Archive for the ‘Border Collie’ Category

Spring is in the Air

Shetland Bonnie with her 1/2 Finn 1/2 Shetland Lambs

It’s a warmer spring  day today.  Finally!  I promised more photos so I will keep the text brief.  Above, is two-year old Shetland Bonnie with her 50% Finn lambs.  The ewe lamb on the left has pretty white markings in her lighter brown fleece and her brother is a rich, dark chocolate-brown.  This is Bonnie’s first lambing and I am pleased to report that she is an attentive and excellent mother.

Spotted badgerface Finn ram lamb 2011

Above is the gray Finn ram lamb sneaking a drink of milk from Bonnie.  This boys mom, Finnsheep Little Red Oak Kiia, has been a reluctant new mother.  I have kept a close watch on them – she doesn’t let him nurse for long.  I’ve felt his teeth and they don’t feel sharp.  And Kiia’s bag feels normal so he is getting milk from her.  I will keep monitoring them and supplement bottle-feed him through the fence, if needed.

Australian Shepherd Molly with her pups

Our Australian Shepherd, Molly, whelped 7 puppies on Friday.  Border Collie Gus is the father.  Shepherd George was in attendance for the births while I was at work.  Molly needed no help; she and the three females and four males are doing well.  We weighed them today and all are gaining weight.   Molly is tricolor and Gus is red so we will see how the colors develop.  The pup at the top of the photo is lighter than the rest – I hope that pup will be red.  I know nothing about dog color genetics and I decided I don’t care to learn.  We don’t plan on breeding dogs in the future.  We did want one breeding from these two because they are both great farm dogs.  We were hoping to wait until the end of the year but Gus had different ideas.  (A brief lapse in judgment by this Shepherd  aided in his access to Molly.)

Two-day old Aussie/Border Collie pups

Sunny with a 100% Probability of Snow

One week ago, I was in California visiting my son and family.  The temperature was in the 60’s to 70’s with clear blue skies.  It was sunny and dry during the visit; and I was truly able to relax knowing that my Long-Suffering/Trophy Husband was back at home taking care of the critters.  It was wonderful to play with the grandchildren, knit and watch movies.

John, Ashley and the kids. (Hazel, too!)

We went to Joshua Tree National Park one afternoon.  At first, Grandson Liam was confused when he found out the “park” didn’t have a playground.  We had a nice picnic lunch and everyone scrambled on the boulders.  Meanwhile, back at home in Minnesota, a snowstorm was raging!  With a tinge of guilt, I enjoyed a warm, pleasant afternoon in the sun.

Joshua Tree National Park at sunset.

Now back on the farm, I am recovering from a head cold.  Yuck!  And today, more snow is falling out of the sky.  The snow is getting so deep, the animals will be able to walk over the barnyard fences pretty soon.  I dread the thought of shoveling around fencelines…

I took a few photos today of critters in the snow.  (It’s a bit tough to get a really good picture with the white background.)  Enjoy!


Aussie pup Molly (McFluffyButt) and Border Collie Angus (McNeedy)

Finn ram Eino with his girls. The snow-covered sheep in the foreground is black Finn Emmi.

It's warm under all that wool!






Settling In

Molly, our new tri-colored Australian Shepherd has perked up after her traumatic first day spent traveling to her new home.

At 11 weeks old, she already seems to be housebroken.  She whimpers if she needs to go outside and has not had any accidents inside the house…yet.  In between puppy naps she barks at the cat and is beginning to explore the house as far as we let her.  She is learning her name, as well as what toys are good for – playing!

Gus, our Border Collie, is very tolerant of the puppy.  Molly runs around him, jumps up and tries to entice him to play.  He just ignores her by sitting or walking away.   When he sits, she sits.  Good puppy!

Friday Farm Photo #5 – All Tuckered Out

We have a new puppy!!

Australian Shepherd female pup - 11 weeks old.

We haven’t decided her name yet but she is a spunky, 11-week old purebred Australian Shepherd.  Her parents live and work on a farm about 250 miles away.  It was clear blue skies with puffy clouds – a lovely day for a road trip!

Happy New Year! Friday’s Fab Five (Photos)

We are Truly Blessed

The New Year is always a time of retrospection.  I have been looking through farm and family photos as a way of reflection — and planning for the future.  As newbie Shepherds, we are constantly “tweaking” our methods.  We have made some changes to the farm/flock management this past year – some proved ingenious, “Why didn’t we think of that before?”   Other changes have left us groaning, “Why is there a sheep under our bedroom window – at midnight?!?”  I will do a post on triumphs and tribulations in the future…

On Friday’s in January, I will post my favorite photos from 2009.  Most, but not all photos have already been featured at some point on this blog.  I hope you enjoy them!

Rudy and his sheep. The black eweling in the rear is Helena, a BFL X NC Cheviot. I really like her confirmation, disposition, fiber and size. If you click on the photo to enlarge, you can see the shine of the fleece of the white Shetland Mule standing directly behind Rudy's legs. As a contrast, the Cheviot Mule fiber is more dull, but very "sproingy."

Shetland ewe Nugget stands over NC Cheviot Molly as she snoozes in the snow. Molly is Helena's dam.

Gus waits patiently for the Shepherdess to finish chores in the barnyard.

Gus waits patiently for the Shepherdess to finish chores in the barnyard. I have never had a dog as sweet, well-behaved and loyal as this boy. He truly is a gem. And he is intact. If you are looking for a purebred, 7/8 Scottish/English bred Border Collie sire, contact me. We sure would like to have an offspring of his.

Granddaughter Reese is not sure what to think of bottle baby Duncan. Of course, he thought she was wonderful!

Twin Shetland Mule ewe lambs playing on Rudy

Meet the Boys (Again)

It’s that time of year when we Shepherds post pictures of our breeding groups.  I am still working on my groups.  I do know which rams I will use but still haven’t finalized which ewes will be bred.   As I consider the possibilities, I have hope; there will be something to look forward to as the icy, frigid days of winter are waning.  Spring will arrive with colorful lambs running and hopping through the green grass.  Sigh…

What I know so far…

I will not be breeding any purebred Shetlands this year.  Our Shetland rams are sold; the last one – RA Baab leaves with his group of ewes on Saturday.  I will breed a few Shetland ewes to Bluefaced Leicester ram Dougal for Mulesheep lambs. I am very pleased with the Mule fiber and this year’s lambs have lovely fleeces.  I hope to repeat those results.   And I will breed a few Shetland ewes to Finnsheep ram lamb Eino.  I have  read the resulting cross makes for a very nice fiber.

I will breed Eino to our new Finn ewes also.  Hopefully, 2010 will see the first Finnsheep lambs on our farm!

I have also included a few photos of our other boys on the farm.  I hope you enjoy them.

2009 Polled rams Dougal and Eino

Finnsheep ram lamb Eino and Bluefaced Leicester Dougal

Eino and Lamb Chop

Finn ram lamb Eino with BFL-Cheviot-Shetland ram lamb Lamb Chop

Lamb Chop's fleece

He has a fine, dense, lustrous, crimpy fleece which is quite soft. He was headed for the butcher; I pulled him off the trailer at the last minute and decided to breed him. His fleece has the combination of qualities I am looking for in my crosses.

Gus waits patiently for the Shepherdess to finish chores in the barnyard.

Border Collie Gus waits patiently for the Shepherdess to finish chores in the barnyard. He is probably the best dog I have ever had. He was given to us last year by a woman who loved him dearly but didn't have a farm on which he could work. Now that we have had him for a year, I can imagine how difficult it was for his previous owner to give him up. He is a sweet, sweet boy who is intense when he works and plays, but mellow while in the house. He is intact and we are giving some thought to breeding him. His genes are just too good NOT to pass on.

Spike enjoys a nap in the pole barn.

Barn cat Spike enjoys a nap in the pole barn.

Angus Rua (Gus the Red)

Last summer, I began looking for a herding breed of dog. As the flock grows, it is becoming more difficult to manage without the aid of a trained dog. Our preference was to adopt or re-home a dog. I have been following but the several dogs I was interested in never worked out. Well, as they say…when one door closes, another one opens…

We are now the proud new owners of a 6 year old Border Collie who has had training in herding sheep. He has a very gentle spirit and does have an “off button” while in the house. His former owner felt he needed to be on a farm to work and do what he does best. We feel fortunate that she decided he could live with us.
The above photo is Gus and his former mom showing us how he does his stuff. He was able to move the Shetland rams from a wide open, one-acre plus pasture to a pen several hundred yards away. Now I need to take herding lessons with him to keep him sharp and help me to learn how to work with him.

Gus has been very helpful the last few months. Sheep get out of their pens from time to time and he is great at working close and holding them so we can catch the woolly buggers. He has saved our backs on more than one occasion. He is a nice addition to our home. He loves face rubs and catching the ball with our black lab, Sylvan. And our cat is amused and entertained by his constant interest.

However, the llamas aren’t so sure about Gus or our Black Lab, Sylvan. One of the reasons we have the llamas is to help guard the sheep from canine predators. We have to be sure that the dogs don’t get into the same enclosure as the llamas. They may just try to stomp a dog to death. The llamas have learned that the dogs are part of our farm flock but their instincts would prevail and they would most likely protect the sheep.

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