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Sheepdog Puppy Nell Enjoys First Christmas at Blenheim

A sheepdog puppy called Nell is enjoying her first Christmas with us on the Estate.

The seven-month-old border collie was chosen from a litter of 10 by our farm manager Charles Gerring to become the next generation of working sheepdog on the Estate.

Nell is the direct descendant of a sheepdog owned by a previous head shepherd which was given to Charles when he began working here in 1993.

Both parents, mum Jazz and dad Ben, are working sheepdogs on the Estate and Charles is now training Nell to join her parents looking after the 1,000 strong flock on the estate.

“Nell’s dad Ben has proved to be an excellent sheepdog and I have got high hopes she’s going to follow his lead, she’s definitely got the right genes for it,” said Charles.

“We have already been doing some training with the older ewes in a training pen and she is learning basic commands like go left and right and lie down – although trying to get a seven-month-old puppy to stop can be quite a challenge!

“She is also spending two days a week with my son Will socialising with the co-farmers at the Farmability charity, which is based here at Blenheim,” he added.

Both Charles, Nell and the other sheepdogs will be hard at work throughout the festive period, including Christmas Day.

The grassland of the ‘Capability’ Brown parkland provides near ideal conditions for the extensive flock to graze throughout the year.

We allow our sheep to give birth outdoors, in order to give lambs the best spring grass and nutrients they need.

Lambing here takes place later than on many farms because our Scotch Mule sheep are reared entirely on grass within the Estate’s walls, keeping them as naturally healthy as possible.