The Sheep Have Arrived!
We picked up our new sheep yesterday.
Over the course of the two and a half years of starting this farm, we've picked up dozens of animals dozens of times before. It should be fairly routine, just another "chore for the day" type of thing.
But it wasn't. Yesterday . . . well . . . yesterday was a whole lot of fun. Really. It just shouldn't be this fun to load animals into a trailer and then unload them into a pasture. But it was.
It was late afternoon when we came back with our four handsome Romeldale/CVM sheep. Getting them into the trailer was an experience -- similiar to playing tackle football on the frozen tundra, but that's another story. It's the unloading that is the REALLY fun part, and watching the reaction of their fellow That'll Do Farm animals.
Several of the alpacas found it necessary to come running out of the barn to see just who had arrived. Usually that trailer pulling in means somebody new is coming into their alpaca world -- perhaps a handsome male? -- and they wanted to see.
Quintessa wanted to show the newbies her pearly whites. It's always nice to be welcomed to a new place with an engaging smile.
But, alas, they were disappointed. The sheep are going into pastures on the other side of the farm and will not be hanging out with the fetching Quintessa. She said that's the last time she'll give herself a new stick-up hair-do, complete with a hay barrette, for nothing!
So we pulled the trailer up as close as possible to the west pasture gate. The problem was that "close as possible" wasn't very close at all. With our mild winter, the ground isn't frozen and we were afraid the truck and trailer would sink into our water-holding, tire-sucking, Ohio clay. And not come out until Spring.
This is a LONG walk with a 200 pound sheep that has no idea where he is, who we are and has hever had a halter or lead rope on before.
Plus, we had to do it without dogs as the sheep have never been worked with dogs before and we didn't want to scare them. We would lure them the old fashioned way -- with food.
So farmer Mike grabbed some hay and carted it off into their new pasture.
And the sheep wrangling began.
Milo was the first one out of the trailer, and the most most stubborn.
It took four humans pulling, pushing and guiding to get him into the pasture.
But once there, Milo was a model citizen.
His buddies, Dash, Zipper and Spice soon followed and all were happy in their pasture.
Then the fun and games really began.
Joey the llama came over to see what was going on.
Next, the goats came over, mostly behind the protection of their big buddy Joey.
Except for Fred. Fred decided to take the lead on this exploration mission. Which is quite funny since Fred is the most timid of the goats. But not this day. Nope. He was high goat on the totem pole yesterday. Brave, fierce and daring.
Soon we opened the gate to let the goats and llama meet the sheep up close and personal.
The sheep made the first move, slowly walking towards the goats.
The goats, who we thought would be big and tough because of their horns, took about one second to think about it and turned to give way to the sheep.
And then they ran. They couldn't get out of there fast enough. And you'll notice their fierce protector Joey is nowhere to be seen. That's because he was the first guy outta there!
That's right Joey. I'm talkin' about you. Standing over there, about as far away from the sheep as you can get. And using two innocent little goats for protection. Shame, Joey, shame.
Fred stands alone in his bravery.
Joey, seeing how much fortitute and spunk Fred exhibited, decided to get a little closer himself.
That and the fact that Mike had a scoop full of grain and Joey loves his grain.
So closer and closer he came, never turning his back on the sheep . . .
. . . until he was mere feet away.
And then came his posse, at lightning fast speed.
And Joey was able to eat his grain, in relative comfort, with his back to the sheep.
Then dear, sweet Fred, with his lion heart, decided to meet the sheep.
He discussed his findings with Raphael, who, up until yesterday, we thought was leader of the pack.
Raphie discussed it with the others and Donatello took the news to Joey.
The goats have decided the sheep can stay. However, they have warned Joey that he needs to step up his whole guardian of the flock act and take the lead on these matters.
They would hate to have to replace him with a guardian donkey.