Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Flight Zones

An interesting term, flight zone, could mean many things, I guess.  When I was reading about handling sheep, last night, the article was talking about different sheep having different flight zones.

A sheep's flight zone is like a human's personal space except if someone invades my personal space, I take a calm step backwards instead of running for my life.  As animals begin to get "up close and personal" with people their flight zone gets smaller, until they read our minds and know we are coming to trim their hooves.

  I am always trying to find ways of making hoof trimming less stressful.  The first time I ever trimmed a sheep's hoof, I was getting a lesson at the Frontier Culture Museum.  My client was an older sheep and Marcus just walked up to it when it was lying down and confined it a bit while I trimmed.  No Big Deal.  A friend of mine says she can walk up to her sheep laying under a tree and start shearing them.

I have read many times that sheep have very good memories.  In my opinion, their memory is probably almost as good as an elephant's.  And the problem is, when you first get sheep you don't really know how to handle them and you make mistakes and the sheep remember.  

Fortunately, sheep love grain and will go almost anywhere for a handful of grain.  Eventually, they begin to like and trust you and their flight zone gets smaller.  Llamas are no different, when it comes to treats, and Cher will now eat out of my hand.  Yesterday, she even ate out of my hand without a gate between us.  Of course, she is still coming to me.  It may be awhile before I can go to her.

After being away for 3 days at Thanksgiving, I walked up to the sheep and they retreated.  It took half a day for their flight zones to shrink again.  This week I will be trimming hooves, so here we go again.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be there tomorrow to help out if they'll let me in their space. I can't wait to meet Cher and see if she'll approach me. You know me, I NEED animals to let me touch them. I know it's silly. I'll call when I'm leaving.