I think that sometimes the work that you need to do with your dogs tends to present itself as needed.  On the way home from work last night I stopped and got some alfalfa forage and goat minerals.  The plan was to separate the sheep from the goats, putting the goats up in the fenced-in area to consume the alfalfa and have access to their minerals.

Now, when I want the goats to stay with the sheep, they don’t; and of course when I want them to separate, they do not.  It took us a while to separate the goats from the sheep because both of my dogs are extremely insistent on keeping the group together.  I can see that this exercise, which is going to become a nightly occurrence is going to teach us all a lot.  Now, if it were the sheep we were trying to get into the fenced-in area, they’d have done it very happily.  Sheep are pigs when it comes to grain or special food and they knew there was special food in the fenced-in area that they should have been eating, not the goats.

By the time we got the stock separated, both dogs had their tongues on the ground.

I toyed with calling Marcus and telling him we were going to send the female goats back to him this weekend because I wasn’t sure I wanted to put the extra money into food for his goats, but I decided I might as well keep them for now and while I had them, make a concerted effort to use them for working.  Tonight is the auction and Wally is going to be on the lookout for a replacement billy.

Unfortunately, it appears that I am going to be butchering a sheep this weekend.  My St. Croix has a lump on her cheek that appears to be Caseous Lymphadenitis or CL. A bacteria called corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis causes CL. Apparently sheep are more prone to internal abscesses while goats are more prone to external abscesses. If an animal is experiencing chronic weight loss, it may be carrying internal CL abscesses on vital organs. This sheep has never looked good.  I bought her as a cull early last year or maybe the year before.  She did have a lamb this spring.  I discussed with Wally taking her to the auction tonight, but I won’t get much money for her.  She’ll end up being slaughtered and she likely won’t be treated kindly prior to slaughter.  It seems the kindest thing to do would be to shoot her and butcher her myself this weekend.  I won’t get much meat off her, but every little bit will help.  It is possible to rupture the lump, clean it and let it heal, but CL is quite contagious and I don’t want to risk infecting the rest of our sheep.  This ewe is rough on the dogs when she has lambs so I guess it’s best to just go ahead and cull her now.

I found a source for some free meat.  I spoke to the head butcher of a small store in downtown Charlotte.  They carry very high end (expensive!) meat and do all the cutting themselves.  They throw away about five pounds of trimmings a day.  I asked that they hold it for me.  It will be mostly fat, but Gel and the puppies can certainly use more fat in their diet.  Whenever I’m at the local Mexican meat market I get scraps from them as well.  I pick up the first batch of scraps tonight.  Hopefully it will be okay.  There will be some fish in there too.  So far, Kitty has eaten anything and everything I put in for her.  Once her sister comes, she should eat even better because of the competition her sister will provide.  Last night, Gel must have been really hungry because he was eating the pieces of rabbit I offered to him while I was cleaning and processing them.  Gel rarely eats rabbit, especially not pieces of rabbit.  He ate quite a bit, then went into the living room, threw it up and ate most of again.  Lovely …

I got read the riot act by Kitty’s breeder yesterday.  I told her how I took Kitty for a walk in the morning with the Border Collies and how when we went back to where the ElectroNet is set, Kitty went back in on her own and wouldn’t come out.  Her breeder said, “I’m not going to tell you what to do, but I’m going to.”  Apparently LGD become quite territorial and they like big territories.  If I introduce too much area to Kitty too early on, she’s likely to become a wanderer.  Also, if she decides she prefers to be with me and the Border Collies, I’ll have a big problem on my hands.  I need to keep her confined in a small area (which she is in the ElectroNet) and once she’s thoroughly bonded with the sheep and goats, I can gradually start to extend it.  Ideally I’d like to have Kitty and her sister guard the entire 15 acres my house sits on at night so that they’ll protect the poultry, cats and four-legged livestock.  That means I’ve got a bit more fencing to do to completely secure the 15 acres, but it’s almost done now.  So, for now, Kitty and soon her sister will remain in the ElectroNet.  I’m really glad Kitty’s breeder is willing to point out the err of my ways so I’ll do the right thing by these dogs.

Without her knowing I was doing so, I was watching Kitty this morning as she mingled with the goats and sheep.  She’s really starting to hang with them exclusively.  Early on, she would sleep in the thicket and the goats and sheep were sleeping elsewhere.  Now when the goats and sheep are lying down, Kitty is right there with them.  Good girl!

After the class on Tuesday night, I’ve become a bit disenchanted by my photography class.  There is not a lot of structure during class and instead of teaching us things, he spends a good amount of time off on tangents.  More than half the class was spent watching him use a very expensive tool to calibrateone of the monitors in class.  I’m sure for a professional photographer, monitor color is extremely important, but I am not going to spend $300 on a tool to calibrate my monitor.  I suppose if I wasn’t buying LGD puppies, sheep and goats, I’d have the free money, but I don’t.  We didn’t even look at the prints from the shots we took last week.  So what I’ve decided is to continue to take the class (of course), learn as much as a can, and not worry too much if I do not have all the shots I need for the week’s assignment.  I have already learned a lot and I think I’m getting my money’s worth, but I wish there was a bit more structure in the class.  This is the first time this class has been offered so I guess that’s understandable.  There’s a class offered in the next session that I’m interested in, but I think I’ll take a break and maybe take another class in the session after that.