Friday, January 21, 2011

Brains and Brawn

Tuesday I went to clean stalls. Bruno accompanied me. He has decided lately, that he should be spending more time in the house watching over me, than out back, so Cletus stays outside, which is his choice. It makes it convenient, as it is impossible to train the pups when they are together. I just wasn’t prepared for how intelligent these dogs really are.

Bruno’s habit, when we go out front, is to walk off out of sight, while I beg him to come back. Not anymore. Two trips to the barn on a leash, now he heels so close he pushes me off course, OFF leash! He met the goatlings and suddenly, he is a total Livestock Guardian Dog. It has been difficult to get him out of the stall, as he plants himself between goats and gate, a formidable opponent for any predator.

Prissy, as usual is being a TOTAL drama queen. She will NOT let the babies nurse and it has been necessary for me to milk and strip her twice a day. This takes both Randyman AND myself, with her head locked in the stanchion. I have never seen anything kick quite like she does. We brought “Sonny”, the buckling home and put him in a playpen, to spend the day trying to get him drinking from a bottle. Bruno followed me home with him and spent some time in the house with us again. Sonny figured out bottle feeding pretty nicely, then also figured out how to jump on and off the furniture. Cider desperately wanted to give Sonny a ‘lickin’ but Bruno snarled at him, and made him step aside and keep his distance. Up until that moment, Bruno had ALWAYS been submissive to Cider. The two little does remained with Prissy, I was hoping they would be able to nurse. Bruno returned to the barn and spent the night with them.

This morning at 5 a.m. (which was MUCH too early for me, as we were at a ‘Company Party’ last nite, which the boss put on for crew, on his own birthday) Scarlett had twin does. She did a good job, and handled things all on her own. Bruno and I only assisted in drying them off. Again, Bruno planted himself in the straw, wanting to stay with the new little family. I convinced him he could just lay in the aisleway, and I returned to the house, to feed the first 3.

Cletus, well, Cletus still acts like a big puppy, which he is. When he sees Bruno, Cider and myself walk by, he begins howling, and doesn’t stop until I return. He doesn’t mind being alone as long as he thinks I am in the house, but he doesn’t want to be left behind either. Nevertheless, it is HIS job to guard the remaining sheep and calves. He’s just not mature enough and ready to guard young stock.

The wind totally flipped the sheep’s shelter over so I went out to disassemble it, hoping we can get it back together. The ram was making me nervous, following me much too closely and enthusiastically everywhere I went. I managed to get them into the next corral, hoping they would be happy munching on some weeds in there. Cletus went with me, and he just kept going til he got to the barn. That was the last I saw of him. When I stepped back into the first corral to work on the shelter, the sheep came thundering at such high speed I couldn’t shut the gate. I managed to lock them in the chicken pen, where Wooly proceeded to get abusive to Pet-ewe-nya. As she took a couple of blows and tried desperately to avoid him, I noticed the size and shape of her in comparison to him. It looks to me like “Tooney” is pregnant! I am hoping for an early March baby. Looks like Bruno is gonna have his hands full this summer!


  1. Bruno's instincts that were developed thousands of years ago have been awakened with the birth of baby goats. These dogs love baby goats and lambs. They are in LGD heaven with babies jumping and playing "king of the mountain" on the dogs while they watch over their charges. Blessings, Linda

  2. yeah, its an awesome thing to see! I hope Cletus reaches the level of Bruno soon, as he just wants to play with them still.

  3. Hi! Love reading about your life. I have a little northeastern version of it with everything a lot smaller. ; > Still some of the same feelings and then dealing with snow storm after snow storm, tractors that won't start, livestock, and even 2 Maremmas to guard our goats. Where did you get yours? Mine are from Windance Farm in NY. They are a year old and about to experience their first kidding season. I have 4 pregnant does and I'm curious how it's going to go. Both dogs are really good with the stock and that's mostly because we got them partly trained at 9 months. Thanks for such a great read!!! I'll be back to read more. -Kathrin

  4. I got them from a breeder in Oregon. This was our first season for goats AND pups. Bruno handled it well...they are good with the babies, but I don't leave them in with them unsupervised unless there is a partition, o but its just a precaution cuz they might want to play, Thanks,and good luck!