Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On bold and curious sheep and the upturned lip of a ram...

The sheep at dawn, tucked in their stall.

The sheep have settled in nicely and are getting used to their new routine. They are a lot smarter than people give them credit for, and their sense of smell is superior to any creatures I've ever handled before. They know the exact content of my pockets as soon as I come to the field, and if I've got bits of apple there is no way I'll make it out of the field with any of those bits remaining! I spent the other day letting them get to know me by sitting on an overturned bucket in their field for some time. The little moorit is so amazingly bold that she regularly marches right up to me, looking me in the eye, and checks to see if I have anything of interest. She is also the first to the gate, the first to baa when she sees me and the first to stomp at the dogs when they sniff at the fence. She's a very strong personality, I just hope she uses her personality for good. She did headbutt my hand away from her grain the other day, and I admit I didn't know how to respond so without thinking I flicked her lightly in the nose (like I would with a horse). She looked thoroughly disgusted that I had touched her without her permission and head-high tromped over to inspect the other sheep's grain. I'm hoping this won't be something she tries with me often.

Sunrise from the barn looking through the windows into the sheep stall.

The moorit is the most comfortable with me and I learned last night that sheep don't respond to loud flapping arms like horses do. While I was breaking ice on the water, I turned my back for roughly 6 seconds and the moorit pushed the door to the barn open and led everybody into the barn to inspect the hay stores! I stomped and flapped like I would with the horses and they just kind of looked at me like "Pshh.. silly human." I had to literally chase them out yelling. It was pretty hilarious. I'm thinking I should invest in a shepherd's crook...

My little moorit, who is yet without a name, demanding a bit of apple. You can see the ram in the background happily hanging with his ladyfriend, Ingrid.

I'm hoping after spending some time watching them this morning that the moorit is near heat. She usually shoves the ram away, or avoids him altogether, but this morning she practically peed on him. In horses I know this is a come-hither move... not sure about sheep! Anyway, he shoved his nose into her in the rudest of ways and she looked back at him like "Well?" He then lifted his little lip (I didn't know sheep do this! Horses do it too!) and sniffed and sniffed and sniffed... I'll have to keep an eye on her later today to see if he decides to make his move. Such drama!


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