Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Amongst the Nibbling Green

Once again the grass is starting to show the slightest tinge of green, so I decided to let the sheep out of their pen for a few hours of wandering.
Just like in springs past, they loved it.  My older ewes didn't think twice about their change in situation.  The River Oaks ewes and the two ewe lambs were a little disbelieving of the sudden freedom.  They spent a little more time sniffing about.
Shachah, our livestock guardian dog, was startled to notice the sheep wander up to the house.  He barked a few times, and I told him 'thank you' for the notification of loose sheep.  Apparently, he was willing to accept the new situation as long as I was fully aware of the matter.  I more or less followed the flock around, picking up sticks and tossing them into the brush pile as I went.

Yearling Esyllt really tested Shachah's patience.  She insisted on walking right up to him and investigating his face at close range.  Shachah barked a warning and she didn't even hesitate to move in closer on him.  He bared his teeth and she sniffed his ears.  He growled and she stepped forward.  I thought for sure he would  knock her down at least... if not actually bite her just a little.  But he never did.  He was disgruntled and upset with her lack of respect, but he also seemed to understand that she was simply curious and not threatening. 

I have a theory that ewe lambs are quite prissy and naughty because they expect their mommies to come thundering in if anyone threatens them.  At least the ewe lambs of dominant ewes seem to do this.  The other yearling, Carys, approached Shachah later and his warning barked worked on her.  She gave him about 5 feet of space.  Could it be that Carys didn't have as much nerve since her mother was sold last summer and she has been on her own since then? 

All the older ewes either completely ignored Shachah or sniffed at him as they passed by and he didn't even mind them.  And to his credit, Shachah also moved with the flock.  He wasn't always close to them, but he made sure the flock was always in sight.  It was really neat to watch him work!  
If my schedule allows, I will let the ewes out for a few hours every day until there is enough grass in any one place to set up the electronet and keep them fed.  While the grass is still sparce, though, they will continue to get their regular ration of hay.


Michelle said...

I really enjoyed the photos and story, Sabrina. :-)

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Thanks, Michelle.

Isn't it wild how you have lush gorgeous grass already and I've got only the barest tinge of green here? I was thinking about your pastures today while I followed the girls around. :)

I've been enjoying your lambs on your blog too. I don't often leave comments because it takes forever for dial-up to load your site, (20 minutes) and then it has to reload for me to comment. But please know that I read it faithfully. Yours as well as many others. The reason I comment here is because I've arranged my blog to have as low a density as possible and this page is photo free.

I know you didn't ask for an explanation. But I've been meaning to tell you that for a long time. :)

Kelly Bartels said...

Thanks for sharing your herd with us Sabrina. I know what you are saying about dial up, I have that at home and it's down right painful to wait for blogs to download there.
Some day (soon I hope) rural america will move into the same techno-era as the rest of the US. (crossing fingers)

Michelle said...

Thanks, Sabrina; it makes me happy to know you visit Boulderneigh regularly! :-)

And P.S. to Kelly. We live in the country, too, but have a local company who provides reasonable high-speed service via towers (rather than satellite).

Karen B. said...

I love reading your posts. It's as if I'm right there in the northwoods, too. What a pretty place, so many nice spots to rest the eyes.

Nancy K. said...

Your ewes look so healthy and beautiful, Sabrina!

I also enjoy watching the interactions between my LGD and the flock. They really are amazing creatures and it's all instinct!