I really wanted to train my dogs last night. I brought up some of my panels that were in the back pasture and was going to work with Gel on his driving, knowing if I worked him on my property that there would be some deadly draws that I would have to work around. This is something I’ve been avoiding doing because I think I hate loosing my sheep more than the dogs do; it’s a general feeling of being out of control and I hate it. I wanted to work with Fern on mini-outruns and flanks. I wanted to separate the goats from the sheep, but the goats in the fenced-in area and work Joe on them, just to see how he’d handle them. Chances are, he may not work them. I tried to get him to go around ducks last night, but he wasn’t interested. We had a bit of a melt down after we got back from our ATV run: he went into the fenced-in area and didn’t want to come to me. I had taken his long line off while I was running them on the ATV because I ran over it a few times while we were out there and I didn’t want to risk injuring him. We worked through it and I was able to get him to come to me. All in all, he’s doing well. This is his father, Whiterose Kep. Joe looks very, very much like his Dad. I talked to Wally last night and he said his pack dynamics have changed since Joe left. They do not seem to be quite so ramped up as they were when Joe was there. I can see how this would be. The energy that is surging through Joe is quite intense and if the other dogs are allowed to feed off that, it could become pretty rowdy over there. Mine know that sort of thing is not allowed. Either you settle down in the house or you go into a crate. I hope I can learn to harness Joe’s energy.
I wish I hadn’t upset his breeder when I had Kessie as I’d love to be able to ask her advice. Oh, well, I’ll figure it out. I guess that’s what makes you a dog trainer, figuring out different dogs and learning to work with them. Up until now, I didn’t have the patience to work with a difficult dog. I do not sense as much rabies vaccinosis in Joe as I did in Kessie. That may come out more the longer I am around him, but so far, I don’t see much.
Anyway, what I did instead of working dogs was process rabbits. Fun, huh? I process at least 40 pounds of rabbit every two weeks, lately it’s been more like 60 pounds. I got a text message from the man who is hunting deer for me saying he was going out that afternoon, but no deer delivered. Bummer, I could use the meat. Now that I have Kitty and Rose, I am throwing away very little of the rabbit as they think rabbit guts are pretty tasty. You should see them go for them! Nasty! Lots of good vitamins there though and if they’ll eat it, great. Tonight everyone will get beef heart and kidney.
Speaking of vitamins, I took some salmon oil capsules this morning in an attempt to alleviate my itchy skin symptoms. The omega fatty acids in salmon oil are anti-inflammatory. Maybe it will help. I’m taking mega-doses of vitamin B complex in an attempt to make myself less attractive to bugs. I told Wally last night that next year I’m going to start wearing a body condom when I go out to keep the bugs from biting me and to keep myself from coming in contact with poison oak or ivy. I have a spot of poison oak on my belly. How in the world did I get poison oak on my belly???
Last night, I got an e-mail from the man I sold Midge (Fern’s mother) to. He wrote to say that he’s very much enjoying her and that he’s never worked with a nicer dog. I was incredibly thrilled to get that e-mail.
Regarding rocket science. Yesterday, I posted on the Border Collie Boards a response to this post. My research on Cydectin indicated that it should not be used in pregnant animals. Apparently it is safe, but I still worry about going against the label on the wormer which clearly states it hasn’t been tested on pregnant animals. Anyway, the discussion went on about worming, etc. What irritated me was the last paragraph of this post, namely the: “If you don’t understand the theory behind FAMACHA, you can cause a great deal of needless suffering and death.” FAMACHA is a system that farmers can use to decide if an animal is carrying a dangerous load of Barber Pole Worms. You use a chart to decide what score the animal is. If it is a one or two, you don’t worm; three is questionable; if it is four or five, you worm. The theory doesn’t seem so difficult to me. You cannot get a FAMACHA chart unless you attend a workshop. I’d like to attend a workshop, but looking at the schedule here, it doesn’t seem like there are any coming up in the future, either that or whomever is maintaining this web site isn’t doing a good job of it. I’ve tried to contact the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service, but to date, haven’t been able to get anyone to return my calls or e-mails. So, until then, I’m going to continue using my base understanding of using FAMACHA, inspect my animals and if I feel they need to be wormed, I will worm them. It seems to me that consistently worming my entire flock is going to cause more “needless suffering and death” (because ultimately worms are going to become resistant to all chemical wormers) than doing what I’m doing now will. In addition, even though I’ve had a few instances of bottle jaw in my sheep, I have yet to loose a lamb. The goat I lost recently was the first goat I lost and given the condition those goats were in when I got them, it’s no surprise to me that I lost one.
I am still going to explore use of alternative wormers such as garlic, copper wire particles, etc. in an effort to get away from chemical wormers altogether.