation), and she did this & says Nick now loves their ball.


    Good luck & have fun! BC's will work YOUR mind to keep THEIR minds occupied!

  16. Hooo-kay, I have no idea what was going on last week... I think everyone (me included) was going a bit stir-crazy from wacky weather. Today, Nick brought these same ewes down to a new paddock all ho-hum and easy. Even my cantankerous old somewhat gimpy ewe complied!


    As for the old dog... well, he has many, many issues. He's happy being a mostly pet & reminding some very grain-trained sheep about things. Poor dog did not have an emotinally atble upbringing. Could have been amazing, instead he shuts down.


    My friend's lambs who are grazing the back field here got loose in the barn & Nick had a blast putting them in stalls until we could get the fence fixed! Only had trouble with 3 lambs who were just being idiots, as lambs will sometimes be...


    Anyway, it all seems to have worked out. We need to work on slowing down. Part of that comes from the fact that Nick is from the south- he's used to a SERIOUS drawl. I, on the other hand, do not drawl. I speak fast and loud. So Nick is figuring out my vocal tones, and I'm slowing down my commands.


    Nick is such a happy-go-lucky dog, very eager to please, so it's not too much work training him

  17. I keep a Katahdin ram around to breed my first-timers to- love those small lambs that come out bouncing. I have seen him breed exactly ONE ewe, but every ewe I've exposed to him has lambed. He's very seeet & spends a lot of time courting, but he likes his privacy, I guess.


    Bill is right- expose them to another ram... or wait 145 days.

  18. Why is it that my totally dog-broke sheep run AWAY from Nick, whereas with my old dog, they'd come right to me? The old dog was extremely strong eyed, but VERY weak in every other fashion. He had these fabulous, fast, sweeping outruns, then he'd get so focused on the sheep, he'd "forget" to move. He had basically zero power over the sheep- penning was a nightmare! Nick, on the otherhand, is fast and powerful. I've had him 5 weeks- he's been around my sheep from day 1, working them for 3 weeks or so. He's 2.5 yrs old. I can't figure out why my sheep, who used to come toward me at the sight of a dog, now run away. They dodge and dart sideways trying to get around Nick.


    Which leads me to the next question. When the sheep do their sideways thing (which I never saw with my old dog), Nick starts flanking SO far around that he nearly circles the sheep. He steadies down nicely, and I'll give him the opposite flanking command to get him going the other way, but how do I prevent this?


    I've been told my sheep need to adjust to the new, very different, dog, but I'm not sure I believe that.


    Today was a mess. A group of ewes we were moving got stuck- refused to move (they're grumpy at the snow), and Nick, who usually has no qualms about pushing sheep, simply flanked them at a set distance- no pressure, and wouldn't walk up on command. Then the sheep bolted & he proceeded to hang off the back end of one of them (thank goodness they're sull ewes & not bred!) Another odd thing- Nick grabbed my idiot fleece wether, but the wether had it coming. This ewe did not. I got after Nick, and he proceeded to get worse! I finally gave up & left the field before I got oo frustrated.


    My friend had a dog who the harder you got on her, the harder she got on the sheep. I don't really think Nick is like that- it doesn't fit his personality, but who knows. Nick hasn't worked in a few days because of the bad weather & my work schedule, but he hasn't been bored- plenty of mind-play & having the zoomies with the mutt-dog.


    Arg. I'm just frustrated today. My trainer-friend is out of town, so I can't bounce ideas off him. Sorry this got so long.

  19. The weather here has been awful lately- we're going to float away or sink with all this rain! I've been neglecting the sheep, and poor Nick has been bored. He's demonstrated this by eating the ferry schedule I keep in the car (well, shredding it).


    And trying to herd a peanut. I'm not kidding. I dropped a peanut last night, and Nick stared at it, danced around it, nudged it, danced some more... I swear if I'd tole him "come by" he would have! He finally tried to eat it, remembered he still doesn't like peanuts, and gave it to Lu-the-mutt (who will eat anything.)


    But oh man, he tried to herd a nut


    We promptly went aand took hay to the rams & Nick got to work them by moonlight. It was awesome, though wet and cold.

  20. My sister & BIL live 1/4 mile up the road. We all (dogs included) spend a lot of time together. Nick is definitley more bonded to me, but he's so outgoing, he loves everyone. My sister & BIL spend a bit of time working with my dogs so the dogs do listen to them. My sister actually has an elderly BC rescue, so she gets the BC mentality.


    Caroline, I used to raise Katahdins & Kat crosses. GREAT dog sheep! A bit kooky, but very light for the dog, and very easy to handle for you. I still have my Kat ram- I breed him to the first-time lambers for small, vigourous lambs- makes for a good first lambing experience. So I will have some of them, too.

  21. Nick has a cool patterned Lupine collar. I actually got a size too big, so had to do some cut-and-stitch work with the sewing machine. I'm sure it voided the warranty, but oh well.


    While we're on the topic of collars... dog tags? I get mine from www.boomerangtags.com They make tags that slip onto the collar, instead of hang off. Very high quality, and they ship FAST. Granted, Nick's is hidden in his fuzz, but his collar is pretty obvious, and I'd think people would look for a tag. I like them because the jangling drives me nuts when we're working sheep, and they don't get stuck on things (my mutt dog's hang tag flipped her water bowl a couple times...)

  22. Caroline, this dog has so much herding drive it amazes me. I swear if I let him, he'd run the sheep back and forth all day, just for fun. He really thinks about the flock, and seems to read my mind as to what I want done. He's 2 1/2, and has been a sheep dog his whole life- I've only had him for 3 weeks, believe it or not!


    You're welcome to come out sometime- just not now It's a mud pit here. My big turbo diesel truck just about sank when I backed a little too far down into the pasture. Sometime after late March- I start lambing Feb 18 and finish by April 1.


    I do indeed have sheep for sale. I sell a few market lambs on the hoof per year (most of them I sell already frozen), and I sell Cotswold breeding stock. *sigh* The Cots are not the best dog sheep... they're BIG and heavy and a bit pretentious. They have to be dog broke early on, otherwise, they stand there daring the dog to try. I'm so glad I dog trained my ram early- he's gotta be up to 250 Lbs now. I'll sell extra cross-bred ewe lambs, too. I'll have a lot of nice Romney x Coopworth ewe lambs in '07. They're dood dog sheep- they get worked from day 1.

  23. This might be a silly question, but my other BC never had any interest in playing (unless you count staring at the pigs for hours "playing.) Nick most certainly will play games, and he definitley needs to be occupied more than my previous BC did.


    Will doing other stuff with him ruin or get in the way of his herding ability? Maybe agility, but even just things like hunting for his favourite toy or other simple games. Nick stays with my (very dog savvy) sister when I travel, and she needs to be able to occupy his mind (she has no idea about working sheep). Nick MUST retain his herding ability- it's his job, it's why I got him. We do work sheep nearly every day, so he gets plenty of practice.


    I can't imagine he'd "unlearn" herding- he lives for his sheep! The hardest thing for him to do is to leave the field when we're done. I'd thought about doing some agility things with him because 1) my friend does it with her two dogs & loves it, and 2) my other mutt-dog I think would enjoy agility.


    So, the important thing: Here's Nick in all his goofy-looking glory




    ETA: Haha, I didn't notice you can see my crook hanging in the background! If I even bump the thing, Nick starts bouncing...

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