The last couple of weeks have been all about learning about and getting used-to the new members of the farm. The sheep are getting not only used to us, the humans, but also to the other animals. They are fascinated by the farm cats and will start a small stampede following one of the poor nervous felines right up to the fence! Dusty, my little fuzzy white dog makes them all pause and investigate as well much to his discomfort. If I sit down, often they will come right up to me and sniff my neck and nibble my hair, which I take as a compliment.
The flock is remarkably quiet. Everyone on the farm knows if someone has gotten out of the fence because one of the girls just goes nuts. She has a high-pitched bah and if the flock was a high school class then the noisy one would be that one girl who always (loudly) said, “Hey! You aren’t supposed to be doing that! Wait for me! Wait for me! I’ll tell if you don’t wait for me!!!” But honestly, that is about the only time that they make a noise other than chewing (they are loud chewers) or belching (ditto).
Memorial day was all about worming and vaccinating. I didn’t take any pictures. You’re welcome. We also moved the flock which didn’t go all that well (ahem). Shetlands aren’t one of the strongest flocking sheep breeds around. Plus most of these are young ewes. All in all you have a recipe for some cabbage in the garden to be eaten! We probably shouldn’t have tried to move them when we were tired from all the vaccinations and worming fun and they were all keyed-up from being vaccinated and wormed. Lesson learned.
However, we do have a flock leader now. Her name is Abigail and she can be by turns both amazingly easy to work with and a complete brat. We’re still working out the kinks in the relationship:-) Only a handful of the sheep have names at this point. Buddy, the big black wether, Abigail, Herbert (his scrapie tag is 1938, during the Great Depression [though I know not during Hoover’s administration, but he looks like a Herbert too]), and Liberty. Her scrapie tag is 1976.
The sheep are amazingly good at keeping the lawn mowed and seem to relish their job. They are also insanely curious about the chicken flock who have been moved to temporary outdoor quarters with the sheep (electric fencing and jealous wethers are added protection from the ravenous raccoons we have around here). So far our county hasn’t been hit with the avian flu so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we can keep these girls alive since the cost of eggs has skyrocketed already.