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We had a Paws-itive Day

Thursday February 8, 2024


This morning we woke up in Lyttelton, New Zealand, which is the closest port city to Christchurch. Christchurch is at the base of the Southern Alps, and it is known as the "Garden City", partly due to a lush Botanic Garden. The city is still influenced by its English ancestry, including a Gothic Revival Cathedral.


However we didn't go there, we went instead to the Manderley Sheep Farm!



Manderley is a working sheep farm, that also hosts visits from tourists. The family was so gracious to everyone, including home made refreshments at the end of the tour. Manderley has 1600 sheep, and 100 beef cows, on a 300 hectare property in the hills of New Zealand.

They raise two types of sheep - Romney and Merino (shown below).




Our tour included watching the dogs herd the sheep, a short dog training session, observing the shearing process, and a delightful snack in the family garden.


Herding - I think this short video will give you a taste of what we saw:



There were two types of dogs involved in the herding. The dogs doing the herding were mostly border collie mixes, and there were also dogs called "barkers" who were black lab mixes. The role of the barkers is to provide some additional "influence" when the sheep are reluctant to move. Turns out sheep don't like being barked at!



Training: We also saw the owner training the barker pictured above, who has only been doing this work for awhile, and evidently still gets a little distracted when working.


And there was a puppy!!!!





Sheep Shearing:

Annually a team of professional sheep shearers come in and help shear all the sheep. The person in this video is part of the Manderley farm doing a demonstration, and he can shear about 50 sheep a day. The professionals can do 600 sheep a day! Once the wool is gathered they sell it, with the Merino sheep wool selling for more than Romney's.


sheep being sheared; a pile of wool


The family running the Manderley Farm live in this beautiful house where they served us a snack:




Traveling back to the ship Karen took some pictures of the local scenery. It is a beautiful area.



Tonight we will be having dinner at the Manfredi's (Italian), and tomorrow we visit Wellington.

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That puppy is a cutie! I’ve been listening to a podcast that talks quite a bit about the wide variety of uses for dogs on farms…and how some farmers mix breeds to get the characteristics needed for their specific needs, location, etc. Did they have Guardian dogs?

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No, they didn't mention Guardian dogs. But there is definitely lots of breed mixing and puppy selling going on.

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Puppy!!!!! 😍

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I could have just stayed there and played with the puppy and missed the rest of the visit. He was soooo happy, and wiggly, to have people giving him attention!!

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I want to volunteer our Hazel( a chaweenie , we think) she is an excellent barker. This skill has been under appreciated in our home. I now know there is a place for her but, unfortunately, New Zealand is too far away.

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I am floored just thinking about shearing 600 sheep in a day. Love the working dogs; they are so impressive.

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Seems great! I didn't know about them using different dogs for different jobs when herding. Very interesting.

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