Wayne is the night time feeder of our sheep. Now that he is in Florida, I'm the night time feeder. We lock up our sheep in a barn at night. Yesterday when I went to feed them I was met at the fence line with hungry mouths ripping hay out of my arms, and stomping on my feet as I made my way to the barn.
Tonight was a different story. Yoko. I have 8 ewes and a moose of a wether that is like a guardian to the ewes. We call him Palomino. Yoko will usually zip down to the sheep pen and wait at the gate. I called her down this evening. She stopped short some 6 feet from the gate. She could already FEEL the pressure.
Whoa...did she have her work cut out for her. Three times they made it into the barn running over her. She kicked them back out, but obviously, is not used to this type of pressure. She never dove in with any cheap shots. She just wasn't sure she could hold off Palomino. They kind of pushed her aside a few times.
Every single time I work my dogs at the ranch I try to give them something different to work on and think about. Now up pops a great learning situation right in my own backyard. I'm banking that Yoko will do a better job tomorrow evening. We'll see. :0)
Next evening: Yoko did do a better job. The sheep weren't happy with her standing in the middle of the barn door. Yoko looked like a statue. If a bomb had gone off she wouldn't have blinked. I believe she was praying that palomino wouldn't run her down.
Third evening: Palomino ran her down, not once, but twice and then, three times. Yoko wimped out. Yoko wouldn't wimp out with cows or goats, but she has never cared for sheep. I was MAD at her. She knew it. We had a kind of come to Jesus meeting. All that did was make matters worse. She sulked. I could see her expression....screw you and screw the sheep. Bad night at Sheepy Hollow.
Next day, I decided, I do all my HARD ranch work with her mother. Kilt makes everything easy on the ranch. I need to let Yoko try to fill her mother's shoes. Or else, how is she going to learn? I let Yoko separate the goats from the sheep at Terry's this morning. Big Bertha and Billy were in the pen, too. I encouraged Yoko to "get in there." We have been working on not biting, but this was a time she could use her teeth. It seemed to bring her confidence back a bit. We actually got 12 sheep shed from the rest of the clan and out the gate to the field. This is a major undertaking every time we need sheep. They ALL want out to the field to graze. No one is happy being left behind. But, if the goats don't go, then the sheep don't want to go. It's a real conundrum.
Fourth night: Okay, I really goofed things up with Yoko on the third night by losing my cool with her. She felt defeated. So now I had to inflate her ego, get her back on track. I took her to the barn in the evening to feed with me like every other night. Only this evening, I brought a secret weapon...drum roll please...KILT.
The change in Yoko's attitude was immediate. I could see her look to the heavens and say, "Thank-you Jesus. MOM is here." She happily walked up to the sheep with her Mom. When Palomino busted through them and he did, Kilt whisked them off the hay and out of the barn. They tried a run at her one more time. I swear Kilt grabbed Palomino by the bum and swung him around in the air like a cartoon and then bit Buffy who has been confronting a good one on the head for good measure. The end. No one tried to run anyone over after that piece of work by Kilt. Gotta love the Kiltster.
P.S. I'd take Palomino to auction, but he is a defender of the our small flock. He acts as their guardian. Anymore trouble from him and I will have to rethink the situation.