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Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Thursday, August 5, 2010


In the middle of cattle country are two of neighbors who run sheep
as well cattle. The two bands of sheep are just as different from each
other as the owners are. This flock in the photos above and just below
are usually spread out somewhat and seem more relaxed and content.
The other ranch's sheep are always tightly packed and move in
one big wave. The really odd thing about it is that at times the two
different flocks might be in pastures just across the road from each
other and still behave that way.
Both of these ranches have had a tough time with predators this summer.
There are predator problems year long with coyotes but this spring and
summer have been especially bad. Losses of lambs have been high.
The government hunter has been called out several times to help elminate
or reduce the problem.

In addition to the vigilance of the ranchers and the government
hunter, other methods are employed to help detour the coyotes.
One ranch has a pyrennes dog who watches over their sheep. The
other ranch is using llamas who are pretty effective. I think the llamas
are pretty interesting although I wouldn't want one around. When these
two are on watch they each face a different direction so they have a
full range of view around their sheep.


Shirley said...

I wonder if they use border collies on the group that bands together; is that the one that has the Pyrenees dog? I love the composition of the first photo.

fourwilkies said...

Interesting how they are so different. Wonder if they are the same breed.

Sarah said...

That is interesting that the two flocks behave so differently. It has to be a breed thing, or at least I'd assume so. My in-laws ran sheep up to about a year ago or so. They used a couple of Pyranese. Always thought it was so neat how dedicated those dogs were to their sheep. And pretty effective too.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sheep are curious creatures indeed. I sold my Navajo Churro sheep this Spring because I found that I don't like the greasiness and coarsenss of the wool. Instead I process and handspin my Angora goat and llamas, which have greaseless, fine, soft fleece.
Llamas are great! Gentle, friendly, beautiful, funny, and awesome protectors. I've watched them chase and attack a stray dog that broke into our paddocks. That dog was squealing in terror!