June 6, 2011

Sheep are Stupid

In the move "Babe" the mice say "Sheep are definitely stupid" and would have to agree.

Today I came home from work, Jordan and I change our close and headed down to check on everyone and feed the sheep. We've been checking more frequently because lambs are due this month and Notag has utters showing. We also shifted the sheep around to different pastures and get some of the lush grasses eaten. It always makes me nervous when the sheep are on a pasture that has been fallow for a while - maybe the fence is broken or some poisonous weed took hold. Tonight everything seemed fine at first glance, so we grabbed some oats.

All the ewes came running for their evening treats, all except Francis. Francis is relatively new to the farm, but she is friendly (see previous post) and loves her oats. So I peeked around the corner of the pole barn to see what she was doing. She had gotten her head stuck in the fence and couldn't get out.

The sheep are constantly reaching through the fence to nibble on plants. It's the rule that the grass, or shrubs in this case, are always greener. But 99% of the time, they just pull their head back in and go on about their business. From the looks of the ground around Francis she had been their most of the day, there way pee and poo all around her feet. As I approached she start pulling a bit more vigorously. I have heard stories of sheep doing this and getting caught and tearing their skin terribly. Jordan and I came over slowly saying "It's OK. We're here to help. Calm down." Amazingly, she did.

Francis a very big sheep. She is about a foot taller than Notag and she is solid muscle. (That's what makes Suffolk such a great meat breed.) However, trying force her to lower her head and back up took all my strength and more than 15 minutes. It would have been easier had Jeremy been home from work, but arrives home about an hour after me and we couldn't just sit and wait. I finally got her out but in the process I cut my thumb. I hope my tetanus is up-to-date. Luckily Francis showed no signs of injury. When she was free she stood and looked at me, bewildered and maybe a little thankful, before she trodded off for some oats.

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