Question reg moving LGDs to different pastures

Schatzl

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Hi All!

We are in the process of purchasing 60 acres "kind of" adjacent to our current sheep pasture (I will have to fence it so that I can use gates across a dirt road to move them around). They are protected by 2 GPs. My question is, how well do the LGDs take it when they are suddenly moved around after being in the same 20 acres for the last 2 years. Can they adjust? I already must hotwire the whole fence, because one is a jumper. I'm thinking that we will be bringing the sheep home to the barn each night, if that makes any difference. I'm only into my 3rd year of having sheep (I started with 5 ewes, which have grown into 20 after two breeding seasons) Any insights or advice is much appreciated! :)

I read that us newbies are tagged as herdlurkers - ha! I will wear the title with pride!
 

Baymule

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60 acres is definitely bigger than 20 acres. What about setting up hot wire to make smaller pastures to contain them and give them time to adjust to the new space?. I would plan on being in the pasture with them for the first couple of days. What kind of fence is on this 60 acres and will it hold your dogs? A hot wire around it sounds like a good idea.

Welcome to the forum!
 

Latestarter

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Greetings and welcome to BYH. I'd make sure the fencing on the new place was sound before moving them. From what I understand, LGDs and predominantly GPs tend believe that everything they can see is theirs to be protected and since you already know you have a jumper, without fencing and hot wire, the dog might think it's time to go check all it's new territory out... every square mile of it. Other than that, I would think they'll go where the sheep go and adjust along with them. When I moved to my place, I took mine for a walk along the fence lines a few times so he'd know the perimeter.
 

Schatzl

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Thank you for your replies! About 10 of the ppty is adjacent so I will fence that in first ... that way they'll see the world is a little bigger than what they've known. The other 50 is unfenced. I'll have to wait and see how long it takes before I can cross fence that pasture with electric fencing after the border is up. The upside to having to put it all in myself is that I can choose exactly where I want it and make sure it's done right, the downside is, of course, it all takes time and money. Oh well, my GP boys, aptly named Smith and Wesson, will have more room to roam soon enough! :)

Since my sheep mentor is off traveling most of the time now, it is so nice to have a place to ask questions. You'll probably be hearing from me a lot more ... thanks again!
 

Sara Ranch

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I am still training my GP. In the beginning, I took them for leashed walks in the pastures (along the borders) and then I let them run free in the pastures.

They have been excellent at finding escape routes/paths. Things I didn't see.

When the times comes to have sheep (almost there!) and goats (almost there!) they should feel comfortable in all of the pastures.

Are you able to take them for walks to the new acres now? On leash or by your side?

Can you put in posts where the portioned off section would be to help the GP envision the new turf?
 

Schatzl

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Once the fences are up I will definitely walk the perimeter with them but they are not really the "take for a walk" kinda' dogs.

They are very friendly, allow us and the vet to handle them and accept being locked up while I'm working with my herding dogs (3 BCs) but I haven't worried too much with them beyond that. My dogs got "on-the-job" training ... they have been with the sheep since they were 2 months old. At first I kept them in a separate stall, letting them out only under strict supervision so the sheep wouldn't hurt them, as they grew I would let them spend the days with the sheep and then separate them at night. As soon as they were about as large as the sheep I opened up the stalls so they could all snuggle together (I only had 5 ewes then). They haven't left their little world since they were small enough (and clean enough!) to both fit in the truck cab, plus I found it's a lot easier and less stressful for them to just pay the barn-call and have the vet come to them like I do for all the rest of my critters.
 

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OK then... how about this... Are your sheep "treat trained"? You know, grain in a coffee can that you shake to make noise they can hear and come running? If not, that's the first step. Get them trained to come running for treats. Next, after the fencing for the new area is in place and you're ready to open it for sheep/dog use, get that can and commence to shaking and walk the sheep around the inside perimeter. The dogs should follow along. Couple of trips around and they should all settle in nicely :D

Just a thought... you really should consider getting them trained to accept a harness and get them used to being on a lead. If anything should ever happen to one of them that they need immediate vet care, where you have to get them there, you'll wish that you had introduced them to it. I and many other LGD folks here take our dogs to TSC or the farm store every so often just to make sure they get some socialization and used to vehicle trips. You never know when that might be needed. But I understand :)
 

BrendaMNgri

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:popUntil I am blue in the face I will say it over and over again: fence your property first, not last.
Don't even try to run your dogs over there yet. And what's this road that cuts the property in half?
I assume it has vehicles on it? Traffic? o_O I assume you'll be perimeter fencing so the dogs can't just wander
onto that road, right????

Socialize and handle your dogs adequately enough so that you can catch them when needed. They don't
'self train' - you have to be part of this, too.

Or pay for it later.

Good post @Latestarter .
 

Southern by choice

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About 10 of the ppty is adjacent so I will fence that in first ... that way they'll see the world is a little bigger than what they've known.
Since it has already been established that you will be doing the fencing first the test is more about knowing your dogs.
Typically the livestock have a harder time adjusting, sheep tend to not care as much, nor meatgoats... dairy goats are a different animal altogether. :rolleyes:
If they have lived their whole life in one area and are not use to being moved about. Just a heads up- in cases like this we see parasitic blooms that go un-noticed. Just watch for that. We have clients that move their animals twice a year... have identical barns in each field, the field is divided by a path for the tractor to get through... each time they move them they end up with a bloom. So your initial move may cause this... once it becomes routine you shouldn't have issues with it. :)

As far as the dogs go some LGD's are very territory oriented and don't cope being moved to a new field, however they will adjust but these are the types you may want to make sure you are around that weekend. A good stable LGD will have no issues with the transition. They will soon learn your routine of going back and forth. Hopefully you will have some kind of lean to, shed roof something for sudden severe weather. Not sure- some sheep want shelter some could care less...
They are very friendly, allow us and the vet to handle them and accept being locked up while I'm working with my herding dogs (3 BCs) but I haven't worried too much with them beyond that. My dogs got "on-the-job" training ... they have been with the sheep since they were 2 months old. At first I kept them in a separate stall, letting them out only under strict supervision so the sheep wouldn't hurt them, as they grew I would let them spend the days with the sheep and then separate them at night. As soon as they were about as large as the sheep I opened up the stalls so they could all snuggle together (I only had 5 ewes then)
:thumbsup good for you! Glad you were wise in protecting them as tiny pups! So sad how many do not do this and the 8 week old pup gets killed.

They haven't left their little world since they were small enough (and clean enough!) to both fit in the truck cab, plus I found it's a lot easier and less stressful for them to just pay the barn-call and have the vet come to them like I do for all the rest of my critters.
Being able to have your dog jump in the truck or car is very important.
If your dogs trust you they will do this easily and no real need to go places here and there with them.
We generally have vets come too... but when there is an emergency and we have to take the dogs in... that is where it counts.
 

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