Friday, December 21, 2012

Ranch Life

Jim and I had a little time to kill on our friend Pete's ranch today when we went to pick up our rams. I thought Q readers might enjoy a quick tour. The photo above provides the setting - a western Wyoming ranch, at the foothills of the Wind River Mountains.
Livestock guardian puppies awaken from their nap, while a one-day old kid goat naps nearby.
Guardian dog body language and attitude is demonstrated at an early age. This little goat was very well guarded.
This is the bonding pen. A group of rams inhabits the pen with the adolescent guardians and teaches the young dogs to always be good to sheep.
These are six-month old Central Asian Ovcharka/Akbash pups.
The ranch uses plenty of horse power, and almost exclusively draft horse - not saddle stock. Besides being the mode of transport for the herders, these horses pull wagons and feed the cattle.
A good-looking group of gentle giants.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful brief photo essay, Cat. Thank you.

Daniel R.

Cat Urbigkit said...

Thanks much Daniel!

Unknown said...

Cat, love these photos, and your book which I bought from Amazon. Here's what may be a dumb question--if a sheep dies of natural causes out there on the range, will a livestock guardian dog eat it once it is dead? Or does the bond and the drive to guard inhibit natural instinct? (cf my own blog post Mary Ann

Cat Urbigkit said...

Mary Ann, I love your blog! I started reading it when Steve mentioned it earlier this fall.

A dead sheep is always an issue. The dogs will try to guard it, sometimes for days and days, without eating it. If a raptor manages to open up the carcass, then the dogs will generally feed on it.

We have so many predators (and such a variety of predators) that we generally can't leave a dead sheep anywhere. We simply can't have a predator attractant like that.

I did have a female Central Asian Ovcharka that would hide next to any carcass (sheep, deer, whatever) and wait for a predator to approach. She was a lethal girl and seemed to enjoy getting the jump on unsuspecting predators. She killed a lot of coyotes.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your kind words, Cat. Means a lot coming from a real writer! As for coyotes, my deerhounds seem to have a natural hatred of them and woe to any who jump over our 5 foot fence into the yard. Usually they're smart enough to jump back out quickly. But I never have trouble with gopher holes in my horse pasture or rabbits eating my grass the way the neighbors do. Love the fact that the hunting instinct is well retained despite centuries of domestication. Mary Ann

Anonymous said...

No doubt any livestock being accompanied by those pups is well protected--any intruder bent on mayhem would no doubt be rendered completely helpless in seconds, overcome by an acute attack of CUTENESS!....L.B.