WHO remembers marking lambs in the corner of a paddock, no yards, just Mum and Dad, the kids and a few good dogs to keep it all together?
For the Mullins family at Ripponhurst south of Hamilton it is a recent and pleasant memory.
When it came time to mark the dog-training mob on their small farm, Eumerella Park, which only has a wool shed and cattle yards – no sheep yards – Scott and Annie decided to do it in the corner of a paddock.
The couple run a livestock contracting business, Mullarway Agricultural, so they have all the portable gear necessary to do the job, but Scott thought it would be a good training exercise for their children and their Kelpies – Mullarway Turk and Silk.
“It was just an experiment so instead of setting up in the cattle yards, I thought we would set up in the corner of the paddock.”
Scott remembers his grandfather Vic Mullins marking lambs without yards in western New South Wales.
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Scott said marking the lambs onto grass was healthier for the lambs and the set-up point was close to a tap so he could wash the cradle afterwards.
Scottie, Annie, Nellie, 8, Clancy, 6, Hilton, 5, marked the 25 lambs while Turk and Silk held them and the ewes in the corner.
“We had the full team – they are all in training,” Scott said.
“Clancy was mustering on the motorbike, they just got the bike that day.
“Nellie was chief tag and Elastrator ‘putter-onnerer’,” he said.
“Annie was actually doing the de-tailing and the balls, I was doing the ear mark and Hilton was there under protest.”
And the prospects of getting future workers for Mullarway Agricultural from the Mullins brood?
“We’ve got some that are reluctant workers, but they’re cheap – at the moment they are working for Mars bars and milkshakes, so that is a definite plus.”
Scott said the Merino ewes in the training mob are familiar with the dogs after numerous training session, but he is convinced this had improved their maternal instincts.
“I think we can make Merinos better mothers by handling them with dogs – we do weaner education with cattle with dogs.”
As well as the livestock contracting business, Scott also runs sheep and cattle handling, ATV and chemical courses for district schools and RIST at Hamilton.
But as you can see from this photo, Scott doesn’t do all the training in the family. Some things are better taught by the kids.
Click here to see the video of the Eumerella Park 2017 lamb marking.