It’s unusual to be able to approach a sheep and not have them run for the hills, the first time I ever got to pet one was at ‘Only Foals and Horses’ a sanctuary in the North West of England. I couldn’t believe how friendly she was, never before in my life had I met one that wasn’t afraid, instead she nuzzled my hands and followed me wherever I went. When I was lucky enough to have Lula and friends come and live with me last year I was able to see two different kinds of behaviour. Lula and Augustus were both bottle fed and as a result became (and remain) very friendly and trusting, the other sheep who came as little family units were and are still wary, keeping their distance at all times unless food is involved.
I have been told many times that ‘sheep are stupid’ they get into all kinds of scrapes, they don’t think, they just go regardless of the obstacles. I have a sheep like this, she’s called Violet and she came with her mum after Lula. She is easy to spot in the field because she is normally covered in thorns and branches. Three times she has had to be cut out of a hedge and the third time was yesterday as she ran away from our pony ‘Homer’. She was so caught up in the hedge that I had to leave her to get tools to get her out (I say tools as I’ve no idea what they are called, they’re like massive scissors…you know what I mean!).
As I got caught up too and scratched as I tried to free her, I couldn’t help wondering if those people were right, if sheep really were a sandwich or two short of a picnic. Then today me and G were unfortunate enough to pull up next to a transporter truck filled to the brim with sheep. Packed in with their little noses vying for air it dawned on me, sheep aren’t stupid at all for running away from us, quite the opposite, because see what happens to them when they can’t get away.