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Posts posted by NorthfieldNick

  1. This isn't much help, but a friend of mine (in the US) brought a dog back from her study abroad in your area, and he is built just like Lillo. Burger is black & white like a Holstein cow, not quite like a "traditional" Border Collie. While Burger has some traits that make some people think "Border Collie", to me, they're more like Spaniel or bird dog characteristics. Are there hunting-type dogs in your area?


    Whatever he is, Lillo looks like he's living the good life! He's absurdly cute.

  2. It's very likely that I'm going to be moving back to Ohio this fall to return to school. I'm a Cleveland native, but will be moving just north of Cincinnati. I'm already dreading dealing with my dogs going from rural, working, farm dogs to living in the suburbs. I have one good contact for stock work in the area, but can anyone recommend good, safe places to take a pair of well-behaved dogs on a long off-leash jaunt? Dog parks are out of the question- I have one dog who does not play well with others & is a resource guarder.



  3. FWIW, I have a neutered (at age 3) male who has been incontinent most of his life. He's on ProIn, and it does the trick at a low dose. We hear about older, spayed bitches being incontinent, but it does happen in males, too. Just something to think about if it's not a UTI, etc.


    My younger dog (neutered male) once peed in his sleep. Never happened again, no apparent cause. Dreams of fire hydrants?

  4. Julie, you're almost exactly backwards. Most heritage hogs grow slowly, but put on much more fat than modern breeds. The heritage hogs were generally bred to produce meat for curing, preserving, etc. That takes fat- to make sausage, lard for sealing things (like confit). Modern hogs have been bred to be lean, to fit the view that fat = bad.


    The way to control fat & growth in heritage hogs is to feed them less, or lower amounts of concentrates. Our Mangalitsas, an old Hungarian pig, basically survive on compost. (We finished our fall pig on apples, squash, and milk. He was eating about 4 lbs of grain a week.) They layer on the fat, anyway, but that's what they're for :)/> We plan to keep our hogs for 11-12 months, unlike commercial producers, where the goal is to get them out ASAP.


    The fat on pastured hogs not fed huge quantities of grain is different in composition, just as it is in other animals.


    I, too, am not surprised that the industry would turn to a supplement to control muscle/lean ratio. Nothing like a band aid...

  5. I'm taking a guess here: The chicken (poultry), beef, and, to some extent, lamb industries generate older, cull animals from layers, breeding stock, old dairy cows, and old ewes. Plus old rams & bulls. While all this meat can be USDA human food grade, it often isn't very palatable- tough, lean, etc. It's cheap, and makes good processed products like kibble. (Many people I know who feed raw buy cull animals, so it's not necessarily a "bad" thing). Even an old breeding sow will pack on fat & make good sausage, for which there is a huge market. Thus, very little cheap pork around.


    All this said, my own cull ewes get ground up or made into sausage. Perhaps because they're grass-fed, they're delicious. We even ate an old ram. I've had some rams who were dog food, too. Our old poultry goes in the stew pot. The dogs get the short end of the stick, but we don't waste much around here!

  6. I use an undercoat rake & either Cowboy Magic or Show Sheen. Horse products, but they're marketed towards everybody now. They can really help reduce tugging on mats, etc.


    That said, once or twice a year, I just give up and take my double-coated, fine-haired dog to the groomer. They can get all the undercoat floofs out :)

  7. My sister had her old Border Collie for 16 years, and Stinky showed up as an adult. Her mind was still there, but her hips failed her. Stinky was deaf & mostly blind, but her cranky, cantankerous self right to the end. My friend's dog's father died at 17.


    I've informed my Nick that he has to live forever :)

  8. Coconut oil never crossed my mind. I hate coconut & think it all tastes like sunscreen, so I never buy the stuff.


    Before the TOTW, I was feeding Blue Buffalo. It's pricey, but I can go back to it. I'm going to compare the nutritional analysis & see if anything stands out.


    Any fish Nick has ever had has caused explosions. I'd rather not deal with the consequences of trying any more! I'm talking near constant liquid poop. Thank goodness for tile floors.


    Definitely no fleas. Dogs just had their once-a-year professional grooming, and she saw no signs of fleas, but did comment on Nick's dry skin.

  9. Both of my boys have been insanely itchy lately. Nick does have dry skin, and he can not have fish oil as any fish causes him to have explosive diarrhea. I've been feeding TOTW Prairie (I think, yellow bag) for a couple months since I got a good deal on it from my awesome feed store owners. The boys are doing well on it, look good, etc. Hoot actually eats TOTW, which is amazing, considering he usually quits eating for a day or two every week or so. I don't recall the boys being itchy until we'd gotten through ~2 bags of TOTW. I'm now about 3/4 through bag #3. Could it possibly take this long for the itchies to set in? I'd be more inclined to relate them to the weather, shedding, and dryness from indoor heat, but who knows.


    Nick will eat anything, and would probably be just fine on a diet of rotten oatmeal & dirt, but Hoot is fussy, picky, and hard to get enough food in to. I'm going to be bummed if I can't feed him TOTW.


    Also, any ideas for oil/fats that aren't fish for Nick's dry skin? He gets flax oil, but it's probably a waste, as I don't think dogs utilize it very well. He'd happily eat lard every day, but this is a dog who gets fat breathing.



  10. Jexa, you must not have looked at QH or Arab names lately! They're ridiculous! Of course, the worst we ever had was indeed a TB. Brown as could be, not very attractive, slow, and dumb. Made a great kid's hunter after he utterly failed on the track. His name? POTOOOOOOOO. That's "Po-T-8-O's". Potatoes. My current QH is "Our Little Buddy Boy." I hate it, but he's kinda stuck with Buddy. I thought of changing it to Buck (he's a buckskin), but that seemed like a bad idea :)


    I know a couple lovely dogs named Cooper. I like the monosyllabic names, nothing fancy: Nick & Hoot are my boys. Nothing more on Nick's papers, and Hoot doesn't have any.

  11. Laurel, I'm a Cleveland native.. My family is still there. I know, from first-hand experience, that there ARE vets who will euthanize a dog with behavior problems so severe they're overwhelming the owner. You & your dog are there. Cleveland is not rural, undeveloped, behind-the-times, or "out there." It's a major metro area, and all the major conveniences of animal training & care are available there.


    That's it, all I'll say.

  12. You worked so hard for a dog that many would have given up on. Hopefully, someone else can learn from your posts about your experiences with Buster.


    So very sorry for your loss. He was obviously a well-loved dog.

  13. Aw, Tea, Sgt Jesus is kind of a moosh to people you introduce him to :)


    Robin, good to hear about your horses. Long ago, I boarded at a barn where the resident Border Collie was severely injured because he "worked" horses. My old mare was a dog-hater, as well, and nearly did on several loose dogs (not mine- mine are pretty much terrified of horses, and I'm okay with that. Oddly, they'll lift sheep off them.)

  14. Please don't use your dog to work or hold horses. They don't behave like "regular" livestock because they are handled so differently. It's a recipe for an injured dog. Put the horses up or tie them if they molest you when you feed. Better yet, teach them to back off. It works- just ask my pig of a QH. He stands back, or he gets fed later.

  15. One of my biggest considerations when I decided to have my older dog castrated, despite the fact that he is definitely "breed worthy": Will I, personally, honestly ever want to deal with breeding him to outside bitches, or to one of my own (that I didn't & still don't have)? My answer was no. I kinda hate raising puppies. I'd rather buy a 2 yr old than a pup. Nick's bloodlines are out there, his father's semen is available frozen. If I want more like him, I can find one.


    So I had him cut. It's a degree less management, especially at trials. I don't have to worry about being around intact bitches (although they seem to LOVE Nick!)


    There are lots of fantastic pups available, should you want another one. Unless you very seriously think your dog is going to be a stellar working dog, and you're willing to put in the time & money to prove it, I'd have her spayed. I know others might disagree, but the way my life works right one, the extra management is not something I want to deal with.

  16. Yikes! Poor Faye!


    I have to admit, I think that photo of her pins & plate is fascinatingly cool. Even vet medicine has modern marvels!


    The good news is that young Border Collies are like little kids- they bounce back pretty quickly. Trouble is, they tend to want to go before they're ready. She'll be back to normal in no time.

  17. I've had several ducks with leg injuries. I've always just let them be- isolated if necessary. They always recover in a few weeks. The isolated duck seems happier if it can be near the rest of the flock.


    Good luck "people breaking" them. I have one duck who likes people. I got her from a family whose kids held her from day one. Even the ducks hatched by a very tame (chicken) hen are total neutrals about people. Ducks are kinda like that, it seems.

  18. Naturally polled: not necessarily a must. I have a couple of horned sheep. And horned cows. And a horned goat buck. Horns aren't that big of a deal, they just take different management. The only sheep I have who gets stuck in the field fence (bashing hotwire is a cullable offense around here) is a polled, stupid, old Coopworth ewe.


    Your best bet for finding sheep may be to fund [ETA: I meant find, but fund works, too] a shepherd who is raising sheep the way you plan to. Don't get hung up on purebreds. My ewes are a mix of North Country Cheviot, Blue Faced Leicester, Coopworth, Romney, Katahdin, Texel, East Freisian, Icelandic... Not all breeds in every ewe! I keep ewes who can raise big lambs on pretty poor feed, show great parasite resistance, can keep up walking down the road, and are easy to handle. Of course, my market is for custom lamb, so that's what I'm looking for.


    Donald is right- find a mentor. The first year, I called my sheep friend almost daily during lambing. Ten years later, we still help each other out & swap ideas.


    If you want sheep for working dogs, buy dog-broke sheep. Especially if you're a novice handler.


    If you really want wool, I'll reiterate about Romneys. They're not my personal favorite (although I like my Romney x ewes), but they're generally easy sheep. They were created to be. They're very weather hardy, good mothers, easy lambers. Mellow & good flocking instinct. Even the showy Romneys I've seen here are still decent sheep. Romneys are also widely available. I know several people who started with Romneys & then moved off once they learned the ropes (and one who still raises really nice, production Romneys).


    Around here (NW Washington), finding a shearer isn't so bad. My shearer is in his 20's- younger than I am. I can shear my own, and it's a valuable skill to have, but I'm so

    slow, I hire someone to do the whole flock.


    Hair sheep are also a good place to start. Katahdins have become widely available. Dorpers slightly less so, at least here, but they're out there. The hair sheep we've had have all been easy-care, hardy sheep. A few Kats have not been the best mothers, but most of them are excellent. The pure hair lambs tend to finish a bit smaller than what I'm looking for, but my Kat cross ewes are some of the best in my flock.


    If you really want registered sheep, go visit the breeder & look at their record keeping system. When I had Cotswolds, I visited one breeder & her record keeping was such a mess, I doubted the accuracy of the papers I got from her. There is also a lot of "hidden" cross breeding in "registered" sheep, as Julie says.


    If someone came to me looking for sheep & they had a list of questions, I'd be thrilled. Go buy sheep like you would a horse. Nearly, soundness, purpose. Of course, if sheep don't work out, it's easier to eat them :)


    Good luck & have fun!

  19. I used to have Cotswolds. I loved my ewes BUT the top knot must come off (a big no-no for show people). They went from wool-blind crazy for the dogto working like real sheep. I gave them up because they're so show bred, it was hard to find stock that fit with my program.


    Romneys, even show type, are kinda fool-proof. Generally.


    Everything Julie said bears repeating :)

  20. When I'm running Hoot at trials, that's not Nick doing a coyote impression in the handler's area. Oh no. Not my dog :) Yep, I have a howler.


    Interestingly, while Nick will howl with coyotes, he doesn't with wolves. On several occasions, we've been around a pack of captive/rescue/"domestic" wolves, and when they howl, my dogs go very, very quiet.

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