Last spring I was given 8 sheep from a person who could no longer afford to feed or care for them. These sheep were thin, long over due to be shorn, long toes in need of general care that my sheep receive on a scheduled basis. After a month in a quartine area, with all the food they could possible want to eat and a clean bill of health, I let them in with the rest of the flock. It was the normal who are you routine. They spent the summer grazing on green grass hills with the rest of my flock, and my livestock guardian dogs and llamas for protection. Life is good.
No animal ever gets over worrying about their food even when it's in front of them. These eight girls are no exception. Now that fall is here, the grass is brown and they need to go farther out in pasture for food, the old fears have returned. In fact it has shown up in some rather interesting sheep behavior.
I have watched them dig under my fence, jump my fence, squeeze their pudgy bodies though breaks between buildings and fencing and just show up. They like to show up in my front yard, do a quick tour around the house, like they may have missed something from yesterday's tour. They hike down my driveway and eat the grass between the gravel road and fence. Once that tour is over they wait for me at the gate to be let back into their corral.
All my sheep are good natured, friendly, safe to be around (except the rams, they are never safe) and generally happy free ranging girls. Most have names, some are retired 4-H show sheep, some I have purchased, some are daughters and some given to me. I try and follow the National Organic Program policies on animal welfare and attend animal husbandry conferences when I can. I want my sheep to have a good life. Catherine