Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ernie's Progress - Days 8-10

On Friday afternoon, Ernie and I hauled the lambs back from Amber Oaks Berry Farm to our corrals, and then walked them to our irrigated pasture about a half mile away.  For the most part, Ernie did an outstanding job.  The first load of lambs was in a large pasture with a gate on the road.  I backed the trailer to the gate, strung a short section of fence, and sent Ernie to gather the lambs.  He cast himself around them fairly wide (at least for him) and brought them quietly to the trailer.  They hopped in - with Ernie lying down behind them.  I was quite proud of him!  The second load didn't go quite as smoothly - we loaded in a different spot, and I didn't have the set up quite as solid.  Most of the lambs loaded, but 6 scooted between the fence and the trailer.  It was a complicated spot to get them back in, so I used Mo to help Ernie.

The walk to irrigated pasture was a little rough at the beginning - Ernie constantly wanted to be at the lambs' heads.  By the time we were nearly there, however, Ernie was tired enough to listen!  The end of our walk was great - he cast himself around a bunch that didn't walk straight in the new paddock and brought them quietly to the opening.

This morning, we moved a group of ewes onto fresh feed at MC Ranch.  When I'm using Mo or Taff, I'll often have a dog hold the sheep while I move the last bit of fence.  This takes a quiet and confident dog, as the sheep are usually drawn by my movement and the prospect of new grass.  I had Ernie gather the ewes (again, he cast himself fairly wide) and hold them up the hill from where I was building fence.  He was perfect!  Next, we walked the sheep further up the hill to an opening I'd created.  Ernie wanted to run to their heads, but he took my commands and actually lied down to let them come through the opening quietly.  It was quite a morning!

Ernie loves to go with me - even when he doesn't get to work.  I think it's helping for him to realize that there are little jobs that we need to accomplish - even if it's just changing water!  These last several days were promising!

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