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What a morning...

posted Mar 23, 2011, 4:03 PM by Caroline Swansey   [ updated Mar 23, 2011, 5:07 PM ]
This morning was kind of crazy... I began the day doing my routine chores, feeding the lamb, providing fresh water, letting the dogs out and feeding them, and then having a little breakfast of my own. Then, I went back outside to let the sheep on pasture, when, I noticed Duke and Laskah (LGD's) were no where to be seen. I gave my normal whistle but I still didn't see them. As, I was walking closer to the barn, I gave another whistle and then I saw them in the pen with the lamb (where they are not supposed to be) and they saw me and were jumping up on the gate for me to greet them. I was suspicous at that point. They had jump over the gate and were in with the lamb????? All of the sudden, I see one lamb down.... Oh, man......I ran to her....I was sooooooo mad at the two of them. I began to yell at them and became so angry. Maybe angry isn't even the word I am looking for... but then, I realized, I need to be there for the little lamb. I didn't want her to feel my anger. I saw her breathing slowly. What a sigh of relief. Alive! The fear in her eyes is something I will never forget. She was in shock, breathing heavy, and sweating. I ran inside to tell Caroline and to grab the hydrogen peroxide.  The dogs had grabbed a mouth full of wool and she had a bit of raw skin. Caroline and I, put some hydrogen peroxide on the wound and she began to try to get up. We urged her to stay calm and relax. We noticed that when we covered her eyes her breathing began to slow.  So, we covered her eyes with my coat and I went and got some alfalfa and Caroline grabbed some water. We stood her up and checked her other side of her body for any other wounds but there wasn't any and she stood without any issues. She began to eat some alfalfa and drank a little bit of water and we figured she probably wanted to be back outside with the other young girls. So, we decided to bring her back outside of the barn to the pasture. We brought her to where the other girls were feeding and she let out a baa baaaa. What a relief as she ran over to get re aquainted. But, she was in shock, as Caroline realized shortly. I went with Jonas (Caroline's sisters Charlotte's boyfriend) to the hardware store to get a couple of monkey wrenches to fix a leak on the gate valve next to the well.  Yesterday, I was checking out our irrigation possibilities with our well when I noticed that we had a pretty good leak. Thanks to Jonas handy plumbing skills we were able to get the issue resolved with no problems. While Jonas and I were at the hardware store, Caroline had been keeping an eye on the injured little lamb and had been noticing she was lagging behind the others and wasn't eating much. So, she decided to bring her back in the barn so she could keep warm , get feed, and regain some strength. After a few hours, she started eating on her own and was waiting patiently at the barn door to go back outside. She has been back out on pasture for the last few hours and seem to be doing better. Although, I feel she is still in a bit of shock as I am too.  Now, for the two LGD's. I was just thinking last nite...the dogs need more excercise. I routinely keep the dogs with the sheep. I keep them with the sheep at nite, although, they are in separate pens and there hasn't been any issues. During the day, I keep the dogs on the same pasture but tied up. I want the dogs to be where ever the sheep are. Then at the end of the day, I take them on a walk on leash of the property lines. Then, at the end of the walk I let them run and play and let them get out all sorts of energy.  Certain times through out the day, I will let the dogs loose in the pasture with  the sheep under my supervision. I allow the dogs to sniff the sheep and discourage any type of play. I also use this time to train the dogs to stay, come,  and sit. For the most part they have been very good. A few times I have noticed that when the young lamb get spooked and start to run it gets the dogs instincts to play going. I have disciplined them anytime I have seen this. The LGD's are only 9 mos old. It's said that it takes a long time to be able to trust an puppy LGD alone with the livestock ( 12-19 months) I have to be patient with them, stay strict on training them, and run them more. I will keep you posted as to how the young lamb progresses and how our training with the LGD's go.