We live and work on a big sheep ranch in Alzada, MT. We are in the southeast corner of MT about 13 miles west of the state line. We have roughly 2400 head of range sheep. We hope to build this to 2500-3000 head in the next few years and possibly raise cattle as well. Dealing with range sheep and dealing with our show sheep are 2 very different things. The dogs have had to learn to come in with a bite and show who is boss from the start to even get these sheep to consider listening to them. Also it has been hard to keep our hands off the ewes and lambs. With our show sheep it is very much a hands on deal, with these range ewes you leave them alone. Hard for me to deal with after used to being at every birth that I could be. All of our animals have adjusted to the move out here and are enjoying their new life. Us, well we are adjusting slow but sure. It is a very different way of living than we are used to. We have 55 miles of perimeter fence that needed/needs repaired every year and that does not count interior fence. We have shearing, docking and shipping which are all busy times of the year. That takes a while as instead of 100 ewes that we had, we now have 2500 head. Haying over 400 acres takes a while as well, a lot different than our 50 acres back in OH.
Our ranch is unique in that the majority of ewes stay out on 15 sections of BLM called the breaks. We do not see them from the time we let them out there(DEC) to when we bring them back to the ranch in April for shearing in late April/May. We keep only the replacement ewe lambs around the ranch that get fed daily during the winter. We have guard dogs with them and check on them daily at chore time.
So life here is never dull!! The dogs are loving the working and playing. The hardest part of all of this has been leaving our families and friends. We miss them all very much.