As I get older, I am realizing that I need to work smarter – not harder.
We have a good working system for catching and doing routine maintenance on the sheep. I make little adjustments to it and buy better gate panels as the budget allows, but it still means a lot of hands on work.
This last weekend at Black Sheep Gathering, I had the opportunity to use a piece of equipment that would make sheep work much easier…
It is a 3-way sort made by Shaul’s. I love their equipment and you couldn’t ask for nicer people.
I was asked to do a herding demo at Black Sheep Gathering and I said ‘yes’ and then it hit me that the area wasn’t very big and what was I going to do, besides walk around and around and around in a circle. A week before the event I called Susan at Shaul’s (they are a regular vendor at BSG) to see if they would be willing to help me with the demo and set up a working system. She said ‘absolutely’ and had several ideas.
The idea is you can have a big group of sheep in one pen and sort them into 2 or 3 different pens. For the demo, we sorted them into 2 pens. As I was moving the sheep through the chute, the scenarios were running through my head – this would work great at breeding time to sort the different breeding groups without having to touch the sheep, weaning time, shearing time, routine maintenance, sorting sheep off that have been sold, sorting sheep off for potential customers to look at, on and on and on. So many possibilities!
The sheep figured it out pretty quick and Kate had no issues going through it! Thank you Joan for the great pictures.
I went back on Sunday to make my equipment purchase of the year and it was GONE!!! Somebody else saw all of the possibilities as well! Luckily they are going to be back in the area at the end of September and will have one just for me on that trip. I am so excited!!!
The other tool that has made sheep work easier, is much smaller, but has been invaluable several times in the last week.
A shepherd’s crook. How have I had sheep for this many year’s without a shepherd’s crook???
This is what I asked for, for my birthday and my sweet husband came through for me! My friend, Joan, gave her’s rave reviews and I have to agree.
We sheared the rams today and I used it to move them to the barn. They started veering away from the barn door and I was able to stick the crook out and all of a sudden, my arm was 6 feet longer! The crook part can also be used to catch lambs, which I am looking forward to this next lambing season!
What makes your sheep chores easier?
How exciting about the 3-way! That is a really nice piece of equipment, hopefully your demonstration helped with the sale of that! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the pictures. The first one you used was my favorite. It’s so crisp… Obviously working in “Manual” is paying off. 😉
Hi, Shannon- Your herding demo was great! I was so impressed with how low and slow Kate worked. I have gate envy, but have had a crook for years and wouldn’t want to be without. Good for reminding rams how far back you want them too. But there’s nothing manufactured that I would rather have than a good dog. Betsy is the best farmhand here.
That is one great piece of equipment!! I have been thinking about doing a post requesting suggestions for setting up a farm…if we end up getting that 10 acres of raw land, I want to do it right (and try and cut down my work load!). I have had a crook for over 20 years…it is the one thing I rarely go down to the barn without…arm extensions are great! 😛
A crook, absolutely. And I could see a lot of possibilities with nice pens like that. Currently we cram everyone in a 14×14 pen and try to work in there. With all Jacobs that would be fine, but you wouldn’t believe how many times a Cotswold will try to come back through the de-wormer “line”. And if you aren’t giving them the attention they want, they start biting you, chewing on your hair clip, pulling the elastic pulls on your polar fleece top… Sigh.