Saturday, November 20, 2010

Copying Bad Behavior

One of the hens pecks me hard occasionally when I am not expecting it. Today, I held her down and told her I would do so when ever she attacked me. Sweet little Amelia halfway butted me today and the others have recently shown acts of aggression. Are they angry at the rooster and Thor and taking it out on me or do they want to try it out to see what it feels like being mean and ornery?

I have learned to watch out for the males around here but the rest of the girls on the farm are not so careful. Thor butts anyone who tries to eat out of any bowl he wants for himself and he butts whoever is near the lower gate waiting for me to open it. He butts hard and sometimes on the side of the body (I am afraid for my pregnant ewes). I feel sorry for the other animals but I don't know what I can do.

It is one thing, holding a rooster or an ornery hen down, but quite another reprimanding a ram that weighs more than I do. I stay out of Thors way for safety sake and don't know why the ewes don't. Hildegard has tried to stand up to Thor a few times.

I feel badly sending Thor to his pasture since it may just be what rams do. I can understand the competition thing but just being rough because you want to be first makes me angry. I know sheep understand aggression as a way of establishing hierarchy but do they understand human punishment? Should I let them all work it out or should I intervene? I think I need advise from other shepherds.

Sometimes, it is so hard to figure out animal psychology. But, I am determined to learn what I need to for us all to live in peace.

1 comment:

  1. Sue, I have two thoughts. One is that I had this same conversation with myself when I was raising children. Do I get involved in the conflicts or don't I? The second is that every time I give human feelings to animals I get in trouble. Not using a cage for my terrier even though when he was a puppy he didn't mind being in the cage and probably would have been fine until he stopped distroying my house was definately a mistake. And thinking I needed to get our male guiney pig fixed so he could be with my female well that didn't work out so well for him. So I say treat them like animals what ever that means.