Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our Wooly Neighbors

Life isn't too bad when your closest neighbors are sheep. For the past six weeks, we have had 36 ewes and one ram sharing our "yard." They are very quiet. So quiet in fact, you wouldn't even know they are there. Their day consists of eating grass, laying down to ruminate, and then they repeat that routine all day long. I have seen them by starlight, in the middle of the night, eating away so I'm guessing they follow this routine day and night.

They are interesting to watch; kind of like watching paint dry. They are just there, day after day. They don't seem to care for humans at all. Another thing that I have seen first hand, is that sheep are followers. There is always one of them on the lookout, and when one sheep runs, they all turn and run and they don't even know why they are running. Playing follow the leader is what they do for excitement.

There only diversion from this routine is when Doug, their shepherd (that's what Wiley calls him) and his border collie, Tito, come around. I'm hoping to get a video some day that shows how talented Tito is with the sheep. He has a job to move they sheep from one area to another and he knows how to do it. Tito actually has a pretty easy job. Once Tito arrives, he gets the flock moving and they follow the sheep in front of them. Right to where Tito (and their shepherd) wants them to go.

This is as close as I can get to them, through the window in the breakfast room
I tried to sneak up on them to get a good picture, but she saw me
She is staring me down
In less than a minute, they have all run away, but she is letting me know that she knows I'm still there
This is their third delivery of pumpkins
Four days later, this is all that's left of the pumpkins
The lone ram is the fourth from the left and he is very aware that I am there
After our first couple days of rain, I noticed that most of the sheep's wool had become a lot whiter and less brown. I thought that the rain must have washed away the dirt, but a couple of weeks ago, Doug told me that their wool has become creamy colored from the lanolin in the pumpkins they have been eating. Autumn is the mating season and if they are impregnated by the ram, the pumpkins contain all kinds of vitamins and minerals that will help them bulk up for the winter, and help them through their gestational time, which is about five months. We can expect that lambing season will start in February. Until then we will enjoy the quiet. Once the baby lambs start arriving, the constant bleating and baaing will continue day and night. I can hardly wait!

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing to watch a good sheep dog at work. I was stopped several days ago on one of our country roads as an amazing dog herded a flock down the middle of the road to a pasture on the other side. It was quite the show.