Friday, May 20, 2011

Sheep Doggies

Its Farm Fact Friday, today we are going to go to a sheep operation and learn about some working animals!

On many Range Sheep operations, (sheep operations that run all over the country side and rangeland. Here in the basin most operations have winter country, which is the desert or the low ground and then summer country which is up in the mountains, and spring and fall are spent moving from low ground to high ground.)

Since range sheep operations are ran over mostly unfenced public and private lands they require a herder to watch over the sheep and make sure they are not overgrazing the land and they are staying healthy. Sound like an ideal summer job? On a horse every day, living out of a sheep camp with a wood stove, nothing but your sheep, dogs, and horse for company, for very low wages?

A very helpful and needed animal needed in a sheep operation are a dog or usually dogs.

First there is the herd dogs, usually numbering around two or three per herd. These dogs help to keep the sheep grouped together and helps the herder keep the sheep out of dangerous places, ie: the roads.
These dogs are usually a border collie breed or another herding dog breed. They are usually very friendly, but some are standoffish.

Then many operations have guard dogs that actually stay and live with the sheep to protect them. A breed that is used is Great Pryneess (Don't know if spelt right). These dogs are raised with sheep from the time they are pups and the sheep accept them and ignore them. Notice the sheep in the background of this picture with the puppies?

They keep predators from attacking the sheep and will even keep unkown humans from approaching the sheep. There are other animals that are used for sheep protection such as mules, donkeys, and/or lamas. In the old days that is why many sheep herders had mules or donkeys, was for protection for the sheep. If you happen to be driving and see one of these dogs just walking around, then you will most likely happen to see some sheep close by.

These dogs are working and should be left alone. They are protective animals and if you let them do their job, they'll pay you no never mind. Some of these dogs are also very friendly. If you encounter a friendly one, just ignore it, they are not pets they are working animals and need to be treated as such.

Thanks for stopping by and learing about Sheep Doggies Today! Check back next Friday for another fun fact.

Thanks to my sister and mother for taking such wonderful photos!

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