Thursday, October 28, 2010

How do we Handle Hundreds of Sheep?

You all know we have a whole bunch of sheep that graze around assorted fields near and far from our farmhouse. The sheep are pretty wild and trying to catch them when they are out grazing and enclosed only with temporary electro-net fencing is pretty darn near impossible. As our numbers of sheep and lambs have grown, so has our need for some better kind of way to corral the sheep for shearing, checking them over, and sorting. The Border Collies are indispensable at moving the sheep but they can't immobilize them!

This year we invested in a "mobile sheep handling unit." I know - just what you all want too! This thing comes from New Zealand. It is on wheels and it can be transported to the sheep on the trailer hitch of the pick-up. It is ingenious. On Sunday, we had to separate two ewe lambs from the lamb flock because we had a customer for breeding stock. The Farmer loaded up this thing and the dogs and I walked up the hill. Once we got it into the temporary fence where the lambs were, he took the wheels off.


After that, he started pulling on the first gate.


And voila, like an accordian folded piece of paper, we soon had a metal sheep corral.

In a matter of one minute, the dogs moved the sheep into the corral and our job was done. It was awesome. Boy - what a time saver for us.


In the past, we would have dragged multiple hog panels and metal fence posts to the field. Then The Farmer would have pounded the fence posts into the ground. Then we would tie on the wire hog panels to the fences. It would take forever. But this thing is darn amazing! In seconds it was up, we picked out the two sheep for the customer and loaded them into the customer's trailer. The unit folds back up quickly and now it is sitting in the driveway waiting for its next task. I know, some people have convertibles in their driveway. Not us, we have a "mobile sheep handling unit." You can read more about it on this website: Prattley sheep handling equipment from NZ.

8 comments:

Sally said...

So happy for you!!!! More time for stitching!

Auntie Shan said...

NZ!? A looong way to go to ship something that big from. Can't believe that a device as practical and simple couldn't be found a little closer to home. Then again, they DO have a LOT of sheep in NZ! [Been there, seen that!]

HEY! Now, you have something MOBILE to try that Grafitti Crochet Flowers thing on!! :-D

Gramma Phyllis said...

Leave it to the Kiwis to come up with something so ingenious. I've seen something similar (or maybe the same thing) at some herding trials. Glad it helps the Farmer do his job in a less time consuming manner. And allows you more time to create the things you make.

Paula said...

Now that is WAY cooler than a convertible!

Karen Smith said...

Very cool!! So happy for you and the farmer that something like that can make your lives so much easier! I'd be proud to have it in my driveway... if I had sheep. ;) Waaayyy better than a convertible & much more useful!

Kelley said...

That is absolutely amazing! I love gadgets that are ridiculously simple in concept and yet make such a difference in their application.

Penny said...

very very happy news! glad to find something that works well for you!

S said...

I would be so tempted to just start calling it the MOSH pit (MObile Sheep Handling Pit)....