Thursday, April 09, 2009

Livestock in the living room

Every year during lambing, I end up with orphan lambs (although husband Jim claims I am just as likely to steal a lamb as to wait for one to get lost). I love having bum lambs - they are lots of work, but it's all good. If they are ewe lambs, I keep them and put them in the herd when they are old enough. I swear I have one of the calmest, gentlest herds on the planet. A few ewes still in the bunch are bums from 10 years ago.

We had a big snowstorm hit at 4 p.m. yesterday, just before the bums were due to be fed, so I grabbed them out of the kennel and threw them in the house while I made bottles. Of course, the dogs had to come along as well. So this is what my work area/office looks like.

Rant, the yearling Aziat stud dog, has gone nuts over these lambs. If I make him get out of the kennel while the lambs are inside, he frantically tries to dig his way back in, crying the entire time. Fantastic natural guardian behavior.

Can you tell these are happy dogs? One of the lambs just loves Rant, and follows him around constantly. Rant hates to cuddle, but did tolerate this little one sleeping by his side:

After everyone had full bellies, it was nap time:


Anonymous said...


Is your aziat an import or U.S bred? I am just curious because it looks like his ears are cropped in the traditional way for dogs of his variety.


Cat Urbigkit said...

I purchased him from a Russian breeder, but his mother gave birth to him here in the states. His ears and tail are cropped. Myself and another sheep producer here in western Wyoming received four pups from the same litter (two males, two females). They are all with sheep.

Anonymous said...


I probably should have asked this the first time but what region do you aziats come from or what "type" do you favor? Ovtcharka's range fairly dramatically in appearance, do the various types very in temperament as well?


ironrailsironweights said...

If they are ewe lambs, I keep them and put them in the herd when they are old enough.

What happens to the males?

Those pictures are just amazing.


-Margory said...

Your dogs are so clean! Suspect since they are house dogs also?

Guarding dogs I see are just a fright (usually). Fascinating, still. Pretty much ghosts. I love how they observe my hounds (safely separate, fenced pasture) as they pass thru with their sheep.

Cat Urbigkit said...

First, Zac, I don't know enough about Aziats to know the differences since these four are our firsts. Either they work with sheep, or they don't get to stay in the breeding population. These pups are about six generations away from active sheep duty, but the female lineage came from Turkmenia to Russia, and the male side was from a herder in Tadjikistan. There are big differences in the personalities of the four, but all four love their sheep and are good guardians.
Peter, I probably should have put this in the post. The male lambs are sold in the fall. They eventually become American lamb sold in grocery stores.
Margory, these two dogs are spoiled, so they have to stay clean. I chase them with Febreeze and Adam's flea spray. If the dogs get too matted, we shear them like we do with the sheep. We get fleas a lot, and are good at trimming the dogs up. I must say though, with the amount of snow, and living next to a river, our guard dogs stay pretty clean.
(Unlike my living room carpet, I might add.)
Rena, the all-white Akbash, is an ambassador dog that I try hard to keep clean, since she visits schools and libraries. Rant is shedding like mad, which makes him really look clean as well.

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Anonymous said...

Please remove the last comment.
Anna Frumina