It’s Sunday morning and there’s nothing quite like sitting down with the Sunday paper comics and looking upon the map of the circuitous route that Billy in the Family Circus takes from the house to the mailbox. We had the high hopes version of that with a ewe and four of her lambs this afternoon.
It started innocently enough, Linda was moving the ewe with her quadruplets from her solitary stall in the barn out to some grass, now that all were getting along well. Unfortunately, this ewe is the most distrustful of humans in the flock – she’s always been that way and we have no idea of the trauma she must have suffered at a younger age before we acquired her, but she is a pain to work with because she doesn’t think like the other sheep. She doesn’t seem to need to be with the herd, she won’t go in the barn with the other 6 ewes for morning grain snack time until I leave the barn and much of the grain is gobbled up.
So as we were moving her the 30 feet from her stall to the pasture with the flock, she decided it was not time to be with the flock, but to be a wild sheep. The map above shows our farm and about a half-mile across and up and down. She bolted out away from the barn (red track) ran off of our land headed east down the fenceline, then headed south down another fenceline until she came to a creek I thought I’d have her there, since she wouldn’t get across the creek. But she jumped the creek, and her four lambs followed her and she started heading to the blacktop road to the south. Linda ran back and hopped in the car and positioned the car on the blacktop (290th) to prevent crossing that direction. She was successful and Martin and I were running in the field, trying to get them back to the farm.
They went to the farm, but ran by and went to the north fenceline and beyond and ran a half mile down the field road. At this point we took a break and each grabbed our cell phones and Linda drove around the section a mile down and was going to approach the sheep from the opposite direction on the field road. She caught up with them where the red squiggles are in the NE corner. By this time a neighbor came by in his tractor and joined the fray. We got them turned around and heading back to the west.
Where the line turns purple, one lamb dropped off (probably from exhaustion) and while Linda patrolled the dirt road with the car to prevent them going further north, I was trying to get them to move back west. Martin and the neighbor grabbed the tired lamb.
The ewe and remaining lambs ran back past the farm, but where the purple line turns yellow, Linda was able to grab two more of the tired lambs. Now we had three lambs in possession, with the ewe and one lamb to go. We had the momma bait we needed. From there, it was rather uneventful getting them all back in the fence. All in all, those week-old lambs probably ran about two miles, as did I through the unplanted cornfields, enough exercise for the day!
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