Sunday, January 30, 2011

One Apart From The Others

Another example of how sheep books and articles try to make sheep farmers paranoid is that they all talk about flocking instincts and state that any sheep apart from the others should be suspected to be a possible sick sheep.

One article even said that you should check out the last sheep in the line for possible ailments-- come on! What about sheep individuality? Maybe they are just talking about a sheep trailing behind in a western flock of a thousand plus sheep but if that is the case they should clarify that.

What if the sheep is not trailing behind but goes off from the flock to check something out? How close do they have to be?

The sheep here do stay pretty close most of the time. It is funny to watch them graze a fresh area. One goes they all follow--another goes they all follow; it takes awhile before they settle down and graze.

Tonight, just at dusk, I went down to close the chicken door and give the sheep and Beau some hay. When I got to the gate there was one chicken waiting for me to open the gate to let her in. It was probably chicken chicken but it was too dark to tell. As she entered the coop there was a long minute of squawking --something to the effect of "why did you stay out so late?" "You woke us up."

Then I took some hay up to the over turned trough that serves as a sheep table up by the barn. Usually I put 2 flakes of hay on the table and then put one flake down by the gate in a smaller container for Beau. Tonight Beau decided to stay up by the barn so Hildegard decided to eat in Beau's spot. No one joined her so she ate alone.

I am glad my animals are individuals. Mira sometimes stands on the table- what if they all did. Amelia has a knack for escaping- what if they all did. Annie spooks very easily- what if they all did.

I am not going to worry if one is apart from the others-- at least they won't follow each other off a cliff.

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