Working with sheep today was wet and extremely muddy, but Kay and Bronwen got the work done in style
We had a very busy day gathering sheep today. First, we moved a bunch of ewes along the lane to a new field, where they joined another flock and put them through the race for ultrasound scanning (to see how many lambs they're expecting).
Kay did the road work and the gathering in the field, because she's so skilled, but I decided to use young Bronwen to put the ewes through the sorting race. It was a good decision too. Kay won't face an aggressive sheep, but Bronwen seems to love it. As you can see from the picture, with several ewes trying to "stare her down" she simply lay down quite relaxed and looked back at them.
Bronwen's excellent in these situations. In the past she's been a bit to quick to attack the sheep for no reason, but she's far better now and will only attack if a ewe tries to attack her first.
Once at Dean Farm, there seemed to be liquid mud everywhere. One of the railway bridges on the farm is under repair, and the contractors are making a terrible mess. After Kay had gathered the first bunch of sheep, I put her back in the 4x4 to conserve her energy and once again, used Bronwen to push the sheep through the race for scanning.
Bronwen was simply superb, quietly weaving back and forth behind the sheep to keep them up to the sorting race. The picture above has two powerful messages. First, I can trust Bronwen to bring the sheep up through the race by herself now. This leaves me free to help at the sorting or scanning end of the race with little tasks like making sure the sheep are moving steadily along the race and not getting jammed up.
The picture also demonstrates Bronwen's courage. The sheep are mothers-to-be and they don't like having dogs around, let alone being moved around by a dog. Make no mistake, the ewes in the picture are threatening Bronwen. They mean business, but once again she's simply staring back at them with her head up. I do like a dog which works with its head up, because that's a confident dog. People love to see dogs with their head right down near the ground when they work sheep, and I agree, it looks stylish, but in my opinion a dog which works that way is nervous...
After this bunch of sheep were scanned, I used Bronwen to return them to their field, and then used her to gather the next bunch. It didn't go as well as it would have if Kay had done it, but Bronwen's not going to learn to gather sheep well while she's sitting in the back of the car. She got the job done reasonably well, and I'm sure she'll to better next time.
When the sheep were going through the sorting race, I spotted this one with a distinctive "hair do". John always buys lots of different types of sheep, and I love the variety. The sheep in the picture above this one, is distinctive because she was a remarkably strong-willed and physically tough ewe. You can see by her face that she's got determination and she proved it today, but Bronwen was tougher!