Saturday, 8 February 2014

"Tell me the story"

Every morning,
when I go out to the pasture to feed the dogs
and check on the sheep,
I always have a slight feeling of apprehension.
You just never know what this day will bring.
Most mornings, the dogs are waiting for me at the gate. 
Feeding is a highlight and they usually are right there waiting for it ..
I like to think they are waiting for me, 
but more likely it is just the food I bring.
When one or more dogs are not at the gate, I start worrying,
 I run different scenarios through my head:
 is a dog hurt? 
are they out patrolling? 
has something happened?
are they hurt?
has something happened to the sheep?

The ewes are bale feeding at a fair distance from the gate,
so I quickly scan over the field,
to see if I can see something out of place.

Ravens in the pasture are certainly a very ominous sign,
 and an indicator as to what I will find.

Today, Mali (the youngest female out working the main flock) did not come for feed.
She is normally the very first one at the gate.
She loves her food and will salivate like one of Pavlov’s test dogs, in anticipation to what is coming.
She rarely misses a meal.

Today, she was not there.
No ravens.
Ewes calmly feeding.
I call.. nothing.
I start to walk out to the ewes,
and call again.
I see her sitting up. 
Ah! She is there!
As I get closer, I still do not see why she has not come.
As soon as I am within 10 meters (30 feet) she bolts off to her food. 
As Roy says, she came like a torpedo.
I look behind a bale and there is half of a (now dead) sheep sticking out from under a bale.
The poor unfortunate sheep must have lain down by the bale,
the bale must have toppled onto the sheep, killing the ewe, sometime during the night.
Normally we push bales over that are about to topple, Not really sure what happened to this one.

Mali was lying with this sheep, keeping the ravens and possibly other predators at bay.
As soon as I was close enough, she must have decided that the dead sheep is now my problem,
and she was free to go and get her food.

I really like that my dogs do watch over the dead.
I like to know what my sheep die of,
and would prefer that the dogs do eat them,
or drag the carcasses away before I see them.
If I do not find a dead sheep within about 3-5 days, they will then start to eat them.

In the morning, my dogs are my first indicator of how the night went,
 that I rely on  my dogs to "tell me the story".

Here are some photo’s from today, 
a glorious, cold, but sunny day.

Katcha has about 70 ewe lambs under her watch. 

My Swiss help, Pascal was feeding today, I was taking pictures and moving sheep out of the way.

The bale that killed the ewe...

Shadow man.

Lad brings a wayward ewe back to the flock.

My dogs are chained for feeding.
We chain when we feed the dogs to prevent fights and when we feed the ewes.
As the gates are open to drive up and down with the tractor,
I do not want the dogs slipping out, nor do I want to run over a dog.
For those who like to know who my dogs are, upfront is Mali, then Fena and at the back Lucy.

Vuk left, and the 3 bitches to the right.

Vuk, enjoying his meal.

Other, than that this incident, the past week was filled with normal chores..
feeding, hatching chicks, bottle feeding some lambs,

de-worming ewes and lambs

book keeping, and other office chores.

Sunsets are always a nice way to end the day.


  1. I do so enjoy reading your blogs. I learn from what you write. When I moan about our winter, I remember yours! You live in a wonderful place! And, I love learning about your dogs!

  2. Really enjoyed reading your story about your dogs... I have a friend who has a dog very similar to your dogs.... and she loves him.... and he also protects her animals and very very loyal..... May all your days be blessed with joy and happiness and wonderment... Hugs.


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