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What work are your dogs doing now?


Denise Wall
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I thought it might be interesting to see what people are using their dogs for right now.

 

For example, 23 of my 26 commercial whiteface wool ewes have lambed (the other three aren't bred). I have 60 or so total sheep right now and the flock is worked mostly as a whole, needing foot trimming because of the extreme wet conditions we're having this year and frequent worming because of the same and because I don't have much land. I have plenty of good grass but I'm separating some sheep out for supplemental feeding. Soon, I'll need to vaccinate the lambs and although the ewes have been sheared, I'll probably start shearing some of the lambs as needed so they'll keep putting weight on properly.

 

Of course, mine is not a big operation but this is providing some pretty good work for the dogs. They've been used mostly in pens and chutes, for sorting, and for holding sheep off grain while I feed. Also, because the sheep are spread out in the fields and the lambs keep the ewes from quickly flocking and coming up when I gather (in fact, they're quite heavy), the dogs have been having to scope the field more, being careful to find all of the sheep and sometimes take look back commands. This has improved both their gather and their ability to take commands on the gather. In general, handling the ewes and lambs right after they're born and as they grow, has improved the dogs' balance and patience.

 

I've really enjoyed this lambing season, the work it provides, and observing the progress and varied abilities in the dogs. What are you doing with your dogs?

 

Denise

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Pretty much the same stuff, though i'll also need to catch an occasional lamb for individual treatments, like for diarrhea or some such. We do lots of sorting and just working over the flock to check for problems. I lambed out 18 ewes, had 14 more yearling ewes that weren't bred and ended up with 29 lambs, so it's quite the flock these days, for me at least. I sold off 12 of the ewes last night and separated the others off for weaning, so it'll be a nice challenge on the dogs to work the lambs around for a few days. They'll be breaking here there and everywhere i'm sure. Good for the dogs' balance.

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Alot of the same for me too, have my 50 lambs that I had in Dec, Jan..just finished their CL, and covexin shots...did feet on my 35 yearling ewes from last year and they are also lambing as we speak. Sent my last 6 old ewes to market yesterday and so far only one of the 50 lambs has come up with the CL lesions, and not one of my yearlings has it...so hopefully I have a bit of a handle on it..I know I have culled 150 sheep in the whole process...Mostly though, my dogs have gone back on couch patrol as I am taking dogs in again for the next two months before I have to start boning up for the finals...I cant believe how bad the bugs are out right now with all the rain we have had, but at least I have grass this year!

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