Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Divided Again

The Border collie is happy. The yearling ewes, not so much.
Through late winter and spring, I used the yearling ewes to practice herding. The yearlings stayed in their own pasture, separated from the older ewes, the llama, and later, the lambs.
They weren't always happy about it. Though they had a shelter and plenty of food, they wanted to be with the main flock.
They got their wish about a week ago when I decided the pastures could wait no more. In the spring, I try to delay mowing as long as possible so that the nesting birds can raise their young. By last week, the grass had grown so tall, it was devouring my young. I could no longer see the lambs. It was time to mow.
Our farm has six smaller pastures, a large pasture, paddocks, runs, and at least a dozen gates. When I mowed the yearling ewe pasture, I open a gate so they could go to the next pasture. Apparently, another gate was open that allowed them access to the flock of ewes and lambs.
They merged.
That meant no herding practice until we sorted the five yearlings from the flock.
Because young lambs are unpredictable and flighty, I wasn't looking forward to the project. So, we delayed it until this past weekend when we had to vaccinate the lambs and deworm the ewes. [Note: When doing this, we marked the lambs and ewes that we'd worked on with a red grease pencil on the forehead. Thus, the animals in the photos have grease pencil on their faces.]
So, Caeli and I have our practice sheep back, and Caeli is smiling again.

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