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HELP we need to round uo our sheep !!
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Leonie



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 731
Location: West Sussex
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 05 3:54 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

Kiwi, do you not have any neighbours with a well trained sheep dog who would be willing to help?

kiwi



Joined: 12 Sep 2005
Posts: 73
Location: new zealand
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 05 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi

well we put an ad in the paper and a man came round this morning with 2 dogs and did a fabulous job of rounding the little darlings up, unfortunately no sooner had he pulled off the drive than they were out again - we've got 6 wire fence with 2 wires electric and it is all good tight wire as well god alone only knows how the ram managed to squeeze through but we have decided they are obviously happier down the end and to leave well alone for the time being and just pop down to check on them each day - they are a semi feral breed so guess this could explain there desire to be free

kiwi



Joined: 12 Sep 2005
Posts: 73
Location: new zealand
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 05 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi

quick update!! had a phone call from a man last night whose friend had told him about our plea for help!!
anyway to cut a long story short he has offered to look at our dog and see if he can train me to train him to do the job so we don't have to really on other people all the time which is a good idea I guess.
mind you being a kiwi bloke he'll probably have a fit when he finds out the dog lives indoors so that will be a black mark straight away

gil
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 18377

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 05 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Might be worth observing your flock's natural movements through the day - where do they graze at various times; have they got a routine going; do they move around all together or split into smaller groups ?

How docile and easily worked with you need your sheep really depends on how often you wnat to round them up, and with what aim ? You've mentioned clipping (might be worth getting a solo shearer in to do this for you, but you'll need to catch them and bring them in); you also need to check their feet close up [though again, semi-feral probably less likely to suffer from foot problems], maybe dip or check for fly attack - dunno what conditions are like where you are, or whether you want to go organic. Also, are you planning to eat the lambs, expand your flock, or sell them as breeding stock ?

Maybe get them used to being worked with, and to the dog, even if it's only from one open field area to another. Perhaps according to where they'd be going anyway. Best times of day to do this with hill (and hence, perhaps, semi-feral) sheep are early morning and afternoon/dusk, which is when they tend to move of their own accord.

I take it they haven't shown signs of wanting to escape onto your neighbours' land ? (yet....)

My friend's son decided he wanted some sheep of his own to start a small breeding flock. He now has one Scottish Blackface ram lamb and three ewe lambs (orphans). All very cute until they were fully weaned. Then, led by the ram, they started escaping from the inbye paddock into other fields on the farm. Now they're going further, onto other folk's land, and his parents are a bit tired of phone calls asking them to come and collect his runaway lambs. I'm sure yours are much better behaved : Blackies are pretty notorious for this.

Are the ewes already in lamb ? If they are semi-feral, they will probably lamb easily. Lambing might be a good time to intensify handling, as ewes are more tractable and will follow if you can get hold of the lambs soon after birth.

If the ewes are already in lamb, get the ram caught, and penned up inbye for a couple of weeks, possibly in a shed, and feed him, so he becomes more amenable. The ram is usually the ringleader in any breakout. Or the 'boss' ewe. And then the rest follow (like sheep).

Whilst family groups are more 'natural', tups are often kept separate from ewes and lambs, unless you really don't have much ground. And they need the company of other tups, so if you go down this route, you might need to get him a pal of the same breed (which you could possily hire out at tupping time, as you don't need 2 tups for the number of ewes you've got).

Horned sheep : don't feed them wearing rigger boots or anything with loops in. They'll get their horns into the loops and trip you up to get at the feed. But the horns can be useful as handles to manoeuvre them around

Have you considered splitting your holding into smaller paddocks (perhaps starting from the far end) ? 4 paddocks of 9 acres (or whatever you decide, given how you might want to use the land longer-term) would be a lot easier. And a handling area / pen. See Dougal and Rob's useful earlier posts for tips.

Hope it goes well. Good luck with training your dog. Let us know how you get on.

kiwi



Joined: 12 Sep 2005
Posts: 73
Location: new zealand
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 05 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi Gil

thks for the reply, funnily enough we were only talking last night about drawing up a proper plan of the land and mapping it out, our main problem is really the horses that lease the land as they have a tendency to knock things down(including fencing wires!) and they do have the run of most of the land. I think we would have to hire in a fencing contracter to really sort it all out, luckily the boundary fence at the back is good and the right hand side is deer fenced the left hand side leaves a lot to be desired but there is a stream boundary with a steep drop before getting to the neighbours so they seem content to stay where they are at the moment.
at present we can't afford to take the horses off as its a small guaranteed income that really helps out, once we have it all planned will try and contain them to a definite area as they also have access to a big 3 bay hay barn which they seem intent on kicking at various times (we could really benefit from using this ) so may get their owner to fix up a temporary fence to give us access to this.
Andy has just finished a fencing course so we have more of an idea now about what is required but its all a long haul !!
in answer to the question about the ewes - they should already be in lamb so we have invested in some sheep nuts and will keep approaching and gradually gain their trust (apparantly they are supposed to be easily caught and handled!! we have also got 2 pet lambs now and we can walk them on a lead so might be worth wandering down with them as well.
well thks once again for the tips and I'll keep you posted.

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