Our sheep have pets. It seems to be a sheeply thing. They have a lively curiousity and an empathy that is unusual in the livestock class of animals.
We first noticed this proclivity when one of Gabby's lambs kept following rabbits around the pasture. She did it a lot. She hung around their burrow and would wander around the pasture with the little bunnies. We named her Alice.
Alice went on to win the Reserve Grand Champion Natural Colored Ewe at the 100th anniversary of the Denver National Western Stock Show in 2006. Talk about falling down the rabbit hole!
We sold Alice in a show flock of Jacob Sheep as a part of the move from Colorado to Arkansas. But her story remains in the history of our flock.
This spring I've noticed the lambs have more pets than I've seen in the past. Filigree has her pet Fat Squirrel. She and Fat Squirrel hang around in the little grove of trees in the center of the sheep paddock. They appear to have games and conversations. Actually, Fat Squirrel seems to be oblivious to this relationship. He's just busy collecting, eating and burying food. But Filigree spends a lot of time with her head down in Fat Squirrel's business. I've got that sort of relationship with my dog.
Several of the lambs seem to enjoy the pair of Mourning Doves that nest in the pasture. The lambs have outgrown chasing the doves to get them to fly and now share their grain with the pair.
Of course, the lambs love the baby bunnies who are growing up in the briar patch behind the sheep. Flora especially likes visiting with them, though First goes and looks for them in the mornings after breakfast. That makes sense, First is Alice's granddaughter.