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Monday, March 30, 2009

New Lamb Pix!

Came home tonight, and Brownie (the ewe that had the triplets that was coming up with some paralysis) was on her feet! Not quite steady yet, but is readily walking from one end of the round pen to the other to come get food, etc. It's nice to see her up!

I went out to feed and brought my camera. I could stand there and watch the lambs all day.

And here's Brownie and the ewe lamb that has stuck with her through it all.

Happy tails!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

By golly ... a BONANZA!

B COURSE BONANZA! <---- Read that first

When I saw that ... I thought, "Finally! They are finally promoting the only course in their entire program that requires some level of real training. Good for them!"

Then I see all the complaints on the internet about it! First I saw someone saying that their dogs are eligible to compete in this, but they weren't invited! I don't see that this is an invitational. It's a competition you enter just like every other trial.

Then there are people who are taking this as a personal kick in the face. They are insulted! How dare the AKC do this! They are celebrating the AKC herding program, and they are not including the A Course?? It's an outrage! Well, I am sure my response to this isn't going to be the popular one, but ... train your dogs. The A course is basically pushing sheep around the arena along the fenceline, and then doing a "controlled escape" for a "crossdrive." Seriously, if you feel the B Course is dominated by Border Collies, do something about it. Instead of breeding for the "Versatile" dog ... that can "do it all" ... and look pretty standing in the arena ... and can do agility and tracking and whatever other doggie sport you're "breeding" for ... try changing that up a bit for a few generations and see what happens to the natural ability in your dogs. Focus on working ability. Objectively. Raise the bar. Breed only GOOD working dogs to GOOD working dogs. Not mediocre ones. You know what I mean. I don't think I need to explain this. Put working ability first. If the dogs don't work well, do not consider breeding to them. If they have what you want in working ability, THEN look at temperament ... or whatever other secondary criteria you want, but put working ability first.

And then there's the training and finding a good trainer. Finding a good trainer is key, really. Does the trainer you're going to have a LOT of success in the venue you're wishing to compete it (or better one)? If the answer is no, it's time to find another trainer. Plain and simple. If all your trainer does is pay lip service to everyone around them, go elsewhere.

When you're doing this ... and you and your dogs are still not able to be competitive on the B course with all those evil Border Collies, let's talk. But for now, I am disappointed to see people whining about the AKC putting on an event that would raise the bar a little.

All herding breeds can handle B course. It just depends on how badly you want it. That's all.

Happy tails,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Crash Course in Lambing

Last night, just before bed, I noticed one of the only three pregnant ewes with some gook stuff hanging out of her butt. So I jugged her, fed her, gave her clean water, dry straw, and left the jugs to the left and right of her open and went to bed.

I woke up this morning, and that ewe had had twins -- two ewe lambs. The jug next to her had one of the other ewes in it -- and she had ewe twin lambs also. One alive and one dead.

Off to the side in one of the large pens is my big, giant fat ewe. She was obviously in labor. About 10 feet away from her, standing in the morning mist, is her first little ewe lamb. White. Upon further inspection of momma, I see she's got a head sticking out of her butt. Just the head.


I grab my gloves, and do a more physical inspection. No hooves sticking out. I dial Janie. Moral support. I try shoving the lamb's head back in so I can fish around for a hoof. No go. She is pushing quite hard against me. I have no idea who long she has been attempting to pass this lamb. I am having no luck. I hang up with Janie, and try again. I've determined the lamb is dead so I am just pulling down on the head as much as I can. No go. I am really not sure what to do now, but I do not want to lose my ewe. I call Dianne. She convinced me basically to just make my hand fit in there. I hang up with her, and I pull the head out as far as I can, force my hand up in her canal, and grab whatever I found. It turns out it was a hoof. Pulled the hoof out a bit, and the other hoof came with it. Yay. Pulled down on all of it, and out came a black lamb.

And it took a breath!

Wow! I was shocked. I thought for sure it was dead. Tongue out and all. Anyway, momma cleaned it up for the most part. But momma was still not getting up off the ground.

I looked at her again, and wasn't sure what was black sticking out of her butt. it was a head. Oh good grief! Triplets! Went over and pulled that one out with very little effort, and it was, in fact, dead.

Mom still wasn't getting up. Waited a while, to no avail. Tried to help her up and around ... that wasn't working. She can't get her legs underneath her. The white lamb was still nursing off her. I had to go to work. My sister bottle fed the black lamb a couple of times through the day. When I got home from work, there wasn't much progress with the ewe standing or using her rear legs. We got some steroids and anti-inflammatory from a very much appreciated (unnamed) friend (thank you!) and Janie brought them by and administered them. We tried to get the ewe up and walking, and while there was a little progress, it wasn't much. Janie and I then caught the ram lambs from last week and made them wethers. (I already docked all those tails a few days ago.) I then docked the tails of the three healthier lambs that were born yesterday while Janie bottle-fed Fatty's little black ewe lamb, we got everyone fed, and relaxed for the evening. Later on in the night, I brought the black lamb in, fed it, and bedded it down in a straw-lined crate.

Got up this morning early and fed that little black lamb and put her back outside with her momma. Momma is still not doing well. She is still unable to get fully up on her back end and there appears to be some nerve damage or something. I'm bummed. I don't like the implication. I've had her since she was a lamb. She was one of my first sheep. The white lamb was busy nursing from her when I got out there, and the black one was quickly head butted by mom when she got close. I left her out there anyway. Everyone is now laying down quietly ... mom with the white lamb in her crook, and the black lamb about 3' feet away curled up in a ball.

I'll have to get some photos later.


Monday, March 23, 2009

What's in a name?

So Katy and I spent the weekend out at the house in Greenleaf. We were calling it, "The Sheep Shack," but now that it's furnished with Katy's mom's furniture, some of which are lovely antiques, we cannot call it the Shack. We will be re-naming it as soon as we think of something more ... fitting.

Saturday morning, we went to Dianne's for a lesson. I think we both learned a lot. I know I did. I also took some photos of Dianne's Scottie lambs. If you think MY lambs are cute, they ain't got nuthin' on the Scottie babies.

Dad with a couple of his boys.

Mom giving some sound advice.

Isn't he gorgeous?

Even the moms are stunning...

Here are some pictures of Dianne's puppy, May ... (or is it Mae?)

The "volunteers" ...

Zip checkin' things out...

Back at the ranch, we had a very relaxing weekend, didn't accomplish anything on Saturday, ate good and slept well. Took a few pictures.

And, here's of course, Ms. Echo Monster.

It rained on and off all weekend, so I didn't get as many photos as I would have liked. There's always next weekend.

Sunday, we got up, putzed around the ranch for a bit, went to lunch with Janie, came back to the ranch where we met up with Eric. Eric was measuring and preparing windows to replace, while Katy and I did some cleanup work in the "front" part of the house. Little by little, and this place is going to be a real gem. I'm excited!

Happy tails,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pepe's Second Wife

Being that Penny ("Penelope Pussycat") was born earlier in the week, I guess this one will be called Nickle.

Happy tails,

Leapin' Lambies!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chip Off the Old Block

Meet "Chip" ...

... as in "Bargaining Chip." Janie has the lil' lambie I want. She's another wife of Pepe the Polygamist. And Janie loves these black-headed Dorpers.

Here's Chip's sister, Nanny (looks like a goat, doesn't it?)

Justin loves these little lambs.


I had taken a beer, a blanket and both of my camera out to the pasture to catch some photos. My son grabbed the camera and took some shots.

Here's Zip ... so brave ...

"Yup, that's right fatties ... move it along! Move it along!"

"I am here, so you'd better cooperate. I am big tough dog and what I say goes."

"Oh don't even think about it ... you'll be sorry!"

"Don't do it ... I'll have to break out my can of whoop ass on ya!"

"Hey! I said knock that off! You can't do that! I am Mr. Big Bad Sheepdog!"

"Ha ... take that ... yeah yeah ... I'm tough..."

"See my big flat tennis ball teeth? Aren't they pretty?"

Happy tails,