We keep a small flock of sheep, a mix of Suffolks, Cheviots and something in between. There are several reasons why we keep sheep, one to graze the 7 acres on our croft, two to supply ourselves with lamb for consumption, three to sell lambs at the mart and lastly for the wonderful fleece that we get once a year.
Sheep are relatively easy to keep, although you do have to keep an eye on them, especially at lambing time. Ours are big, about the size of a Shetland pony and can be a devil to handle.
We often have to move them around and this involves a lot of running, arm waving and expletives when they suddenly make a bolt for it.
Most sensible sheep keepers get themselves a collie. They seem to leave the womb trained in shepherding (and agility).
Not us, we have German Shepherds who have a built-in prey drive. If it moves they chase it. That includes cyclists, motorbikes and slow moving tractors that trundle past our field.
The White Wolf arrived last year after we sadly lost two of our girls. She’s fiercely intelligent and likes to be busy which makes her so trainable.
This last week she has embarked on her new career, a collie in shepherd’s clothing, we are teaching her to herd the sheep.
Clicker trained from the start, we are very impressed with her progress to date. She will do a solid wait until the sheep are out of the gate, then it gets a bit hairy. So far she has been very controllable and not taken off after the running sheep although I’m sure she would if left by herself.
We are working on direction at the moment, using hand signals to encourage her left and right.
If we can crack this it will make our life so much easier.
I wonder if there are any German Shepherds out there shepherding sheep?