Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sheep WIP

My work in progress this week has been to work with Della and Lucy to gain their trust. They came here, as all the other adult sheep have, fearful and unaccustomed to day to day human touch. I just find it 100% easier to work with sheep when they trust me. It saves stress on them and makes working with them a pleasure. So twice a day, before I let Della and Lucy out in the morning and after dark when I put them in the barn, I take them down the alley where I can close them in a small area. Here they go...

Once there I get down on their level and rub them all over, I hold their chin in my hand and speak soft words, over and over again. I do that for about 5 minutes and then I let them out into the main barn area again. I then hand feed them a few pellets of grain. That has taken some doing also as a week ago there was NO way they'd even come to me. But now they know my hand is good. It has treats and a kind touch. It is working. Now shy Della, who is 5, walks over to me, still cautious, but takes the grain. As I clean their area each day they are getting more used to me coming and going ,the tools, the bucket, all of it. It is gratifying.

Here they are yesterday, just musing on their new world. Della on the left, Lucy on the right.

And off they went to do what sheep do best!


  1. I think a kind word and a nice hand-held treat can help a lot of not nice situations get nicer for most animals. :) Including us 2-legged types.

  2. Anonymous7:27 PM

    Can the new sheep socialize with the rest of the herd? Or do they have to hang out by themselves for a period of time?

  3. Absolutely they can be put right in with the rest of the flock but I like to keep them separate for a few weeks to be sure they show no signs of illness such as foot rot, soremouth or other communicable diseases. No sense infecting the rest of the flock. I knew these girls were okay ahead as we did a few tests before they were shipped. But I also think it's good for them to settle down, get used to the farm and it's comings and goings. Then in a few weeks their a lot calmer and less likely to take flight. I will post pictures when we join them all together. It is a social event for the sheep...for about 5 minutes and then they all go about their regular business! We keep a few wethers (castrated rams) in with the ewes all the time and they tend to be the aggressive ones more than the ewes when it comes to new sheep or the older ones. They sense weakness more stongly than the females.