31 July 2006

Sheep in the pasture

Today was Bob the Dog's first full day on duty.

The sheep and Bob were left in the small pen for the day, and Bob barked goodbye as I drove off to work.

When Union Guy and I got here tonight, the three sheep were still in the pen ... and Bob the Dog was not. He was sitting on the ground, like a guardian sphinx, just outside the gate. I have no idea how he got out, but he did it ... and then sat there, guarding his animals. This is very cool.

The Boy and I had previously put in most of the t-posts we need for our perimiter fencing, but the fence itself had not been unrolled and attached. Union Guy and I did a 'quick and dirty' perimiter fence tonight: the fencing is all unrolled and 'tacked' to the posts, although it is not tensioned or even tied well at the bottom. It's a "suggested boundary" that wouldn't keep a determined critter either in or out, but with 6 acres of enclosed grass just waiting to be eaten, I do not think the sheep are very interested in escape. I let them out to graze every day, and they have gotten the hang of their 'grazing area'. They will wander off towards the road if they happen to follow a path of their favourite weed that meanders down into the ditch, but when they hit a fence, they just turn and follow it along. Now, with Bob out there with them, I am not very worried. They could still run off, I suppose, but nothing's likely to spook them with Bob there. :)

For the record, we will be tightening the fences in the next week, so this is just a temporary measure. I keep looking out the window to see how everyone is, and they are all together and seem quite content.

Bob followed us around as we worked - it was actually a really good way to show him where the boundaries are. He marked territory (including the tire of my truck...) and kept one eye on the sheep as he wandered. He seemed to know right away that the fences are the 'edge': he ran up to the fence, then followed it for awhile, then came back in to the center.

We put straw in the new sheep shelter, and fed them their grain in there tonight. They were a bit confused, thinking they were supposed to go in the pen (which they can't get into now) ... but they came when I called them (after they saw the grain bucket!), ate their oats, then wandered off to the hill to graze some more. Bob just follows them around, and lies down when they find a place to nibble on grass. He is the picture of equanimity, just keeping an eye on things and staying nearby.

So far, so good. I think this was a good idea.

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