Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sheep sense

Our sheep have a "pen" that is about half-an-acre where they live most of the time. At the top of the pen is a little wooded area that stays about 20 degrees cooler than the rest of the world on sunny summer days. When they are in their pen, the sheep are smart enough to spend their days resting up under the trees, chewing their cud and watching the world drift by below them.

They also have a pasture, that is about an acre. Earlier this year, before it got so hot, we let them out in the pasture for the day and put them in their more secure pen at night. Then it got hot and the pasture grass quit growning, so we kept the sheep penned up. They had their nice routine of socializing and eating hay all night, then resting under the trees in the heat of the day.

Last week, we got a few rains and the pasture grass had a growth spurt. After a few evenings of letting the sheep graze for a couple hours in the evening, I turned them out for the day yesterday morning so they could have the day out to pasture. They have fresh water and salt licks in both the pen and pasture.

When I went home at 2:00 to let the dogs out and check on the sheep. They were out in the sun, in the pasture, trying to graze and panting with open mouths. Gluttony is a powerful force. I tried to herd them in but they ran in all directions. I decided it would be worse to let them run than it would be to leave them out in the pasture. They all survived their foolishness and happily came into their pen for dinner. Funny how they want their dinner after spending the day eating.

This morning, the sheep are in their pen, up on the berm, under the trees, resting. They asked to go out after breakfast, but I told them to be happy they had a shepherd. They can go out this evening when it is a bit cooler and they won't be risking heat stroke while searching for that perfect bite of grass.

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