Grazing the yards (and cygnet bedtime)

After a white frost to start the day, it was beautifully sunny, if rather windy.  We got off to a ragged start taking them out of Curly Sedge-- a very tricky gate with a right angle turn and infinite possibilities for sheep declining to follow each other out the gate (V1).  Into the lucerne for nice little graze, then through the main yards and into the laneway leading to the woolshed.  I recently had the laneway fence upgraded, and put a nice big gate into the waterhole--the one I call Willow Tree Pond.  This waterhole is the main source of stock water for the property, and has a permanent population of ducks and frogs.  The sheep were wary of the new gate, and it took a bit of persuading with the dogs at the back to finally get them to come in.  I tried singing to them, but it wasn't enough inducement.  We left them in the waterhole paddock for the afternoon, though they are free to come out and graze behind the woolshed or back into the yards.  Shortly, I'll go and pop them back through the gate into the Racecourse Grazing Area.  Days like today and yesterday are very useful circuits, in that they get the sheep grazing ancillary bits they wouldn't necessarily get to on their own, and also because it keeps the sheep off the main part of the Grazing Area for a few days, giving it time to regrow.  I'm hoping to keep the sheep in the Racecourse until shearing, the first week of September.  After shearing, they'll go onto the main part of the Lucerne Reserve for a few days, where the feed and shelter are the best I have.  The sheep are vulnerable to nasty weather once their 3-inch-long woolly coats have been removed.  We use "snow combs" at shearing time, which leave about ½ cm (¼ inch) of wool on the sheep, equivalent to about 2 weeks growth.  That helps mitigate the exposure risk.  If the weather is truly awful, I will "re-shed" the shorn sheep at night to keep them warm and dry. About 4 pm, I caught the swans putting the babies to bed--see video V2 at the end of the post ;-)

August 18, 2016
August 18, 2016
  P1: White frost start!

P1: White frost start!

A somewhat ragged start. Warning--some wind noise #whitegumwool #wgwshepherding

A video posted by White Gum Wool (@whitegumwool) on

Video V1 above

  P2: Another tricky set of corners to navigate. Safely into the main yards. Phew!

P2: Another tricky set of corners to navigate. Safely into the main yards. Phew!

  P3: Jeff and his friends enjoying the long grass in the yards.

P3: Jeff and his friends enjoying the long grass in the yards.

  P4: Into the waterhole via the new gate.

P4: Into the waterhole via the new gate.

Cygnet bedtime. #whitegumwool #wgwshepherding #wgwswans

A video posted by White Gum Wool (@whitegumwool) on

Video V2 above