Meet Bella Donna, or Bella, one of my herding border collies! She is my adrenaline junkie! Always quick, always moving and fun to watch.
I start each morning by doing a health check on my ewes and ewe lambs. Bella’s job is to herd them into a small herding area where I can check their feet, their eyes, and general overall health (I’ll talk more about my daily health checks in another blog). This is Bella moving into the herding area. The trick with sheep is to keep pressure on the back, but also to keep the front part of the flock moving. Sheep are not like cattle where the back animals push the front animals. You have to keep both sections moving and Bella does a good job of this.
After I check the ewes and make sure every girl is ready to go out to pasture for their daily grazing, Bella brings them back out of the holding area and moves them to the alley gate that leads them to the field. I ask Bella to hold them at the gate, then she should calmly walk them forward so no ewe gets pushed around going through the gate.
Then, Bella takes them through the alley way, which is actually a small field to a more open field that we have sectioned off with predator-proof electric woven wire. The sheep will spend their day grazing safely, then at dusk we’ll be back to round them up, count them and move them into their night lot for a re-health check and to keep them from attracting coyotes. This is absolutely my favorite part of the morning, watching Bella move the sheep into their lot. She does it pretty quickly, quicker than my other herding dog, Balou that you’ll meet tomorrow. Here is Bella moving the sheep up the hill to their grazing lot and then through the gate. Job well done, girl!