Keepstone Farm

All Breed Herding Dog Training

 

 

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Dogs and Livestock for Sale

What We Have

In addition to herding dogs, Keepstone Farm has sheep, ducks, and cattle for training and trials. We also have Great Pyrenees dogs and llamas to protect the livestock from area predators, which are foxes, coyotes, and especially, at-large pet dogs.

Livestock Sales and Practice Sessions

We do sometimes have ducks, lambs, and dog-broke adult sheep for non-breeding situations, for sale. Additionally, we offer practice sessions with ducks, cattle, and sheep. If you are interested, please contact Susan for current availability and fees.

Now Selling Fully Trained Goosedogs and Duck Demo Dogs!

If you have Canada Goose problems, a goosedog may be the answer for you! Cathy Benedict has been in the goosedog business for almost 2 decades. She can give your dog a refresher course, teach it to swim, or sell you a fully trained goosedog. Contact her at 703-785-2803 or email Cathy.

Goosedogs

Sheep

A core flock of about 125-150 hair sheep is kept at pasture year round, with the number soaring during lambing.

Sheep in Pasture

Hair sheep, unlike wool sheep, have a summer coat of hair, not wool.  They also have the advantage of shedding their winter wool coats, needing no shearing. When they are shedding in the spring, they can look very bedraggled for a while. This is normal and no cause for alarm.

Shedding Sheep

In their slick summer coats, it is not uncommon for the uninitiated to mistake hair sheep for goats! Just remember that goats have upright tails, drooping ears, and beards. Sheep have hanging tails (or docked tails for hygiene), ears held out to the sides, and no beards. Also, both ewes and rams can have horns if it is a horned breed. The lamb pictured below is a sheep, not a goat.

Colored Lamb

The sheep are primarily Katahdin or a Katahdin/Dorper cross with some African, Painted Desert, St. Croix, or Barbados Blackbelly crossing also, and are of medium size. Sheep used for herding are the ewes and wethers (castrated rams), not the rams.

Our lambing season is late winter. During the late pregnancy of the ewes and while the ewes are nursing, so we suspend onsite trials for four months and the wethers step in full time for training. This gives the lambs plenty of time to grow before weaning and the ewes can regain condition (mothering lambs can be very draining) before returning to herding duty (training and trialing).

Dog broke sheep are occasionally for sale. Please contact Susan for availability.

Ewe and Twins

Ducks

After trying several different breeds, Keepstone decided that Swedish Ducks are the best for our purposes and we are now raising Swedish to replace our other ducks. Swedish are sturdy, heavy bodied, medium weight birds, flock well, and can't fly because of their weight.  They are sufficiently laid back for helping puppies learn herding, but are more sensitive to pressure than sheep and so are an excellent challenge for the experienced sheep herder.

ACD ducks

Swedish are listed as "Watch" on the The Livestock Conservancy's Conservation Priority List of heritage breeds.  They come in different colors: blue, black, splash, and white. So, although the ducks may be different colors, be assured they are all the same breed.  We do offer excess stock for sale, when available. If you are interested, please contact Susan.

collie ducks

Cattle (not for sale)

Keepstone maintains a small herd of cattle, just large enough for training stock dogs on cattle and for cattle classes. The herd is usually made up of Holstein, Angus, Black Baldy, and Belted Galloway. All of our cattle are acquired as calves and raised here on the farm. Susan regularly works the cattle as they grow and so they are dog-broke. Cattle work is not for every handler and dog, but we wanted to be able to offer the opportunity to those who have a dog that has what it takes to pursue this aspect of herding.

Bill

Livestock Guardian Dogs (not for sale)

To help protect the sheep and poultry from predators, Keepstone may have Great Pyrenees dogs in with some groups of sheep or poultry. Please don't enter these fields with your dog without checking with Susan, first.

Winston Turkeys

Guardian Llamas (not for sale)

To also help protect the sheep from foxes, coyotes, and at-large pet dogs, Keepstone has guard llamas living with some groups of sheep. Pet dogs allowed to roam cause the most sheep injuries and deaths for us. Please don't enter llama-guarded fields without checking with Susan, first.

LLama Louie  Louie and Corgi

keepstonefarm@gmail.com
Berryville, VA

Copyright Susan Rhoades. All rights reserved.