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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tending our new flock

Finally, after a couple of years our little barn is built, the fence is up and I finally have my sheep with me at my farm, Amblecroft, in Millbrook, Ontario.  After many lambs, rams and ewes, comings and goings, they are not the same little flock I started with many years ago but we are happy to have the herd back with us.   

The Pyr Sheps were thrilled with their return.  The little Basque Chicks (Euskal Oiloa) we have  have been hatching out all Spring have been amusing the dogs but the job of "shepherd" seems to lose some importance when one is not working with real, live sheep.

We have built a small fenced yard for the sheep but we take them out of the yard every day, sometimes twice a day, to graze the different nooks and crannies of the 10 acre property.  They have proven to be useful for trimming the trees, eating poison ivy and have their job cut out for them to keep up with the vegetation growth!   With the help of the dogs I hope to keep them out of my flower bed and veggie garden.   The Basque Chicks still think they should be part of the daily walk-about and continue to join us.  They don't like to be left out of anything!

{The imaginary line is drawn.

Our experienced dogs, Pierre and Eureka, have settled right back into the routine without any prompting from me and are getting to know where the sheep should or shouldn't  be wandering--as are the sheep learning their limits, and repercussions.

{Pierre likes to have a sniff at the new lambs just to become familiar with his flock.  He is what is called my Main Dog while  Eureka likes to hold her ambush position in the long vegetation, and of course stay near to me and this is referred to as my Man Dog.

{Everybody relaxing in the shade.
A few seconds after I took notice of the sheep getting deeper into the forest Pierre took it upon himself to trot up through the dense forest and push the sheep back into the open.   I hadn't said a word and his initiative amazed me.   He can read my body language much better than I can.   The process of communication between all the different species is a constant source of amazement and I am the one learning the most lessons.

With their bellies full we head back to their pasture and new barn to rest for the afternoon.

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