Lambing Dog

Gel is becoming a very useful lambing dog.  I’ve always used him when I had to work with ewes and lambs because he was the only dog I had who could do the job, but this year, I can see that he’s finally become very good at the job.

We lost a lamb on Saturday and another one yesterday morning.  I met Wally at his house yesterday afternoon to take a close look at all of the ewes and lambs to see if there was any issues that we could see.  We know who the lamb who died on Saturday belonged to: one of the black-headed “Mexican Jumping Bean Sheep.”  She’s a first time mother so it isn’t a big deal that she lost the one lamb, but Wally thought that she wasn’t nursing the one that she had remaining so we needed to see if this was true or not.  The lamb seems fine and we did see her nurse from her mother as well as another young black-headed ewe.  The mother was looking a bit underweight, but her eyelid color is okay and she is eating so hopefully she’ll be okay.

We don’t know who the lamb who died yesterday belonged to.  Wally and I were going to be better about tagging and marking the lambs when they were born, but alas, we didn’t do it.  Maybe next year.

We could have brought the ewes and lambs into the barn and checked them over, but the light isn’t very good in there so I had Gel bring them into a small paddock in the full sun.  It was still pretty cold yesterday so being in the full sun was ideal.

One of the dog-broke Dorpers that I bought a few years ago tried to run Gel around a bit, but he managed to stay out of her way all the while keeping her in the paddock and not allowing the others to escape.  An older black-headed Dorper charged him a couple of times, but gave that up quickly.  Not once did Gel connect with his teeth.  I don’t have to say anything to him when we are holding sheep in an area for inspection.  He knows he needs to keep them in place and does his job while we do ours.  A few lambs tried to run out, but he gently pushed them back in.

After we were through I used Gel to keep the sheep off me when I fed them grain.  He loves that job!

The most important thing that I saw yesterday was that his tail was in a better position than it has been in the past.  Often when doing tense work like this, his tail would be up, almost level with his back, but yesterday, it was down for the most part.

Gel is growing up, maturing and relaxing in his job.

Now I need to think about which dog to start to train up to back him up if needed.  I don’t know that Cian is going to be able to do the job, but Fern should be able to.  I won’t put Fern on ewes and lambs for another year or so.  No sense in putting her in that type of tense situation until she’s a bit older.  I didn’t have a choice with Gel as he was the only dog I had.

As I write this, Cian and Fern are out in a run and Gel is at my feet.  I already took them for a run and unfortunately, Cian broke a toe nail this morning.  The ground is very hard.

I’m still in organization and cleaning mode.  I went through my office yesterday and cleaned a lot of extra stuff out.  I have several bags of trash and one for Goodwill to take out.  It’s been a good experience getting this done.  I work tomorrow 9:30 to 5:30 and am off Saturday and Sunday.  Not sure what’s up for this weekend yet.