This has been my philosophy on setting up a good working system for the sheep. Each year I buy a few more panels or a new gate to add to what we have in the barn. Every year we redo the system to take advantage of the new piece of equipment and make it a little better. This year I added another piece of equipment and it didn’t make it a little better…it made it a LOT better!
Here, Amber is modeling the new 3-way sort chute that I picked up at Oregon Flock and Fiber. I had the opportunity to use it while doing the herding dog demonstration at Black Sheep Gathering and was hooked. We rearranged the barn and worked it into our system.
Delight is demonstrating how the sheep should walk single file through the alley into the small pen. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. At first they don’t want to go and then it is like you opened a flood gate and they are all running at once.
The barn is set-up with several areas that go from big to small. We can have the barn completely open for them or we can shut gates and move them from one area to the next until they are in a pen that is appropriate for the number of sheep we are working. I vividly remember the good old days of running around trying to catch sheep…running around and around out in the pasture. Ah, such fun it was 😉
This way is so much better – for us and them!
We have the 3-way chute set-up so we can sort the sheep into 3 separate pens. It can also be used as a squeeze – very useful for routine sheep care. This wouldn’t be possible for big breeds, but it works well with our jacob sheep.
It will take a few more times of working the sheep through the system to get a really good feel for it, but I am envisioning so many possibilities.