Finally I’m starting to see some progress in Split. It’s taken a long, long time and she’s still a long way away from being a reliable working dog (i.e. one that is working with her head vs. adrenaline), but she’s getting there. It’s simply a matter of getting time into her, which has been hard because I don’t have proper stock for her to work on. In another week or so, Fennel’s babies will be mature enough to use for a little bit of work. The problem is getting the babies separated from their mothers. Because there was snow forecast, I brought the sheep down to the poultry pasture Tuesday morning and all and all, it went fine. The mothers are not challenging Gel and the babies are keeping up quite well. If we do not have any new babies in the next couple of days, I might be able to do a little bit of light sheep work with Split over the weekend.
As Wally has said numerous times, we’d be hard pressed to find another one as good as she is and he’s right. All she needs is time to mature and direction.
We decided to go ahead and breed her on this heat cycle. Yes, a planned litter this time. I want to try one more time to get a puppy or two off Gel and I felt this would be a good cross. I have two puppies sold from the pending litter and interest in a couple more so I’m not too concerned about finding homes for the remaining puppies. If all goes well, the puppies will be due April 23 and Split will be spayed before her next heat cycle. It’s actually kind of a relief to have the litter coming and to not care about what anyone says about it or feeling the need to do genetic tests, entering competitions to obtain stupid titles or anything else to make the puppies more marketable. I’ll raise the puppies to the best of my ability, find them good homes and that’s the way it is.
Another dog who has shown great improvement is Rose. I think we can finally say that she is a useful member of Spellcast Farm. We’ve been leaving her loose at night to patrol and that has resulted in a lot less barking and a more settled dog. These livestock guardians really need large areas to patrol, much larger than many of them are given, ours included. Sort of like how Border Collies get out of hand if they are not given proper exercise and training, livestock guard dogs need to do their job or else they can get into as much trouble as a Border Collie. Allowing Rose access to all of the property at night is helping to keep critters away from not only the goats, but the poultry and cats as well.
Liath continues to do well, but sheep are not her ideal pasture mates and she is kept in an area that is smaller than what she’d like to be able to patrol. I’m toying with going up to the dairy to see if there are any bull calves available. We have plenty of milk right now and the intention is to get the next cow early enough so that we can get it to butchering size before we have kids or lambs on the ground. I know Liath would love to have another cow to chum with so it may be a good time to go ahead and get a calf.
Until later …