Lesson in sheepdogs
A good sheepdog is an essential part of any sheep farm and many of the travelling group were interested in seeing working dogs.
Julie Hill and Bobby Henderson run Carcant Farm in Herriot, about an hour southeast of Edinburgh. Both are well known in sheep trialling circles having won many of the major titles in Britain and Ireland.
Up to 400 North Country Cheviot ewes are run in two flocks on the 239ha upland farm. Lambs are sold as stores with most ewe lambs kept for replacements. The flock is run traditionally with the stocking rate at a sustainable level that keeps inputs to a minimum. The farm is in an environmental scheme similar to the AEOS scheme. The farming income is supplemented by training sheepdogs, giving clinics, giving individual tuition to handlers, and selling dogs.
Both Julie and Bobby gave an excellent demonstration using pressure/release techniques enabling communication through body language.
Using dogs at different stages of training and age, they both demonstrated introduction to sheep, driving in a square, penning, natural flanking, shedding and look back.
Julie and Bobby have developed a second enterprise on the holding that complements the sheep farm and brings in additional income at leaner times of the year. The visit provided food for thought for some of the Mayo group. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.