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 > Dogs with Jobs: getting ready for breeding

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BCSnob

Middletown, MD

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Posted: 09/13/21 07:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have for years posted on the jobs our dogs do during lambing; this time I thought I'd describe the jobs they help with in preparation for sheep breeding.

We have ~70 adult ewes; all were together in one group along with the lambs from this spring. The tasks at hand are:

separate ewes from lambs
separate ewes by their sire
trim the hooves on all ewes & check for health issues
remove ewes that we will not be keeping (had mastitis, rejected a lamb, are injured, are unhealthy, etc)
trim hooves on rams, check for health issues, and deworm
put individual rams with the group of ewes they will be breeding

My wife and our friend (a Vet) used their dogs to separate ewes into groups. This is facilitated by the color of the ear tag each ewe has; the color is associated with their sire. We don't want to breed father/daughter. They put the sheep into a large pen using their dogs and then let out sheep based upon ear tag color; different colors to different fields.

Each ewe group was then run through handling equipment (see photo for example). The dogs put the sheep into the pen and then push the sheep towards the single file chute. Our equipment is in an old dairy barn.

[image]

Each individual ewe was put into a tilt table to flip the ewe sideways for trimming hooves and checking her utter. We use this equipment to save effort when doing this task on 70 sheep.

Tilt table

There were a few ewes that ended up with the lambs. Fern and I pushed this group into the pen of our handling equipment. I then guided these ewes into the chute to be check and sorted into their ewe group. Fern and I then move the lambs and the cull ewes (ewes we're not breeding/keeping) to a separate field.

Fern moving lambs and cull ewes

The last task is the most challenging. The rams were gathered by Fern.

Fern gathering rams

They were put into a small barn stall; it took two people, two dogs (with some biting) to convince them to go into the stall. Once in the stall I caught one ram (~300lbs) at a time, flipped them on their butts (feet in the air), our friend trimmed hooves while I held them, and dosed them with dewormer (not ivermectin [emoticon] this time). We then let one ram out of the stall and brought his ewes to him (trying to move a single ram is asking for a fight).

The rams will be with their ewes for 1 month; this way we know when lambing will start and when it will end.

* This post was edited 09/13/21 07:13am by BCSnob *


Mark & Renee
Working Border Collies: Nell (retired), Tally (semi-retired), Grant, Lee, Fern & Hattie
Sam the Maremma Sheepdog & Wendy the Kangal (at home guarding our flock)
2001 Chevy Express 2500 Cargo (rolling kennel)
2007 Nash 22M

toedtoes

California

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Posted: 09/13/21 04:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Interesting. Thanks for explaining the process.

I didn't realize rams were so heavy.


1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

Crowe

Merrimack, NH

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Posted: 09/13/21 05:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm always impressed with people who are so devoted to this type of think. Your dedication is admirable.


I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be Douglas Adams

RV-less for now but our spirits are still on the open road.

BCSnob

Middletown, MD

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Posted: 09/13/21 06:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here’s a question for you to ponder. The hooves of ruminants grow and if they don’t wear them down while walking they need to be trimmed. How do you trim the hooves of a 1300lbs Holstein cow?

toedtoes

California

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Posted: 09/13/21 07:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BCSnob wrote:

Here’s a question for you to ponder. The hooves of ruminants grow and if they don’t wear them down while walking they need to be trimmed. How do you trim the hooves of a 1300lbs Holstein cow?


Very carefully.

BCSnob

Middletown, MD

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Posted: 09/13/21 08:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Layover Hoof Trimming Chute

Deb and Ed M

SW MI & Space Coast, FL USA

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Joined: 06/07/2004

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Posted: 09/14/21 08:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator



I knew they had tilt trailers for cattle - but watching how easy the process is, is amazing!!

Thanks for showing us that life owning a sheep farm isn't just sipping coffee and watching your sheep graze every day....LOL!

As an aside (if you actually have time to watch TV) - have you seen the series "Clarkson's Farm" (Amazon) with car enthusiast Jeremy Clarkson? It's hilarious/heartwarming - and an often brutal look at farming in general.

BCSnob

Middletown, MD

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Posted: 09/14/21 08:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’ve heard about that series but it’s not available on the streaming services we have.
There’s another series you might find educational and entertaining:
This Farming Life

One episode from this season is about this:

World's most expensive sheepdog sells for £18k
People with more money than sense (~$26k).

* This post was edited 09/14/21 08:49am by BCSnob *

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