Calves and Goats and Sheep

If you had told me a year ago that I’d have such an assortment of livestock I wouldn’t have believed you.  I am so enjoying having the calves.  I worked both Fern and Gel on them this morning and both did quite well.  Fern finally connected with a heel this morning.  Up until now she’d wear along behind the calves with her mouth opening and closing like a guppy.  She’ll heel sheep (and the chickens!) to keep them tucked in; but I think she wasn’t quite confident enough to grip a cow.  I don’t blame her.  When she heeled, she got kicked at, but she ducked.  That’s good, now she knows they kick and she’ll watch out for that.  Those three heifers have become quite dog-broke and are to the point where they work very nicely.  I spoke to the ghost-that-is-Marcus very briefly this morning.  He had been out working since 6:30 AM and when I spoke to him he was working on programming the computer that ran an irrigation system at a local bank and it wasn’t going well so he was distracted.  He said he’s put up close to 1,000 bales of hay already.  I see now why he’s a ghost and I’ve learned to accept that he is going to be elusive at times and I’ll take what I can get when I can get it.  He could bring me roses, but instead he brings me calves, compost, hay and hopefully this week ten goat kids.  He is going to take back four to six of nannies and I’m going to buy what he doesn’t want to keep.  That should help put meat in my freezer.

Except for putting a lie down on her and growling at her when she excessively circles stock or crosses in front of me, I haven’t done much structured training with her (i.e. teaching her flanks).  I am simply letting the work train the dog.  She mimics what Gel does quite a bit and since Gel doesn’t have any particularly bad habits, I’m letting her continue to do so.  This morning I let her work the cattle on her own, leaving Gel in a lie down near the gate to bail her out if need be.  It will be good to have the goats to work her on because I would rather she wasn’t kicked by a cow at her age.  She’s a bit sticky which I need to work on so the next command I’ll work on is “get up.”  Ten goat kids should give her plenty of action to free her up.  The good thing about goat kids is that they don’t jump or roll over fences or run into fences like sheep can (and do!).  I will actually be glad when those black headed Dorpers go to Wally’s house.  They are a pain in the butt to work.  Every night now I use Fern to put up the ducks (Gel is happy with that arrangement).  I purposely shuffle stock around or let them escape and go into different areas so I can use Fern (and if necessary Gel) to put them back up.  Fern is learning the ropes.  She has lovely square flanks, but she also has a nice straight walk-up.  I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble with her driving.

Gosh, thinking back two years ago now when I first got the goat kids from Wally and then where we are now; we’ve come a long way.  It will be nice to go back to goats.