Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh, My Poor Babies!...

This is Anna Belle walking along the driveway with some of the lambs behind her. (Lyneth, Bam, Nadin, on photo for larger version.)
Notice the lack of fencing? Up until last night the sheep had full run of the farm. They've had that privilege for a few weeks now. It has been a delight to observe their habits in the absence of enclosure. The ewes constantly walk, and the lambs have to keep up.
For various reasons, it seemed appropriate to begin using the electronet to rotate pastures. Starting today. This is the first morning in a long while that I have not let the girls out first thing. Even though I enclosed them in a nice big area with good grass, they were mobbed at the gate this morning waiting for me. They don't want grass, they want freedom! I felt so sad about depriving them of their new "lifestyle" that they love so much. Yesterday, as I was installing the electronet, I wasn't sure I could stick to my guns and keep the girls in all summer.
In His marvelous way, God gave me a sign to strengthen my resolve. Last night I went to bed thinking that I would probably only use the electronet on days when I needed to go to town. The rest of the days the girls could be let out. Around 4:30am, Sally and Greta (both outside, one in the kennel) started violently barking, and I woke up just vaguely. Just enough to hear a pack of coyotes yipping between lapses in barking. I'm not afraid of coyotes, but it sent a shiver down my spine. I fell back asleep knowing I would leave the sheep in the electronet no matter how much they complained.


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Ah yes, just like with us humans, what we WANT is not always what is best for us! God's "boundaries" are for our own good, and show that He loves us....

Becky Utecht said...

Good luck sticking to your guns Sabrina. I'm sure it won't be easy. If they're anything like my flock, they'll beg for days like spoiled two year olds.
An old friend of mine lets her flock roam the woods on their 80 acres during the day. (They wear coats all year long.)She locks them up at night. If a person had a dog or two roaming with the flock, it might not be so bad. I would worry constantly though.

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Very true, Michelle.

Becky, I was locking them in at night and they would roam during the day. Honestly, if I had an LGD that is what I would always do. Some of the reasons it became necessary to put them in the electronet were these: the poisonous shrubs like cherry are almost ready to bud out and they are everywhere. My "garden" doesn't have a fence yet and the sheep were pruning all of my perenials-even the rhubarb which I know can't be good. The little walnut trees also lack protection. And most of all, my pasture only lasts as long as it does because of the rotation. When we have a drought, I end up putting them more into the woods.

The same day I heard the coyotes in the morning, I saw a bear and her two enormous cubs on the driveway at night when I came home late. We've never had a problem with bears even though we know a den is very near-but I took that as a sign too.

Sheep really can pout though. :)