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worming lambs, resting Zola

The toughest job of the year by far, for my sheepdogs is the first gather of the new seasons lambs. It’s the first time that lambs are moved as a flock, up until this point they just follow their mothers in their family group, and they can cause bedlam! In early May I need to pen the lambs to treat them against a nasty stomach worm called Nematodirus, and while they are in the pen they also receive a dose against coccidiosis and the first of two vaccinations. Timing is crucial as the  worm eggs hatch once the weather warms, if I’m too late it can be disastrous for the new vulnerable lambs.

The furthest field to gather at Borough Farm is a mile away, and there are numerous gateways to negotiate, followed by the path through the woods. At each gateway gangs of lambs turn back towards the field, and with no respect for the dogs try to run back to where they last saw their Mums. I had Fly and Alf with me, and it’s exhausting work for them, as each lambs which breaks away has to be turned individually, and by the time we reached the woodland path, the lambs were in riotous mood. Poor Fly and Alf had run themselves to a standstill, so imagine my moment of relief when Zola flashed into  the action.

Well it was only a moment of relief, as Zola is meant to be on kennel rest after her accident last month. She had heard the comotion of the lambs a mile away, and when my wife had opened the kennel door, she had forced her way out, jumped two gates, run through the field, and through the woods in order to lend her assistance. She arrived, limping slightly, desperate to help. Sadly for both of us, I had to put her on a lead and try to prevent her twisting and turning in the way which would further upset her damaged ankle joint.

Eventually we did manage to persuade the flock through the woods, and an hour and a half after the start of the gather, the sheep were penned and Zola returned to her kennel. Fly and Alf had a well earned rest and I was left pondering how vulnerable and ‘underdogged’ I am if one of the dogs is out of action.

Fortuantley I do have two new pups underway, I’ll tell you about those next time!

 

 

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