Monday, June 2, 2014
As you know, the dogs are teaching me a lot as I observe and learn from these highly specialized guardians.
The boys have been out with the sheep at night now for a few weeks and they seem to like it a lot. One night last week though, they would NOT be quiet. Here at the town farm, we don’t really have any real predators, aside from the occasional wandering dog or fox; not including owls of course. These don’t stick around long when faced with a few LGDs staring across an electrified fence. So when the boys bark at night it is usually brief.
But this night, they would NOT be quiet. At midnight I had reached the tolerance limit and out to the barn I went. However the boys were not in the barn. The sheep were in the barn, but the boys were barking at the feeder! I guessed at once what was going on. A lamb was stuck in the feeder! By the time I got to it, the boys had licked the lamb pretty thoroughly. I’m not sure if it was calm or traumatized, but it was quiet and let me extract it from the feeder without difficulty. It trotted off to the barn with the boys following slowly behind, and all was quiet for the rest of the night.
This last weekend I was hosting a campout at the Deep Creek ranch for our Boy Scout Troop. An annual event at a remote location without cell service. I had let the sheep into a “wildlife barrier” to graze the grass down.
Steph was at home and was talking with a friend on the back porch when she saw the boys herd all of the sheep out of this pasture and back into the main pasture. Moreover, they drove them into the far corner. Charro then stayed there with the flock while Chico ran back to the wildlife area. He went to a specific spot and Steph then saw that he had returned to a lamb who was crying loudly and caught in some loose fencing. She hurried out to find Chico sitting and licking the calmed lamb, with Charro keeping the flock tucked into the protected corner.
Steph said the boys seemed VERY pleased with their efforts; as they should be.
In both of these cases the lambs could have easily died. In fact, they likely WOULD have died. I have lost lambs to both of these scenarios in prior years. And of course it is never the lamb with bad conformation that gets caught in a fence, it is usually the prize ewe lambs of the season; as was the case this time. The loss of any lamb of course is sad, but the finances determine if you stay in business. The boys are 7 months old now and they have so far saved $1600 worth of lambs.
Sounds like chicken leg rewards tonight!