Tuesday 19 June 2012

Sheepy mischief

Sheep ain't as stupid as folks would like you to think and given the opportunity they are more than capable of running circles around you. Shep and Moss have been dealing with their mischievous ways over recent days.
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This picture might appear quite innocuous but them there sheep know what they're playing at, running down a steep bankside full of brackens, they were forever hopefully of hiding from sight. Fortunately at the moment the brackens are only just growing, by the next time these sheep are gathered in July the brackens will be higher, denser and give them far more cover. Should they get away with this ploy again there is no doubt some of them may well give shepherd and dogs the slip.
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When gathering it is always wise to look back, the above photo is the reverse shot of the one previous to it, so, there are sheep running and trying to hide in the brackens ahead, but nothing behind..... look closer - just to the right hand side of the self seeded tree, is there something showing above the heather?
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Aye! crafty beast, tried to slink off whilst the fore runners were causing mayhem, too wise to keep running, she just stood still, forever hopeful she would be overlooked.

There is a final ploy in a sheep's life. To sulk. They like to take flight, run and hide, run in the opposite direction to the one you'd like them to, then there are those who once they think the world has got the better of them they go in a huff - sulk and refuse to budge.
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If they can run into water they're more than happy, in fact can almost be suicidal in their attempts to take to a burn in a desire to be petty. Fortunately this time the burn wasn't full. This ewe had decided enough was enough, taking flight hadn't worked, trying to hide hadn't been successful either, the last resort was to go in a sheep huff, take to the water
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and face up to the dog - do the battle of wills thing. So it was, like staring someone out, see who gives in and blinks first. Moss was more than happy to stand his ground, it had been a long and fraught gather, the water was cool and he wasn't in a great hurry to go anywhere, he actually had the ace card up his sleeve but was being patient for the time being. The ewe may well find her nose being nipped if she continues to dig her heels in. Whose nerve will give first?
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Good old Moss came up trumps, his nerve did hold as he was edging for a fight, mebbes the ewe realised he wasn't gonna take any prisoners. He managed to stare her out and move her on, although still in the water and travelling down the burn she soon realised she'd be able to travel far faster on terra firma
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and off she went as though the devil was on her tail, rushing to join the safety of her mates further down stream.

Sheep are anything but stupid, they can be far wiser than those of us who try to handle them!


Dafad said...

We've got four up here, meant to be on the commons, who have learned that cattle grids are easy to cross and the grass on the verges down the mountain road feeds four hungry ewes very nicely with long lush grub! Nope they aint daft!

Tarset Shepherd said...

Aye Dafad, there's no doubt about it, they are wise and often realise the grass is indeed greener on the other side!