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Guard Animals Guarding the homestead


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  #1  
Old 12/11/16, 06:35 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 635
Akbash chasing runty lambs away from hay

I've got a pair of small lambs left over that I didn't ship. They were way undersize, and frankly they are garbage lambs. One must be a mild birth defect with an odd face (reminds us of a piglet), the other I don't know why it ended up so small. However I hoped to get some growth out of them so I could eat them later this winter. I don't see any reason their meat wouldn't be fine to eat.

Since winter arrived and we started feeding, I noticed them both getting thinner and thinner, and coming back to the barn with wool pulled. Recently one was bleeding from a nip on the back leg. I thought magpies had been pulling wool as they often do on weak lambs.

Over the last week I've noticed my Akbash LGD has been cutting them away from the flock when I roll out hay. He pulls wool, chases and nips, even grabs and pulls them down, but quits once they are 20 yards away from the windrows. He just doesn't want these guys to have any hay.

He loves the rest of the sheep and spends his days with them, and they show no fear of him. He will herd them occasionally, sweeping up stragglers if the flock is moving, but he never nips or pulls wool.

What has gotten into him? Can he sense their weakness, does he want to use them as coyote bait? Does he think they aren't part of my flock?
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Old 12/12/16, 10:44 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Michigan's thumb
Posts: 15,887
If they are sick they smell differently, wrong. Pull the two lambs out and keep them in a barn, if you have one. They will have each other for company and be able to eat all they want.
nehimama, cfuhrer, RichNC and 1 others like this.
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  #3  
Old 12/12/16, 05:51 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 635
Yeah, I can put them in the barn. I did that for awhile, actually, but it's a serious pain at this time of year to supply water (being -25 or so, the window for liquid water is about 20 minutes) so I put them back with the herd so that they could use the watering bowls.

I don't think these lambs are actually sick, they are just runty lambs. He didn't bother them all summer, but now they are definitely different from the rest of the herd, who are all big old ewes.
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  #4  
Old 12/14/16, 01:30 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Michigan's thumb
Posts: 15,887
If you don’t want to separate the lambs, then somebody has to go. It’s really not fair to the lambs to be treated this way. The extra stress isn’t doing them any good. Either eat them or sell them.
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Nothing is as strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength - St. Francis de Sales
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  #5  
Old 12/16/16, 06:39 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 635
Solved this by spreading my hay out more. I usually roll 2 bales about 1 bales' width apart. All the hay and the flock are closely spaced. Now I am rolling them out further apart, and I also punt one of the cores down the hill a bit.

The main flock all line up on the windrows and the little guys chew on the core. The dog doesn't bother them as they are separate.

Once they eat it down more and start to spread out, they all just look like a loose flock, and I've seen the little guys munching amongst the rest. Everyone is happy.
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