Tag Archives: Border collies
It is only early February, but we do have lots of young animals around. We have had more than one litter of Livestock Guardian Dog puppies (hence the difference in sizes), a litter of Border collies, last summer’s colt crop, and–oh yes–one lamb. The little ones are fun, but soon we will have scores of lambs and calves on the ground, so this is the calm before the storm. Barring bad weather, which we have definitely not had, I consider the time between when the bucks go into the ewes in mid-December, and when the purebred lambs and the heifers’ calves start arriving in early March to be the lull. How can it be going by so fast? And why do I still feel so busy?
Today we put the bucks into the ewes on the Red Desert. Bucks in on December 15th means that we can look for the first lambs to arrive on about May 10th. The bucks have waited for many months to be reunited with their lady loves. The ewes seemed glad to see them too, although for them, a brief–very brief–dalliance means that they spend five months pregnant and five months raising lambs. Of course, it guarantees the ewes a good living, and a whole lot less boredom than the rams face the rest of the year. We were blessed to receive a badly needed snow the day before, ensuring winter water for the sheep. It was a Goldlilocks snow–not too little and not too much, and the 15th dawned bright and sunny.
It’s that time of year. Pat asked, “Are we going to post ‘Trailing over the UP line and under I80 ‘ pics again?”…because, except for the weather, it looks pretty much the same every year, and I am grateful for that. I have said on this blog before, and I say again, this stretch of our long trail from summer to winter country, and back again, is one of the most dangerous things we do all year. The scariest part is heading up the railroad overpass. Even though we are flagging, fore and aft, sometimes it is hard to convince folks to slow down, especially before they can see the sheep on the road. So when the sheep are safely through the gate north of Interstate 80, I breathe a sigh of relief, and send thanks to the Lord. We trail three bunches, a day apart, so the crossing takes place three consecutive mornings. A difference I see this year, with the sudden drop in oil and gas prices, is the reduction in oil field traffic through the sheep as they thread their way through this needle. Soon we will be settled on our wintering grounds on the Red Desert. Next we will pray for a “just right” winter–not too much snow, not too little–not too much cold, not too much wind, and lots of good grass.
Once again, the sheep have crossed the UP line overpass and the I80 underpass at Creston Junction, Wyoming on their trek north to spend the winter months on the Red Desert on Cyclone Rim and Chain Lakes. We crossed three bunches one after the other. The first two bunches were one day apart. Fog and snow meant that bunch three had to hold up a day. Our neighbors, the Rodewalds, told us to hold up an extra day on their pasture. They had planned to ship calves that day, but had to cancel the trucks due to road and weather conditions. The next day dawned bright and clear, if bitter cold (-23 degrees) and we made the passage without incident. It is always nerve-wracking, due to heavy oil field traffic. We flag front and rear, and sometimes run into over-eager truck drivers. Luckily, this year, the truckers helped us and we crossed without any problems. On the same day, we got our first load of corn in. Corn is necessary to sustain the ewes through the cold cold weather, and to flush them since we plan to put the bucks in in a week or so. It is important that they are increasing their nutritional level just ahead of the breeding season, in order to increase the conception of twins.
We raise Border collie and Livestock Guardian Dog puppies. I favor the red Border collies, although it is a recessive gene like black sheep. Candy, a daughter of my old dog Suzie, just had pups. She is on the trail with Eutemio and the coming yearling ewes. She had two female pups and one male pup (all red) a couple of days ago. I told Eutemio I could bring them home, but I think he needs her as a working mother. He has tied the pups into a feed bag onto his saddle. I plan to keep one of the females as my personal dog.