The boys finished off their round bale the other day, and since it was too muddy to bring another one down I pushed the rest of the “emergency” bale in the barn outside for them. I thought that would tide them over until things dried up, but there was less of it than I remembered and they polished it off in about 24 hours. The girls are also peeved that they can’t grab a mouthful off every day on their way in and out of the barn anymore. That was their emergency round bale, how could I just give it to the boys like that?
Lacking any other ideas, I let the boys into the girls field last night so they could share the girls’ round bale while the girls were in the barn. Surprisingly, the girls’ bale didn’t completely disappear overnight. Even more surprisingly, thirteen naughty boy sheep appeared in the yard with the dogs this morning between the time the dogs were let out and when I went out.
“Yay, yard grass! We’re saved!”
Echo is still a bit scared of the Dukelings I think; he was staying as far away from the intruders as possible. Watcher, on the other hand, was enthusiastically rubbing his face on Duke’s mane, which Duke was tolerating with surprisingly good grace. “Eau de rutty ram” is apparently a very desirable fragrance in Watcher’s mind.
“Oh, hi Mom! Look! My sheep are in the yard! Isn’t it exciting?”
“Hold on, I’ll bring them to you!”
Watcher worked very hard herding the boys to me, helped I think by the fact the boys were heading towards me anyway.
“Hurry up! No lollygagging!”
Watcher was never so thrilled in his life as he was to have a group of sheep actually doing what he said. I’m pretty sure the boys would have followed me back to the field regardless, but Watcher ensured they did so in a much more timely and tightly-bunched fashion.
“Come on, stop grazing! Keep up! March!”
Once I’d gotten the sheep back in the field, (and the dogs back out of the field,) the boys all bunched up by the barn doors, either because it’s the least soggy place available right now, or because the barn is about the only normally off-limits place on the farm that they haven’t invaded in the last 24 hours. They haven’t been in the farm lane either, but if they’ve forgotten about that I’m not going to remind them.
“We want in the barn!”
“We want back in with our mommies!”
Drake, Will, and Griffin wanted back in with the ewe flock, but I think they’re happier with all the other boys for now. They can roughhouse and act as macho as they want over there.
“That was fun! When can my sheep come play again?”
Watcher’s still hovering around the fence making wistful noises. His entire reason for being has been validated. He finally got to do the job that is imprinted on his genes! It was the best thing that ever happened to him!
Echo would also like to know if this is happening again, so he can be sure to be elsewhere. His genes did not come imprinted with the sheep-chasing drive. His genes mainly tell him to take care of his people, eat and sleep a lot, be petted as much as possible, and sometimes play a game with Watcher.
With Watcher taking care of the sheep, and Echo taking care of the humans, and the humans taking care of the sheep and the dogs, I think we’re all pretty well looked after around here.