Fold or Perserve

For my occupation I am a sheep farmer. I raise sheep for meat and breeding stock. I enjoy being a sheep farmer. Watching lambs being born, growing and playing is my “television”. I do not care to watch television or a movie much. Watching the lambs is enjoyment.

Most of my ewes I have owned since birth. I know their personality and the sound of their baa. I have selected my sheep from the best that I had, selling off other lambs. Seven years I have worked to have the sheep I currently own.

It is time for me to purchase hay for the winter. We have been purchasing hay from an individual the past two years. Because my flock has been growing larger the last two years, we inform him how much hay for winter we will need in the spring. We let him know this spring how many bales of hay we would need, and he said he would have them for us at the end of summer when we pick up the hay. When we contacted him, he said he sold all his hay to a the local feed store for $105.00 USD per bale. The feed store is charging $260.00 USD for the same hay. I can not continue to raise sheep with hay cost at $260.00 USD per bale. The only place to purchase hay in my area is from the feed store or hay brokers in nearby towns who charge the same amount. I am forced to go to another state and haul my hay to Texas.

Since I am going to have travel to purchase hay, and purchase the hay at one time, I do not have the ready cash for such a purchase. For the first time, I am going to have to borrow money to keep my sheep business going. I have worked for thirteen years to get our personal finances out of debt. I am very reluctant to go into debt to keep the sheep.

I have worked hard to raise the quality of my sheep. I have four sheep consigned to a special Dorper sheep sale in October. My business plan for 2022 was to keep two lambs, a ram and a ewe, to grow up and show and sale in April 2023, and this is on schedule. I have four ewes that are going to have lambs in September, 15 ewes that will start having lambs in October. Five lambs will be ready to sell as market lambs in November/December. The plans were made last January on when I would be having lambs, when they would be ready to sale.

A lot of sheep farmers and cattle ranchers have sold off all their animals. They have folded with hopes of being able to rebuild next spring. There are some who are borrowing money, to keep going and hoping for a better year next year. With fewer sheep having lambs next year, and the demand for lamb meat staying the same, hopefully the price will go up on the market lambs that are produced, and the sheep farmer might be able to recoup the loss of paying so much for hay this winter.

The sad news is, if the price goes up for the market lambs raised by the sheep farmer, the price will go up for the consumer buying lamb meat for dinner. Once ewes or cows are removed from herds producing offspring to be sold for market, it takes a year or two to build those numbers back up to what they were this year.

Should I fold, call it quits or go into debt and preserve to keep all my hard work going forward?

After much prayer and contemplation, I am going to persevere, push ahead to keep going. I will not have the profit margin I calculated last January, I am going forward hoping to do well. I am hoping the market lambs I sell in December/January will bring a high price. The two I am raising to show and sale in April as breeding stock will bring good money. The plans of breeding ewes, producing lambs, and selling market lambs will provide more money than I did this year. Hopefully the drought ends, the hay grows abundant for all farmers.

amtolle

Fall is Upon Us

September is here and fall is not far behind. Fall the time of year this change preparing for winter. The trees change their color to golds and reds, as their leaves begin to die and fall, getting ready for winter. The birds fly south, some leave and others move in for the winter. Fall is a time of reflection as celebrations of All Souls Eve when we remember those who are gone, Thanksgiving with those who are around us recalling the blessings received. Fall is the time for preparing for winter if you are a sheep farmer, making sure there is enough hay and feed the animals will need.

This summer has flown through with exciting adventures with family and blessings to share and remember. It seems as I gain in years, the years get shorter. I have been preparing for a special event in September, the delivery of my youngest daughter’s triplets. I will leave my husband the responsibility of the sheep and animals, as well as himself when I go to my daughter’s on September 11. It is hard to leave my husband alone with the house and sheep. I like to make sure his laundry is done, food on the table at a set time, and food for his lunches ready for him to take in the morning. I know he is a grown man and able to take care of himself, but there is a part of me that will miss doing it for him. I do those things for him because I love him, not out of society prescribed duty or it is expected of me. I want to make sure he has his comforts and the things he needs because of love and care.

My staying at my daughter’s to care for my granddaughter is a gift of love and care. My daughter and her husband will be busy when the triplets are born. I will be there as a servant to assist in whatever needs to be done. While my daughter and the babies are in the hospital, I will be responsible for my granddaughter getting to school, checking on homework, and other household duties. I am looking forward to spending the one on one time with my granddaughter, a time to make special memories together. It will also be the first time she has been away from her parents. Although she knows this is going to happen, being able to maintain her regular schedule and routines will help her deal with the stress of her parents not being there.

Fall marks the time to get all the Christmas gifts completed for my grandchildren. This year I will be completing several of them while I am at my daughters. I will not have the duties of being a sheep farmer to keep me busy during the day, when my granddaughter is at school. I will have the gifts there to keep my hands and mind busy. I know my daughter loves me, but if I were to spring clean her house without her present would not put a smile on her face. I know my weakness, I have prepared things for my stay to keep my hands and mind occupied.

It is easy to do things for those we love. Helping others and bringing a smile, is my reward for the work I am doing. I know my daughter and her family appreciate this help being provided. I know my husband appreciates what I do for him. All things I do, I do because I love.

This fall marks the arrival of a long awaited blessing for the whole family, aunts, grandparents, cousins, nephews, nieces and others. We have been watching, praying for my daughter and three babies. Fall the babies will arrive.

amtolle

Photo by ZEG Photo on Pexels.com

A Little Bit of Rain

Photo by Sourav Mishra on Pexels.com

Last night and today, we have been receiving some much needed and prayed for rain. The area I am in has been in a drought all summer, no rain. Rain is what we depend on to water our pastures as there is no irrigation type systems in this area. No one irrigates or uses farm sprinklers to water their fields and pastures. Rainfall is very important.

I am many things, but my main occupation is being a sheep farmer. I raise Dorper sheep for market lamb. I enjoy this occupation of caring for the sheep. Being a sheep farmer is more than just taking care of sheep. I have to manage the pasture and other resources in order to care the sheep and make a profit.

One of those resources is my pasture. When we first purchased our small homestead, the pasture had been overgrazed. There was way more weeds than grass, and large bare areas of dirt. Not much feed for the horses we were raising at the time. Building up a pasture that has been overgrazed takes time, there is no quick fix.

Our lives took a change, we sold the horses and I became a sheep farmer. In the beginning as a sheep farmer, I did not have very many sheep, five to seven. Sheep love to eat weeds, 70 % of their preferred diet is weeds and brush. I had plenty of both when I started raising sheep. As the sheep grazed the weeds, not allowing the weeds to produce seeds and replant, my pasture starting changing. The weeds being controlled by the sheep allowing more moisture and sunlight for grass, the grass started growing and spreading. Today, my pasture is mostly grass, the few weeds I do have are weeds sheep and other livestock do not eat.

This spring we did not get the usual amount o rainfall. The summer was dry, no rainfall and heat. The grass in the pasture became tan, short, dry and had stopped growing. In July, I stopped grazing the sheep on the pasture, and kept them in pens with limited grazing around the sheds and house. I did not want to overgraze the pasture and stress or kill the grass I had managed to build up. I was able to water the grass around the sheds and house using the water from our well. This week, I stopped grazing the sheep totally. The grass around the sheds and house were not able to keep up with the sheep. I did not want to overgraze this area either.

Being a sheep farmer is more than just taking care of the sheep, it is managing the resources needed to care for the sheep. My sheep pens are placed on a hillside above the pasture. When we do receive rain, the water naturally sheds to the pasture. As the water moves through the pens, it becomes a manure tea, fertilizing the grass in the pasture. The past few years, there has developed a darker green and more lush grass nearer the sheep pens than in the back of the pasture. The darker green grass area has been growing large each year.

When I clean out my sheep pens, I compost the manure for more than 30 days, usually a few months, before applying it to the pasture. Letting the manure compost helps with internal parasite in the sheep, not allowing the larva to infect the sheep. After thirty days, if the larva have not been introduced into a sheep’s system, the larva dies.

Having the sheep pens on a hillside allows for faster draining and drying of the sheep pens, than the rest of the property. Keeping the sheep pens drained helps to prevent footrot, a bacterial infection of the sheep hoof that destroys the hoof. The placement of pens and shelters is also a management decision for a sheep farmer.

Yes, we have received a little bit of rain, but this will not break the drought. This little bit of rain will give the grass a breath of life. The pasture will take more rain, and time to rebuild from the stress of the drought before I can have the sheep graze it once more. I will continue to feed the sheep hay in their pens until spring arrives. I am managing my pasture to feed the ewes and lambs this spring and next year. If I overgraze or let the sheep graze too soon, I will hinder and possible destroy the work of the past few years to build up and improve my pasture.

amtolle

“Sale Barn” Day

Today I went to the sheep and goat sale barn. I have not been since April when the young owner of the sale barn shut down suddenly for unknown reasons. He reopened in July.

I took a four young sheep to sale. I was planning on keeping three of the young sheep for replacement ewes, and the ram lamb was going to the freezer. The drought in my area has created a shortage of winter hay. I purchased hay for winter this last spring. The lack of rain, the pasture is not growing. Since July I have been feeding the winter hay.

I made the decision to slow the growth of my flock by keeping only two young ewes for breeding ewes. I sold three of the five ewe lambs I was retaining for growing my flock.

I have another ram lamb, that I was growing up to see if he would make a herd sire. This ram lamb is not what I would consider a herd sire. He is larger and ready for the freezer. By putting him in the freezer, and selling the young ram lamb I was feeding out to put in the freezer, I remove two sheep from the feeding program.

Lastly, I took the little billy goat I had purchased to be a sire. The reason for selling him, he was too little to be a sire.

Totally I have removed six animals from the feeding program.

I have five baby lambs with their mothers and four more ewes due to lamb in the next month. Another group of thirteen ewes will start lambing in October through December. I will be adding more animals to the feeding program, but also some of these lambs will be sold to buy additional feed that will be needed. Raising sheep is a constant program of breeding, lambing, weaning and selecting animals to keep or sale as breeding stock, and those that will be sold for market.

I also went to catch up with friends and acquaintances. The talk at the sale barn was about being able to obtain hay, what condition pastures were in, and how many animals people were keeping and selling.

One acquaintance, I will call TOV, their auction name, said they were going to “roll the dice” and keep all their stock and not sell off any. Taking a chance that there will be rain and another cutting or two of hay before the cold weather hits. If we get rain for another cutting or two of hay, that means there will be pasture grass as well. They have finally built their breeding stock up to a good quality, and was not going to sell them at the low ewe prices, and pay more to rebuild next spring.

I can agree with not selling the ewes. The prices for breeding ewes is very low. It was tempting to purchase a couple of the ewes going through the sale, due to their price. But, I am concerned with the amount of feed, and I just sold some really nice young ewes from good bloodlines that I raised. Breeding ewes will be higher next spring, when everyone is trying to buy ewes because they sold theirs now. I have seen this happen before.

I am also “rolling the dice” as I do every day with my sheep farm. Calculating, watching the sheep market prices, feed prices, and praying for wisdom. I make plans on the direction of my sheep farm, only to be held at the mercy of the weather and the markets of supply and demand.

I was blessed today as my fat well cared for animals brought the top of the market prices for today. I feel good about the decision to sell some of my animals now, instead of waiting.

There are always decisions that need to be made. We can not see the future, but we can look at the information, pray for wisdom, and make a decision we are at peace with. I look for guidance in making choices. In the process of choosing which young ewe lambs would be sold, I sorted through them based on their conformation. As I sorted, I would separate the ones I was keeping, then sort through them again, until I had the number I needed to sell. One ewe lamb had my marks on her back, she was the last one I sorted off to sell. My marks on this ewe lamb showed the decision to sell her was not a random selection, but a decision of thought. Every decision needs to be a choice by thought and prayer, not a random choice of convenience.

As I continue with raising and selling sheep I will also continue to pray for wise choices in how to manage my sheep farm as well as for good lamb crops and rain.

amtolle

Different Lifestyle

I realize the posts I publish exhibit a different lifestyle than most lifestyles of those reading the posts. I enjoy sharing parts of my life with others. I say parts of my life as it is very to post about the varied things I do in one day of living.

My life is multifaceted. I am a mother. Although my children are grown, when you are a mom, you are a mom forever. I am proud of my children and their families.

I am a grandmother. I currently have eleven grandchildren. I will have a granddaughter born in June. And the triplets will be born in September. Two of my grandchildren have graduated from high school.

My biggest passion is horses. I professionally trained horses for twenty years. My children grew up during the time I was training, raising and selling horses. I love the foals, and being the first to teach them about people and starting their training on the ground. Currently I own four horses.

My children were involved in 4-H. You do not have to live on a farm to join and receive the benefits of being involved in 4-H. My children showed horses, pigs, sheep, rabbits and poultry. But they also did rocketry, leather craft, ceramics, baking, sewing, and photography and painting. There are many projects a child can learn to do and exhibit that do not involve an animal or having to have a farm. I was a project leader of many of the projects my children choose to participate in.

4-H teaches more than projects. Youth learn proper rules and etiquette for council meetings and meetings of government entities. They learn to present what they have made and learned. Record keeping is also done and judged. There are local, regional, district and national offices the youth campaign for and are elected to by their peers. In my opinion, 4-H is a great place for youth being homeschooled, it provides a fun environment for learning and meeting others with the same interests.

I taught horsemanship clinics and judged horse shows, poultry shows, rabbit shows and even judged llamas once. I did not know much about llamas, I told the show management as much. But I was present and the llama judge was not. I was chosen for the position.

Working with others to learn to ride and the various projects I taught in 4-H, I realize people do not know what I am talking about at times. They do not know the procedure and steps to get an animal ready for exhibition or a piece of ceramic.

Currently, I am a sheep farmer. I love being a sheep farmer. Watching the lambs, talking with the sheep, and seeing my breeding program evolve bring me joy and completeness.

Be assured I care very much for my animals. They are living beings. Yes, I do eat my own sheep. I also am thankful to the animal, and there is a ceremony, that gives its life so I may live. I sit up all night with a sick lamb. I have sick lambs in my house, along with the unpleasant odor and mess.

I am willing to answer questions concerning my posts on things you, the reader, may not understand. I know the posts I read are from people who do very different activities and have different passions than myself. I am not afraid to ask a question. We gain knowledge by seeking, asking and listening.

amtolle

The Importance of “Poop”

I am currently a sheep farmer and have been for seven years. Prior to being a sheep farmer I raised and trained horses. I have decades of raising horses. My favorite thing to do is to breed horses and raise foals. I love baby horses.

A daily activity that has become so routine I do not realize I am doing it most of the time is to look at the poop. Yes, I look on the ground making sure the poop is the right color, size and texture of every animal. And on the occasion I see an animal releasing poop, I watch. Sounds a little perverted, but in truth it is very helpful to a person raising animals.

Animals can not verbally speak English or other languages spoken by humans. Animals can not tell me their tummy feels bad or they feel bloated, until the pain is so extreme the cause is life threatening.

When my grandson was three years old, he was living with us. I was raising horses, we had a few foals on the ground. I was walking around using a small stick to look at the horse poop on the ground.

He asked “Granny what are you doing? That is yucky.”

I told him I was checking for worms (parasites) in the horse poop, to see if our horses had worms. Worms make horses sick. So I look for worms to know if I need to give them medicine (dewormer) so they do not get really sick.

“Oh” he replies, “What do these worms look like?”

On a different day while helping my husband put grain in buckets to feed each horse, he saw my husband put corn oil in the buckets and mix it. “What is that for Grandpa?” he asked. My husband always being humorous, replied “It makes the horses poop straight. This is their poop straight medicine.” The truth reason for putting oil in the horse feed was to make their hair coat shine.

The next day, while doing feeding and watering the horses with me, he asks, “Granny, how do you know if a horse is pooping straight? All I see are piles.”

I asked where he heard “poop straight”. After being informed of his and Grandpa’s conversation. I showed him how horse poop should look. A couple of the foals had really loose poop, so I showed him what poop looks like with they were starting or had a tummy ache. These foals had some digestive stress as their mothers were in foal heat, and it is common for foals to get running poop.

Currently, I am caring for a lamb who I purchased that does not have a mommy to nurse from. This little lamb was not doing gaining weight well with the flock. I wanted to make sure it was eating enough. When I took the lamb out of the flock, it became more stressed. The next day, the poop was runny or scours, its urine and poop were the same consistency. It is not good for a lamb to have scours, they dehydrate very quickly. I treated the lamb. Every day I check the lamb. I have started cutting the top of grass to feed the lamb. Yesterday, the lamb’s poop was not as liquidy, but still runny. A sign that things might be getting better. Today, the lamb’s poop was solid, not shaped right, but definitely not runny, a good sign.

Looking at poop tells me how the digestive system is working in the animal and if the animal is sick or not doing well.

When we go to a doctor visit, are you ever asked “How are your bowel movements?”

Poop is important for animals and humans.

amtolle

Change and Comfort Zone

I do not like change very much. I like to stay in my comfort zone that I worked so hard to get to. I am very uncomfortable meeting new people, being in a crowd of people I do not know. I have trust issues, I do not trust people.

Today, I learned a big change took place. The sheep and goat auction where I sell my market lambs and ewes that are getting old, is closed. For a reason unknown to me, the placed was forced to close for an undetermined amount of time.

It took me about four years to get comfortable with the main crowd of people who attend that sheep and goat auction twice a month. I have developed a couple of friends there. Now, I have to find a place to take my sheep for sale.

Some suggest to sell the sheep online. I tried that once. There are so many people who scam. I was sent “bank checks” that were not from the bank institution on the check. I had people copy my pictures and try to sell my animals as their own. Plus, people coming to the place is not a comfortable activity for me. The dishonest people I have been involved with when I was selling dogs, I just do not want to go that route.

Today, I did research on livestock auction places. I looked at the reviews, how long they have been in business, how many animals that are sold there and what the prices are. I have found a couple who were in lawsuits concerning the animals representation at the time sold-I will not sell at those places. I did find one livestock auction a couple of hours away I am planning on visiting. I have two months to find a place to sell my sheep, I have time to research and ask questions.

I will be uncomfortable for awhile until I learn how people show their emotions and react to things. Although it will be stressful and tiring for me to go, the upside is I will meet new people and maybe get more contacts to sell breeding sheep.

The closure of the sheep and goat auction near me will effect a lot of people. I have already received texts and calls from small butcher shops that slaughter and market the meat near where I live. The big buyers at the auction are no longer able to purchase because the is closed, so their clients are looking for sheep. There are even more people looking for a place to buy sheep for pets, to raise for income and to sell their sheep. I am not alone in this situation. I am sure I will see a few familiar faces as I look for a place to sell my sheep.

The next two months will be interesting, frustrating and something that I have to do.

amtolle

Aftermath

Today was sheep auction day. Twice a month there is a sheep and goat auction I attend. I look forward to the auctions. My one consistent social event. The time to gather with those who I have met over the past seven years learning how to raise sheep and make money doing so. I have several friends who attend regularly. The auction meets twice a month, twice a month we visit and catch up as we buy and/or sell sheep and goats. The auction provides us a place to meet and talk about our sheep and goats. Sheep and goats are a source of income for me and my friends. Today’s first question was “Were you hit by the tornados?” instead of “How are you doing?”.

The auction had record numbers of sheep and goats to sell, due to the tornados that hit the area a few days ago. How does tornadoes affect the number of sheep and goats selling in the auction?

Today’s auction was very large, almost 3,000 animals went through the sale. There really was not much room for that many animals. The animals are kept in pens waiting to be sold, once they are sold, the animals are moved to the sold pens. Problem today there were so many animals there for the sale, there was not enough sold pens. The large buyers, those who by fifty or more sheep at every auction get their own pen. During the first part of the auction, there were not enough large pens to group the animals the large buyers had purchased. Why were there so many sheep and goats at the auction today?

People’s barns and pens were destroyed, removing any place to keep their animals. They brought all of their animals to the auction to be sold. Others needed money and sold their animals for the monetary value in order to replace items lost or find somewhere to live until their homes are repaired or replaced.

One friend of mine, lost all his sheep, except three ewes and a one lamb. He sold the ewes, lamb and the only livestock guard dog he could find at the auction today. His barns and pens are heaps of rubble, he has no place to keep the surviving sheep.

My heart goes out to those who lost animals, have injured and maimed animals from the tornados. I also feel for those who are left with the only choice to sell everything and start over after they rebuild their homes, barns and pens. Sheep and goats are a source of income for most of us who gather at the sheep and goat auction twice a month.

I spent six years building my sheep flock to the quality and numbers I have today. I put forth hard work and sweat in the care of my animals. To have to rebuild would be emotional heart wrenching.

Yes, these strong people are going to rebuild what was destroyed. They will buy and restock their the flocks of sheep and herds of goats. The number of total dispersment sale animals was saddening. But the past seven years has showed me these people are strong, they are determined and they have always had sheep and goats and will continue to have sheep and goats.

amtolle

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

Lambing Has Began

I love to watch new life enter the world. I raise sheep, so I watch baby lambs being born. The group of ewes that are currently having lambs are first time ewes or first time mothers. I raise most of my ewes. This group of first time mothers I have raised from lambs.

Two days ago, the first lamb arrived. The lamb arrived in the early morning before I had begun my day. A boy lamb or ram lamb was born. The ewe is a good mother, taking care of her lamb and knowing where he is at all times. Mothering is a trait learned from their mothers when they were born. This ewe #32 had her lamb on her own. Spring lambing 2022 has officially begun.

Today was Sale Barn day, the day I go to the sheep auction to socialize and see what sheep are selling for. I also went today with the hope of purchasing another livestock guard dog puppy, a male. I was able to get our new livestock guard dog puppy, a male, eight weeks old, named Bob. I check the expectant mothers several times a day. Upon returning home, I opened our gate and felt I needed to look at the expectant mothers.

One ewe was in labor, and it was not good, only one leg instead of two and a head. No time to waste, with gate still open and sheep in the yard to graze, truck still running, I went to work. First, find the others leg. Sheep are very small, so any feeling for a leg or nose is done with two or three fingers. Barely found a second foot, but not sure if this ewe is caring a single lamb or twins. Hoping the foot belongs to the lamb I can see, I try to pull the foot forward to free up the shoulders and allow the lamb to enter the world. Things are too slippery. I get a piece of hay bale twine, with two fingers put a loop around the foot. By now the lamb’s tongue is blue, not a good sign. I pull on the twine hoping to move the foot and leg forward, the ewe grunts and pushes, finally the leg adjusts and the birth starts progressing. She pushes and I pull to deliver a little boy. I instantly clear the head, and put the lamb in front of mom. I see his rib cage is moving, meaning he is alive, not to get him invigorated by mom licking on him. Mom is in a little bit of shock from the stalled delivery, so I wipe my wet hands from the birth on her nose, she begins to lick and talk to her lamb.

A few minutes later I checked to see their progress, lamb was nursing, mom was doing good.

I am thankful I have the knowledge and experience to assist this ewe with the delivery of her lamb. I did not always have the knowledge or experience. I started raising sheep in 2016. Although I had assisted horses in delivery, a sheep is much smaller and more of a challenge to assist in the delivery of young.

With anything we want to learn, we have to take a step forward to learn and do. At first we are not good at what we are doing. There is no “instant success” in any activity or adventure. You have to gain knowledge, skill and experience to reach success.

I tried to get some videos on this post. I will have to take time to upload, download and whatever else I need to do to allow you the pleasure of seeing a new born lamb and mother. I did remember to bring the cell phone to take photos and video after. The situation before was serious, no time for photos.

Hope you enjoy. Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

amtolle

My Best Ranch Hand

MHT Hank, my best ranch hand.

I am a sheep farmer. I enjoy being a sheep farmer. I raise Dorper sheep which originated in South Africa and were introduced into the United States in 1993. Dorper sheep are a hair sheep breed raised for meat. Hair sheep do not need to be sheared as they shed off their winter coat. In my day to day chores, my helper is my dog, MHT Hank, registered border collie. I just call him Hank and he has become my best ranch hand.

Today, Hank did an awesome job assisting with the sorting or pulling of lambs off of the ewes. Once he understands the job at hand, I give very few commands. He and I work as a team. Now I could use alleys and chutes and a sorting gate, but I do not own a sorting gate. Hank and I go into the pen, separate some lambs, and herd them through the gate into another pen. Team work at its best.

MHT Hank holding sheep in a corner while I look them over.

I spent six months searching the internet and talking with people on locating a herding border collie puppy. I found a cattleman and horse trainer who only has one litter a year located in Colorado. I know nothing about bloodlines of border collies, but I really like the videos showing the parents working and the man’s philosophy on training horses on his website

http://www.mastershandtraining.com

I purchased MHT Hank at six weeks of age. When he was eight weeks he arrived from Colorado to Dallas, Texas by airplane. Puppies have to grow up before they can start learning to herd, but there are lessons they can learn as puppies.

If you want to learn to use herding dogs, have someone teach you first with a trained dog, before attempting to train one yourself. I did not do that, Hank and I learned together. I did however find a herding dog trainer that is extremely good at training and teaching, Faansie Basson. I paid for two lessons with Faansie Basson.

With two lesson and a DVD, I set about to train my first border collie to work. Thankfully Hank possesses enormous amount of natural ability and instinct for herding. I learned from me and I learned from Hank. His trainability is super, and when I figured I did something wrong, he would change to do things correctly.

People ask me how long does it take to train a border collie to herd. It takes six to eight months to teach a dog the commands. The dog has to work two years to gain experience and solidify the commands to work as a real team, with few commands. And a few dogs will learn their job so well, hardly any commands are needed, these are an exception and MHT Hank is one of those dogs.

Today, we sorted off lambs from the ewes as it was weaning time. The work is so much easier with a great ranch hand working with you. Good working border collies sale for $5,000 to $7,000 USD, and some well above that. For me, no amount of money can purchase by partner, MHT Hank.

amtolle

P.S. One year, hoping for 2023, MHT Hank and I will compete at the Meeker Classic Sheep Dog Herding Trial.