Sunday, April 20, 2008

Picnic Day

The UC Davis Picnic Day trial was really fun. Held on the college during a huge campus-wide open house, the trial was on an athletic field so the venue was pretty small. There were many hundreds, if not thousands of spectators passing by our area, though, many more than I was expecting. The college students are a real kick. The ski club even had a mini ski hill made of snow for people to slide down on saucers. Too bad I don't have a photo of that one.

The sheepdog trial offered us two runs, in a pro-novice style course. The first run was a right-hand drive, and the second run was a left-hand drive. The top three dogs from that made it to the "finals". Bid's and my first run wasn't too good and we never settled our sheep. I knew we were in trouble when the sheep jumped about six feet into the air on their way out onto the field. Our second run was much better, however, and we navigated the course and even penned. The sheep did not want to go into the pen because of the wall of hundreds of people lining the trial field, which they had to face at the pen and also at one of the drive panels. The spectators made the trial very interesting and challenging, despite the small field.

The UC Canine Genetics Lab is always doing something interesting. At the trial they asked the handlers if we would mind putting a collar on our dogs that held a GPS tracker unit. They also put one on each of the sheep in each run. These would transmit data on the movement of both dog and sheep which they can use later for their research on behavior and genetics.

Friday, April 18, 2008

April is the cruelest month (sometimes)

This week one of our nice young yearling ewes was killed by a mountain lion. The culprit has not been captured. The lion stole the ewe right out of the sheep's night pen which is right next to a house. It is pretty scary and brought back all the dread of last spring's months of coyote attacks and their aftermath.

UC Davis Picnic Day

Bid and I will be participating in an invitational sheepdog trial at the 94th annual UC Davis Picnic Day. It should be fun.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Lambs

Since it was a pretty day with lots of sunshine, I decided to get some photos of the new lambs that we have purchased recently. We added two ewe lambs and two wether lambs. This white one is a little Dorper x Barb ewe lamb.

This black and white lamb is a hefty girl, Dorper x Targhee, and half of a set of twins. She is definitely the feistiest of the bunch and was the hardest to photograph out in the field. I finally resorted to putting the sheep in the holding pen in order to get a decent photo of her. She may turn out to be a handful to work with the dogs when she gets a little older.

This guy is a Dorper x Barb wether. He is already a lot bigger than his mom.

Finally, the cutest of the bunch, a little Dorper x Barb wether. He has a matching white spot on either side.

This girl is not a lamb, but a yearling Dorper x Barb ewe that we bought last year. I couldn't resist getting her photo, though, since she is appears to be in desperate need of a springtime sheepish spa treatment!

The weather has been fantastic this weekend (although we really could use some more rain) and we enjoyed lessons with the trainer yesterday. Bid is doing some awesome work and I am so pleased with him and proud of his ability to grow in his work at his age. Coal is entering the Terrible Twos, so his handler needs to "ramp up" yet again. Just when I was having fun!