Sunday, March 8, 2009
Why we have English Shepherds
People ask why we got English Shepherds. If you don't know the breed, and you think "sheep handling", then most people think you would want Border Collies or Aussies. Each of those breeds has their strengths, but for me, this picture explains why we have, breed & raise English Shepherds.
We do some herding with our dogs- moving sheep around the property when changing grazing areas; or moving them to another pen. But we don't have 100's of acres and we don't need our dogs to do remote retrieval. I need them to help me out in fairly close quarters. So it's nice to have a trusted companion.
We've had some real issues with lambing this year- extreme cold, rain, flooding, snow, etc. So when the big breed lambs start arriving, they need a little more TLC than the Shetland or Romney's do. The larger lambs tend to be a little slower to get going. And in this crappy, cold, late winter weather, it's very easy to lose lambs.
I went out this morning to find a new Shetland baby running around and chasing the 3 week old lamb in an attempt to play. We found this pair of Lincoln crossbred ramlings also born this morning- another cold, wet, miserable day- but they were sluggish and cold. So we brought them in to warm up and get their legs under them. We wrapped them up with a hot water bottle and let them rest for a while. And this is where English Shepherds shine!
Bubba had to give them the first check up, but Honey decided they needed a feminine touch. I looked into the laundry room just in time to see Honey jump up and start adjusting the towels to make sure the lambs were covered and getting warm. She snuggled in with them for a while.
Apparently, having 11 four week old pups just isn't enough responsibility... At least she doesn't have to worry about the lambs nursing!