Sunday Dog Walk

Home from university once again. After all, nothing beats spending the weekend relaxing in a cosy farm house with unlimited cups of tea and home cooked meals.

Home from university once again.

After all, nothing beats spending the weekend relaxing in a cosy farm house with unlimited cups of tea and home cooked meals.

I spent my Sunday afternoon in typical style; taking our two hard working border collies, Polly and Becca, for a run around the fields with my boyfriend.

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Polly, Ryan and Becca in view of Pendle Hill

They are a fairly new addition to the farm, as for a while we did not have any working dogs. However, they are as good as gold and I could not imagine life on the farm without them.

Polly is my favourite of the two, possible because she is extremely loyal and clingy. She is simply an attention seeker who loves everyone she meets, expecting cuddles whenever she wants them.

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Polly mid cuddle

In comparison, Becca is more independent and quiet, which isn’t surprising given that she is the younger of the two and more inquisitive. Yet she can be stubborn and ignorant, in that she is happy to entertain herself with water or rolling in the ground rather than simply running on ahead.

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Becca playing in what is the worlds smallest puddle!

As they are both pretty crazy and full of energy, it is almost impossible to get them both in the same photograph!

Here was my best attempt and I feel it captures their personalities perfectly: Polly craving attention and Becca playing with a stream, not paying any attention to me at all.

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Becca (Left) and Polly (Right) with me

After 20 minutes of letting them run around the empty field, they were tired out and ready for a rest. As we approached the gate, Becca spied the sheep in the nearby shed and her herding instincts started to kick in.

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Nearly home!

After feeding the dogs in their newly built kennels which they got for Christmas, I quickly checked on some pregnant sheep to make sure they were all okay before heading off home.

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All safe and well

And that was how I spent my Sunday afternoon, walking our dogs on the family farm and checking the pregnant sheep that will be lambing come late February/Early March.

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AS A SIDE NOTE: If you are walking your dogs in the countryside over the next coming months, it is CRUCIAL that they are kept on a lead near ALL livestock!

Nothing aggravates me more than seeing sheep wounded and stressed because of peoples’ pure ignorance that ‘their dog would never attack a sheep’.

Research by SheepWatch UK showed that more than 15,000 sheep and unborn lambs were killed in 2016, with many more injured.

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and Protection of Livestock Act 1953, the owner or person in charge of the dog who is worrying sheep on agricultural land is guilty of an offence and could be sentenced up to two years imprisonment as well as face destruction of the dog.

Farmers may also ‘shoot a dog which is attacking or chasing farm animals without being liable to compensate the dog’s owner’.

If livestock is nearby  PUT YOUR DOG(s) ON A LEAD.

It is not a big ask!!!

Respect the countryside and its inhabitants.

Sheep worrying promotional sign updated

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Scanning Sheep

The alarm went off. It is 5:00AM. Despite the strong urge to hit the snooze button, I dragged myself out of bed and shoved on as many clothes as possible. Why?

The alarm went off.

It is 5:00AM. Despite the strong urge to hit the snooze button, I dragged myself out of bed and shoved on as many clothes as possible.

Why?

Because it is time to go scanning.

Now, I am presuming most of you reading this will not be from a farming background and so may not know what I mean by ‘scanning’.

Scanning is when sheep undergo a pregnancy ultrasound; the process does not hurt the sheep and allows farmers to determine how many lambs each sheep will have, making management of stock simpler and more efficient.

As scanning often takes places 10-15 weeks after the tup (male sheep) has been introduced to the flock, it usually happens around Jan/Feb time. Hence the need for layers!

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Frosty morning view from the Landrover Defender

My job for the morning was fairly straight forward: keep the sheep coming!

This involved running around the sheep and shooing them up the race; imagine me flapping my arms like a chicken to generate enough movement and noise to get them to move.

Whilst it was quite a repetitive task, it kept me warm, something my toes, which were starting to feel the frost, were glad about.

All the sheep we gathered for the occasion were scanned within three hours and had fairly successful results; most would be having twins or triplets.

Collectively their wool was an array of colours, with each marking representing when they are likely to lamb (green = early as that is the colour of the teaser tup) and how many lambs they will be having.

Next we dosed all the sheep, sorted them into the correct colour groups and herded them back into the fields, all in time for breakfast.

Yet we still have more sheep to scan, and I have a feeling lambing time is going to be a very busy time indeed!

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