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Herding sheep with a drone that barks like a dog

Farmers in New Zealand have found a new way to herd their sheep. They are now herding sheep with a drone, the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise, outfitted with a speaker that barks like a dog. The farmers say that a single drone can do the work of multiple dogs. Check out the video below for the drone in action and some of the other sounds effects the farmers use.

Herding sheep with a barking drone

Very intelligent dogs, like Border Collies, for instance, have been used for ages by farmers around the world to herd livestock. The dogs are now facing new competition from drones introduced by farmers in New Zealand. Outfitted with a speaker the unmanned aircraft can even bark to direct the sheep in the right direction.

The farmers use the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise drone that can be outfitted with a speaker and play pre-recorded sounds such as the bark of a dog. Or a siren or anything else that might persuade the livestock to get moving. Watch the video for some interesting ones.

One Shepherd, Corey Lambeth, told Radio New Zealand that drones are surprisingly effective.

“That’s the one thing I’ve noticed when you’re moving cows and calves that the old cows stand up to the dogs, but with the drones, they’ve never done that,” he said. He later added that the drones move livestock faster, and with less stress than the dogs do.

The farmers use drones for more than just herding cows and sheep. They also use the unmanned aerial systems to monitor their land, check on their water and feed supplies, and to check on livestock without disturbing them.

For comparison, a 2-hour herding job that generally requires two people and two teams of dogs can now be done in only 45 minutes using a single drone.

Farmer Jason Rentoul told RNZ:

“Being a hilly farm where a lot of stuff is done on foot, the drones really saved a lot of man hours,” he said. “The drone does the higher bits that you can’t see [from the ground], and you would [otherwise] have to walk half an hour to go and have a look and then go, ‘Oh, there was no sheep there.”

The dogs still have some advantages

Rentoul continued to say that some dogs are already learning to work together with the drones.

“A good herding dog, he’s already figured out if the drones are working on that side, I’ll go over here [to the other side] and work over here,” he said.

The use of drones to herd the sheep doesn’t replace the dogs altogether. Obviously, dogs can keep going for much longer than the typical 20 minutes that a drone can stay airborne. Furthermore, dogs can work in inclement weather conditions when drones cannot.

“There’s definitely going to be places for dogs always on farm,” Lambeth said. “The one downside of the Mavic [drones] or anything electronic is you still need to bring them in and charge them.”

What do you think about this? Pretty creative isn’t? Using a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise that barks like a dog. Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo