Jump to content
BC Boards

Non-dog broke sheep for a young dog


Maja
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am planning to change my flock of overdogged sheep, and I would like to buy new sheep from a farmer that has no sheepdogs. My friend tells me it will be too hard for my now 14 month old Bonnie. I have her mother of course so if it is way over Bonnie's head Kelly can dog-break them.

 

However, I remember when the Cameroons were not dog broke, and it seems that then the biggest problem was me not knowing how to handle the situation. Now, three years down the road, I think I can manage the situation much better, and I think Bonnie can handle it (I maybe mistaken, but I think she knows how to read sheep), with the possibility of getting help form her mother if necessary or even borrowing a couple of dog-broke sheep to temporarily add to the flock. But I thought that it would be useful experience for her, and that she'd learn a lot.

 

Am I off my bean to have such a plan?

 

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unbroke sheep are a great learning experience for the dogs. Just let your youngster balance them to you and learn good sheep sense on her own. I think unbroke sheep are the best learning experience a started dog can get. If they're too wild for her, get into a smaller area and let her use her brain to break them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

jdarling,

Thank you for your answer. Yes. The same ones. They not easy to move, but they are flighty. The stand about and try to ignore the dog and then zoooom! Gone! Hence, I was saying over six months ago why six months ago Bonnie was jumpy - they looked like they'd stay put, but they weren't fooling Bonnie. I remember the discussion and the vid was in a securely closed area were the sheep had nowhere to run, so they were behaving. They are not dumb. Anyhow, that's not a problem now. Bonnie has had that under control for quite a while. I have problem with outruns, because they know away and come-by, they start towards me as soon as I send the dog - they know the routine.

 

They are over-dogged, they are over-peopled. I think. I want to change them. I have worked on many other sheep with Bonnie, and the others were much easier to work with.

 

Robin,

Thank you for your opinion. I have a very good training area well closed in and round, if needed, and a pile of confidence in Bonnie :).

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was advised here earlier to change sheep, but the breeding flock was put together not without difficulty and there was some strong opposition to the on the home front. Things changed though after the ram butted me and one of the ewes died and some back problems increased, so instead of the fuss with replacements, we will just sell the whole lot and get a smaller woolly breed. Since they are going to be smaller we will be able to keep more of them, which is also better.

 

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with Robin on the great learning experience of new sheep.

 

Sometimes I think we over think things for the dog. Trying to make it all good instead of letting them learn in real life situations.

Nothing worse IMO than really dog broke sheep that take off for your knees when they see a dog. I hate to admit but I'm not at all friendly when my sheep come towards my knees. I have been known to bop a sheep across the nose if they come to close to me. I'm not "hurting" them but def. making them think twice that my knees are where I don't want them to be. I also try not to just fetch them to me. As soon as possible I try and turn our fetches into drives, that way sheep aren't stopping at my knees.

 

Nothing better IMO than after getting a bit of a handle on a young dog, working them on non dog broke sheep. It's a real learning experience for the dog(and sometimes me). Specially if I have a trained dog to keep things from getting away from the younger dog. Like if they take off for the hills and it could turn into a chase, my older dog will catch the sheep and stop things before the young dog gets in over it's head.

 

I say go for the new sheep!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

bcnewe,

I agree with you. I feel like I can make her do what she needs to do, but sometimes she does not see the purpose of it, and she needs to think.

 

I don't mind accidentally getting bumped when the dog is just beginning like Bonnie was last summer and being too pushy. But sneaking up on me and ramming on purpose that's another thing. I turned away to give Bonnie a command and whaaam! I am on the ground. Luckily it was only a bruise on the thigh.

 

So I am glad you like my idea. So now if the guy who was supposed to make us a sheep trailer before Christmas would actually get to work, I could go tomorrow :) .

 

I don't know really what the lamb market is like. Cameroons are a sort of "fancy sheep" like "fancy poultry". So their market is governed by different conditions than the regular meet lamb market.

 

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I knew what you meant about the ram. They can be real nasty at some points. I had one get me down in a stall. You quickly learn not to turn your back on them.

Mick is a dog that (I didn't train him to do this) will never let something come at me. He never had to be taught to not run sheep over me either. I've seen him turn and correct anything that was coming at me with the intent to whomp me. Dogs, rams or mean ewes and cattle.

I don't think all dogs have this behavior in them, or at least Dew doesn't seem to worry about me in the same manner. Maybe it comes with age and knowing their work. She respects my space but doesn't seem to be over zealous with protecting me.

 

Right now it seems like even cull sheep are bringing specialty sheep pricing. Very nice for a change.

What type woolies are you going to get?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I googled them as I've never heard of them. Darn...they look like regular sheep till you see a picture of them standing next to a dog or human. I should hope Bonnie doesn't have confidence issues with these. I didn't read much about them. Do they act like regular sheep? Flocking instinct good? Really cute sheep!

Are you a spinner?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bonnie does not have confidence issues with sheep of any size :) , she goes into a tight pen with the ornery MacPherson and gets the sheep out no matter what. The other day her brother was trying to get them out and they took a stand, and by the time Bonnie got to them, they are there to stay (or so they thought) and Macpherson ready to defend his ladies. But she got them out.

 

Bonnie only has a confidence issue with me. Which is my fault. She worries if I am not happy. Which is why I can't yell or wave a stick at the sheep or chase them away so they don't have the drive to come to me so much. I am hoping that in the upcoming clinic with Derek he will give me additional advice hot o do it, because I think I could turn this into a real asset.

 

The flocking instinct is good I think. I was asking about them and I found a couple of movies with them which I put here (the very last movie):

http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?showtopic=30370

 

I am not a spinner (yet :) ). I want to start with felting. I need lots of dog blankets, puppy blankets, and I am planning to start with felting, and slowly learn how to do other things.

 

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a question way over my head right now :D . I have yet to read up on all that stuff. But the site says this:

 

http://www.sheep101.info/breedsO-P.html

 

"The average thickness of their wool is 27 to 28 microns. It is suitable for fine knitting yarns and soft weaving yarns."

 

I hope it helps. I know they were raised for wool.

 

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, so after I set my heart on ouessants, I got a good offer for my flock of Cameroons, so we sold them (Tuesday we are going to deliver them) . But there are no ouessants now available. Not wanting to rush into this rare breed and wanting time to collect high quality stock, we bought three young lambs to tide us over from a Berrichon du cher sire. They are soft and fuzzy like big pillows and heavy like the dickens, though they are only 2-3 months now. Haven't seen a dog in their life. My DH likes them so much he wants to buy a couple more. We have a business plan for them :D .

 

I will post pictures tomorrow. Today was too dark by the time we came home.

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So here are our pillows:

 

P16506601.jpg

 

P16506551.jpg

 

P16506521.jpg

 

They have no fear of dogs. They fear people and move away from them. They want to go everywhere but where the dog wants them to. They find good places to make a stand and butt. I think they are great :D .

 

In the autumn, I can get a dollar a pound at the butcher's for them on the hoof, and a lot more if I sell meat as a farm product in direct sale. But the butcher will be a good back up plan so that we don't get stuck with these big things for winter feeding. They are 2-3 month old and weigh around 40 lb. the should be well over 100lb by autumn.

 

 

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Tada! Tada! I just wanted to thank everybody for the advice. It was very good! So here we are a week and a half into the new sheep venture; we don't herd much because it's too cold, just a few minutes now and then. But the sheep are gradually getting the idea that I am the lesser of two "weevils."

 

 

After 35" we begin low gear practice on driving and fetching, but not on flanks. The distance is not very big because we are practicing on a fairly small fenced area. I also observed an interesting thing: often a fence is a pressure point as it was always with the Cameroonians, and Bonnie always was off to the side a bit. But these sheep are a bit of fence huggers and the fence is a draw instead, so Bonnie walks them right behind them or even leaning slightly into the fence.

 

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

A new but related question

 

Bonnie is now 18 months old. I have a farmer about 4 miles from where I live who has sheep. So I asked him if I could come and work his sheep and he agreed.

 

It's flock of ewes with quite a few little ones. About 20-25 sheep. They are a bit shy of strangers (but only a bit) and very aggressive towards the dog. The area where they are fenced in allows an OK distance but not very big.

 

So Bonnie and I tried to work them. As I said they were very aggressive, charging repeatedly, and taking runs at it. Bonnie persevered, and towards the end Bonnie managed to turn a few ewes and move the flock, but fetch was too difficult, so we did only some driving. Most of the work though was really dealing with the charging mommas. Since the area does not allow Bonnie to go out farther and out to their flight bubble (it seems to me that with charging sheep putting the dog way out allows to move them very nicely sometimes) it makes things more difficult - I can't give her a breather and put her way out and give success.

 

So my question is, is it worth going back there or would it do more damage than good to go back? And if it makes sense to go back what is the best thing to do? Sometimes things look bad in the beginning and then they improve very quickly, so I don't know here what to do. The lambs we had bought in Feb, also looked pretty wild in the beginning and then in two-three weeks they are just a flock of pansies and Bonnie had no trouble with them.

 

I will be grateful for your input.

Maja

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You were seeing typical behavior of protective ewes and their lambs. The fact that you got behind the sheep and helped Bonnie was a good thing. But ewes with relatively new lambs are not the best thing to work inexperienced dogs on, unless you are willing and able to back your dog up AND your dog isn't the sort to be turned off by attacking sheep.

 

Does the farmer have a way to sort some sheep off? If so, I would remove the worst of the protective ewes and work just those who aren't trying to kill the dog.

 

It's quite likely that if Bonnie had enough space to get far enough away to stop the charging that she would also be so far off as to not be able to move the sheep at all.

 

I would stick with the driving for now so you can be on the same side of the sheep to back Bonnie up, but much depends on her attitude and how much you think she can take from attacking ewes before it adversely affects her.

 

I have nothing but ewes and lambs here right now, but the lambs are about 10 weeks old now and the ewes are much less protective of them. If I had to move sheep when the lambs were younger, I used my experienced dogs. I will work Ranger on them now, but I would not have done so when the ewes were still in attack mode because I think it would have overfaced him.

 

J.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...