Sheep Behavior and a Bit about the Weather

Post date: Apr 08, 2015 8:56:36 PM

Before I write about sheep behavior - we got 1/2 inch of rain yesterday! Seems like we should declare a holiday.

So, in March we were getting high daily temperatures in the high 80's and even 90 one day. Now in April, as if to remind us it's still spring after all and not summer, we've been getting low nightly temperatures in the 20's - 25 a few mornings ago, 28 last night! Good thing I haven't planted tomatoes yet... A couple years ago we got a freeze on Memorial Day. Of course I had planted tomato plants the day before.

OK, sheep behavior - this is the kind of stuff the sheep books don't tell you. I had to rework the sheep's shade structure this morning - these consist of 16-foot galvanized fence panels arched with both ends anchored on the ground, then covered with shade cloth. The shade cloth blocks most of the sunlight but is porous so lets breeze through somewhat. The shade cloth was getting a little tattered and I needed to cut off the tattered bits so the sheep wouldn't get their legs or necks caught in a "loop" (yes, it has happened), and recover with newer shade cloth. Then wire the corners to the panel wires to keep it down in the wind. I needed to do this before it gets hot this summer; we typically get many days over 100 degrees (Fahrenheit of course). So I started it this morning. Well, I was working away, outside and inside the shelter, and the sheep were in an adjacent pasture, grazing and resting. Precisely at 10:50 am they walked up - very calmly and in a very orderly fashion - and stood staring at me. I wondered, why? because I hadn't brought in any hay or other feed. They stared at me for a while, then gradually wandered off - and it dawned on me, they wanted the shade and wanted me to leave. I wasn't finished yet.

I finished the job about 12:30, picked up all the trash and my supplies and equipment, and left that pasture. I put my stuff away then walked down to get the mail. Sure enough, not 10 minutes after I had left, there they were, happily resting in the shade!

I should add, I re-used shade cloth we had taken down from another project where we didn't need it any more. Also reused wire recovered from another project. Ha, job done and no need to buy anything new! Love it!

As I write this, I have a big purring white cat on my lap.