Thursday 18 April 2013


Every baby animal is unique and adorable, and there is no greater love than that between a mother and her young. It is the power of this love that explains why humans have always sought the company of young animals.

Lambing has been going steady.
We are way over 200 lambs now.
This lambing has been more problematic than the one in January, perhaps due to the long winter this has taken a toll on the ewes.
However, we keep ploughing through and help those that need additional help.
It is rewarding to watch the lambs thriving and enjoying the warm sunny days.
Calving has been slow,
one a day.
Yesterday we had a little calving surge, we had 4 new little heifers.
I tried to sneak up to one to tag it.
As I was ready to tag it, it bawled,
and within seconds I had a whole bunch of irate cows rushing in to save baby.
Needless to say, I let the babe go,
without tag.

Here are some photo's for you to enjoy.

its not your turn yet,
you have to wait, and produce a cute baby
 before you can be on my blog...

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Catch up

"Always gotta keep busy or the voices start telling me to do wild things."
~Steve Brown

Ok, I actually have been rather busy and have not managed to blog.
Today my day started off with a vaginal prolapse, then feeding, checking, moving lambs into jugs, numbering, castrating, docking tails, moving out of jugs, checking cows, cuddling calf, dodging momma cow, feeding dogs, sorting about 300 sheep, feeding, lambing, pulling a lamb with a big head,  and so on.
As if that's not enough,
the school had an emergency today,
some bright spark decided to empty a can of  bear spray in the junior high boys toilets..
Police, ambulances and evacuations were all part and parcel of the bear spray incident..
Roy needed to go to the hospital for a check up.
All is well and things were back to normal again later in the day.

We have been lambing now for about a week and have well over 100 lambs.
We have had quite a few dead ones;
 sometimes the ewe will lay down on the lamb and squash it,
some are born to early,
and some just do not thrive for whatever reason.
Having these dead ones is a bit demoralising at times,
 as we work so hard to try and make sure that things go well.
However, watching the good ones do well,
laying in the sun and running around together does help to keep me motivated..

We had our first calf,
I had been checking up on this cow a number of times during the day and evening.
She calved early in the morning and the calf was either stillborn or died shortly after that.
Not a good start to calving..
The cows are being slow about starting to calve, we are a week in and we only have one baby.
This blackie was from a first time calver, a heifer.
It is doing well and because its the only one at the moment,
it is the favourite and getting all of my cuddles when I go and check all the other bovines.

Not only are we busy with the lambs and calves,
but Roy and Eric decided that , they should go into the hatching business...
So, the incubator has been running and today the chicks started hatching out.
They have 200 eggs in the incubator.
I do not need more chickens,
so Roy made a poster to sell some of his chicks.
he has a few clients but has not found homes for all them yet.

So, at this stage my life revolves around newborns, afterbirths, bottles, cuteness, late nights, early mornings and lots of work.
Have a good  Friday.

Friday 5 April 2013

Chantal Escort Services

Chantal watches as a man walks by the ewes.
She was never overly aggressive, always alert and ready to react.

Chantal, our first ever sarplaninac, was not a dog that one would generally call aggressive.
She was never outwardly flaunting her aggression such as
 gnashing her teeth or frothing at the mouth.

She was the epitome of calm,composure and strength.
She had all the very typical qualities that are attributed to this breed;

This breed has a typical livestock guarding temperament: highly intelligent and independent; devoted to family members and wary of strangers; calm and steady but fearless and quick to react to perceived threats. (UKC)

She was quite territorial.
She had a big bubble of personal space.
In her mind, that bubble could cover hundreds of acres.

Every night after shepherding, the dogs would come home with me once the sheep were safely back in their night corral.
 We lived for a few years in camping area in a trailer, while waiting to be able to build our barn and dream home.
Our plot was surrounded by a high wooden fence.
Sometimes we would chat to some neighbours over the fence, and this was fine with Chantal.
However, if these people ever, as much as, laid one finger on the fence,
she would not hesitate to attempt to take their whole arm off.

She was not mean, just clear.

Occasionally, some poor person would decided to walk into our gate to come to our door.
Chantal would then walk up next to them, take hold of their arm  in her mouth,
gently but firmly,
 not breaking any skin, and she would then escort them in.
The people were often  terrified by the time they arrived at the front door, fearing for their lives.
We knew, however, that Chantal had the good sense not to damage these poor people.
Once we greeted the people, she would leave their arm
 and would then conveniently go and lie in between them and us.
She would give the impression that she was fast asleep,
but I know,
she always watched them through her semi closed eye lids.
 She had her tactics.

We were asked to look after a friends border collie while they were away.
This dog, Tess, did not have many doggy social skills,
so, when she came to stay with us,
we wanted to make sure that she and Chantal were properly introduced.
Unfortunately, Tess decided to snap at Chantal.
And, in a typical Chantal fashion, she decided to set the record straight.

Directly, leaving no doubts.
Eric feared for little Tess's life.
So, he rushed in to save Tess
and  so, to make sure that Chantal kept her distance he yelled at her,
( he might have kicked towards her)
She stopped in her tracks,
gave Eric the stare down,
according to Eric she contemplated having a go at him.
Both had a standoff,
Eric calmed down,
Chantal calmed down
and Tess, well she calmed down too.

Chantal was canine aggressive.
She really disliked all other canines, except her own pack.
With our collies she was fine but she certainly just did not  tolerate strange dogs too well.
One night she slipped out of the gate and disappeared into the dark.
Eric and I had a melt down.
We needed to find her before she found some poor person walking their pooch.
We searched and searched.
We called to her, however, she had also these sarplaninac traits of being stubborn and independant,
so we knew the chances of her coming when we called where about zero.
While, out looking, Eric met up with a man walking his bouvier dog.
Eric asked this man if he had seen a dog running around free.
The man said he did not.
Eric asked him if he could accompany him on his walk, explaining that our dog had slipped out and we feared she might have a go at his dog.
The man, who was rather the "trailerpark boys" kind of man,
scoffed and said  he thinks his bouv would be ok.
Eric said fine, but I still want to find my dog.
So, the two of them were walking next to the lake,
when all of a sudden Chantal made a charge at the dog.
Eric managed to grab hold of her mid air, the man grabbed his dog
and togther they saved the day.
We really understood that day they we needed to make sure the gate was closed properly, we could not run the risk of Chantaleke roaming free where other dogs could be.

We were lambing out in the bush in this nature park.
We were not allowed to erect any permanent structure in the area, however every lambing we would erect some makeshift kind of shelter for the ewes and lambs that needed it for our lambing time.
This area would be fenced off and was closed to the public.
The public could look in, but we kept the gates locked.

Chantal would roam free in this area,
hanging out with the ewes and their babies.

One day, we headed home for lunch, leaving Chantal on maternity watch.
When we came back we found a note on our gate saying
"the dog in this area is aggressive and bit me"
No name, no phone number, nothing.
So, Eric wrote on the note
" well, then you must have been somewhere,
where you should not have been"
and left the note on the gate.

Chantal understood the rules of conduct;
if you behaviour yourself,
do not invade the bubble,
climb over fences where you should not be,
don't mess with my peeps or sheep,
or if you are a dog and don't show proper social behaviour or come close to the sheep,
then we are fine.
She was a loving, friendly and devoted dog.
Cross the line and you would be dealt with in a typical sarplaninac way.
Simple, straight forward and clear.
Chantal, me, Sally and Ace in July 1993, our trailer on the camping.
Three of my favorite dogs.

Thursday 4 April 2013

Snow bathing

It feels like we are heading for mud season now.
In fact some mud has already been seen.
The day time temperatures is plus 5 but it still freezes at night.
This means, we get up early to feed in the frost.
I get up early to check for lambs and calves in any case.

When the sun is shining, and the snow is soft and soggy, 
the dogs just love to do some snow bathing.
Here are a few moments of bliss for Beli.

 And, then back to work..

Have a great Thursday.
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