Posted by: 347bennetrd | February 22, 2010

Drafting ewes out the back

A big mob of ewes were put out to the backblocks, but in doing so we noticed there were quite a lot of lambs amongst them.  So, using the tractor we pulled our Prattley yards – a set of portable yards – up to the lane leading into Dead Cow Gate.  Dad set up the scrim (a long piece of light canvas that you can use as a portable fence) partway down the lane and off we set to muster the paddock.

Its a huge paddock – 80 hectares!  I started at the top and got Bronc to bark and start the sheep moving down towards the bottom gate and lane.  I had to wade through tall snow tussock and clamber up and down ridges.  As we would approach a small group of sheep, Bronc would get over-excited so Dad suggested I hook his front paw into his collar.  This slowed him up just nicely and meant he stayed behind me as he should.  Blue did a good job tidying up little mobs that tried to escape the inevitable flow downwards.  Eventually all 1940 ewes and extra stray lambs made it down to the bottom and were contained by the scrim.

This is when we set up the Prattley yards.  There is a central drafting race that functions like a trailer – with removable tyres.  Gates that pin together  are stored on the sides and we pulled them out to create a pen to chase the ewes into.  Then Nick let all the ewes run through back into the paddock and drafted the lambs to the side while Dad and I pushed the sheep up from behind.  I had to patrol the wire fence on the left side as its quite an old one and if too many sheep press up against it, the just pop straight through!

Lovely day to be out in the back blocks…



  1. man … this is a fabulous read. i’m definitely going to have to get better at checking what you’re up to

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