Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Great Sheep Escape

On Sunday, our sheep FINALLY began to lamb!  As of yesterday, we had three beautiful Jacob lambs and one Rambouillet lamb.  So far, pretty good, especially on pasture.  On Monday, Genny, one of our Interns, and I, Margaret, went out to fence fresh grass for all of our lovely ruminants.

If they could have only waited five more minutes for us to finish the last of the new fence, we’d have needed to earn our exercise elsewhere this week.  But no!  They had decided that they were apparently hungry enough that they had to simply try to reach fresh grass by sticking a head between a post for the electric fence and a post for the woven wire fence which of course popped the electric connector off the hotwire above the woven wire fence to create a lovely new gate.

Out they ALL go.  Well, except for the three Jacob mamas.  They decided to stay and let their babies hunker down instead of go adventuring.

The gate the sheep had made was about 15 feet away from where the new fence was going to be.  They decided to head up into the neighbor's field and then around the end of our woven wire fencing back onto our ground to gobble up as much of our winter wheat cover crop as possible.  The alpacas, while munching, must be charged with the duty of scoping out the new fence when they move.  The sheep generally follow the alpacas because apparently alpacas know where they're going, right? (hahaha!)

Off they go, gobbling as fast as possible and walking up towards the road and away from the new area into which they were SUPPOSED to go.  Genny and I drop what we're doing and race to try and get around the sheep and attempt to bring them back.  Whether they go back into the old area or the new we don't care as long as they are in some area with a fence.  We manage to get them back to the corner where they escaped, albeit on the other side of the woven wire fence and just as the sheep are thinking about heading into a fenced area, the Alpacas decide that can't be right and take everyone off in the other direction through our neighbor's field of peas.

Genny is on that end of the sheep so I send her to attempt to get in front of them.  The alpacas have done this game before and decide to keep up the pace and keep going.

They traveled all the way down the field, nearly to our distant ponds before a turn in the hills caused the alpacas (and entourage) to pause and think long enough for Genny to catch up with them and attempt to send them back the way they came.

Instead of going into their newly prepared fence, for which I was attempting to create an entrance gate, they took off back up the pea field back towards our winter wheat.  When they got there, the Alpacas decided that wasn't right so they kept going and took everyone up to the road and towards the veggies and our landlord's house.  Of course, Genny and I are now BOTH behind everyone.  without a speedy dog, there was absolutely zero turning them around at this point.  

Our only saving grace was the fact that Ronn, our other intern, Dave, and our employee, Dan, were down in that field transplanting green onions.  Dan happened to look up and see sheep.  Ronn turned around expecting to see a few renegade creatures and instead, they saw the ENTIRE FLOCK.  Thank goodness they were there because they were able to help us get them turned around and walking down the access road and back towards their original enclosure.

Now that they'd managed to gobble enough to sate their crazy appetites and were back to simply starving (likely from all that running now...) they were content to walk in a group down the access road and back into their fenced area.  Once they were in, it took us about 5 minutes to finish setting the new fence.  Dan and Dave herded the sheep from their old area into their new and as soon as they saw the fresh new grass, they were happy once again.

And we decided that it was lunch time.

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