Many Hooves Make More Work

I had a problem with my hay this week, I’ve run into a couple of bales that the sheep won’t eat. As far as I can tell there’s nothing wrong with it, it doesn’t smell or look moldy, but it does look like there’s a different kind of grass mixed in it? It’s a slightly different color and those bales are heavier than the rest.

All the hay came from our property, so it’s all the same stuff they eat all year, but for some reason they won’t touch those bales. I don’t know if it’s just a plant they don’t like or if it’s something toxic, but if they’re turning their noses up at it that firmly I’d rather be safe than sorry.

This means pulling all the bales down and sorting them out. The sheep were very keen on supervising all this activity with food, but moving the hay required moving a stepladder and a few buckets about ten feet from their original location, and everyone was too freaked out to walk past them.


“Hmm, this bale looks good!”

Well, almost everyone. Liam couldn’t stand all this food being moved around and inspected without “helping” me. Mira wasn’t scared of the stepladder, but she’s still obsessed with the crunchies on the shelf. The novelty of climbing on the hay has worn off for her, as evidenced by how much hay she’s spread all over the barn aisle.


“Maybe I should try that bale over there!”

Liam was a very enthusiastic taste-tester, and it didn’t take long at all for the other Shetlands to come pitch in. Even shy Lana!

The Soays were still suspicious of the moving ladder and joined Mira in poking at the shelves trying to reach the treats. I’m not sure if they genuinely thought they could reach the treats, or just wanted an excuse not to walk past the ladder.


“You try that one, I’ll try this one!”

If Mira makes such a mess, I hate to think what the barn would look like if the Shetlands took up hay-mountain climbing. I was just thinking I probably ought to shoo them away, when Nova slipped trying to climb up on the shelf and knocked something over catching her balance.

The crash startled the Soays, making them all jump.

The Shetlands saw the Soays jump, assumed they must have seen something super-scary, and took off for the door.

The Soays saw the Shetlands running, assumed they must have seen something super-scary, and also took off for the door.

Everyone (except Mira) ran about halfway to the ram pen, then stopped and looked back to see if they were being chased.


“Do you see it??”

“All I see is Mira and ShepherdPerson laughing at us! What were we running from, anyway?”

“Don’t ask me, I was only running because you ran!”

They quickly concluded that there was no super-scary thing, and came charging back.


“Hurry! Or Mira will get all the food!”

They decided with all these mysteriously moving ladders and disappearing super-scary things, they’d rather crowd around the door and watch from outside the barn. Just in case.


“Don’t worry, we’re still keeping an eye on you!”

Fortunately I had way more hay than I needed, so even tossing the bales they don’t like I should have plenty to last until the pastures come back. Now the only problem will be convincing them it’s safe to come into the barn at bedtime.


10 thoughts on “Many Hooves Make More Work

  1. I’ve been enjoying your posts & just noticed that you have a few Shetlands too. Are you interested in joining the Heritage Shetland Sheep group on facebook? It’s for all fleece types, rather than just the single coated type, so no matter which you have, there are others there who share your interest. Just thought that I would mention it.

  2. Actually, you are the lucky one having those rejected bales. Those bales are a straw-bale garden in the making! Something to do in your spare time. LOL

  3. Well, that was a job. The stampede and its aftermath…curious ovines looking in the barn door, had me giggling. Their faces so full of character.

    Apparently Lana responds to smorgasbords. Liam taught her that a feast is worth braving a great deal, I am sure.

    Very best,

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