Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sheep talk

Yesterday was a rather trying day. While I love my sheep dearly, integrating a new member (or even an old member who has been removed from the flock for a while) is an ordeal. The flock doesn't welcome new members or returning members with open hooves. In fact, it's the opposite. The new member has to go through the "ritual" of being excepted into the flock. This involves being chased, pushed, and some butting. If the new member is really timid, then the flock will pick up on this and be almost merciless. But, if the new member is a bit aggressive, then the flock seems to go a bit easier. No, they aren't being mean. It's just their way of fitting the new (or returning) member into their social hierarchy......and they do have a social hierarchy. Every one has a place and knows their place in the flock. Yesterday was the day an old member of the flock finally rejoined. It's taken weeks to get this little wether integrated back into the flock.....but he's back. There was a bit of pushing, chasing, and butting......most of it on his part surprisingly.......but it didn't last long. I think the amount of snow on the ground played a big part. A foot fell over the weekend and we got another 5" today alone. Considering how small the Shetlands are.....well, that's a lot of snow for them. Yes, they do enjoy playing in the snow, but tend to stay fairly close to their barn. Even the llama isn't real keen on walking through snow that goes over his knees. So we keep a path cleared for them from their barn to their water container. I keep meaning to take pictures of the sheep in the snow, but have been too busy shoveling. Hopefully this weekend when all the projected storms have passed and things are a bit quieter.

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