Monday, November 11, 2013

Sheep debacle, part 2

Sorry it's taken me so long to finish the story about moving the sheep, but you know ... it's been a busy week. And I really wanted to have a picture to go with the story, and that just isn't happening, so here's the story!

Wednesday (the day after the original sheep debacle) is a day when Mike doesn't go to work until the afternoon, so we decided that we would simply set up a lane using our Electronet to move the sheep from their summer pasture to the winter pasture. After all, we have moved them from that pasture to the barn for shearing in the spring, and it worked just fine.

So, Mike set up the Electronet lanes, and no one even told me that they were going to move the sheep. They thought it would work so well. Then they came inside and told me what happened -- and it wasn't exactly what they had planned. Yes, the sheep did run right through the lanes of Electronet just like they do every spring for shearing. Then they ran between the barns (rather than into the barn) and they ran into the winter pasture ... and they ran through the pasture and didn't even bother to stop when they reached the traditional electric fence on the opposite end of the pasture. They went right through those five strands of electric wire and just kept running!

Mike and Jonathan and Jane assumed that the sheep ran around the south side of the pond and right back to their summer pasture, so they had come inside to ask for my help in keeping the sheep from running through the electric fence again after they herded them back the next time. So, I went down to the opposite end of the pasture and was hanging out when I heard screaming from the south, which is the opposite of the direction they were supposed to be coming from. As it turns out, the sheep had not run all the way back to their summer pasture. They had stopped once they were out of sight just south of the pond. So, we opened the gate on the south side of the winter pasture, and the sheep were herded into the pasture! Yay! No ... not so fast!

They ran into the winter pasture heading west, and they kept running ... and running. Everyone (except middle-aged me) ran after them and tried to get ahead of them so they could cut them off before they reached the electric fence on the west side of the pasture and went through it. And believe it or not, they actually succeeded! Yay! Yes, really! Bravo! Okay, not really, bravo ... not yet anyway.

Even though the sheep were in the pasture where we wanted them, it was quite obvious to everyone that they would not stay in there because they have zero respect for traditional electric fencing. Oh, yeah, that's why we moved them to the eastern pastures four years ago! (Those pastures are fenced with woven wire.) Funny how you forget little details like that. I had thought that it was merely because we had been keeping the cattle in the western pastures, and since we sold the cattle in July, we could now put the sheep in there for the winter, which would make winter feeding so much easier. But no, there was a real logistical reason that we had not been keeping sheep in there.

I suggested that we just fence in the sheep exactly where they were. By now, they had stopped running near the northern section of the pasture, and they were eying us suspiciously. I told Jonathan to go get the Electronet that had been used to create the lanes and bring it back and start setting it up to fence in the sheep in the area where they were currently standing. And that is what we did. They happened to be standing in an area where there was woven wire to the north and Electronet already set up on the east and west, so all we had to do was set up Electronet along the south, and they would be secure. It wasn't a huge area, but this was not meant to be permanent -- just to keep them in this area until they calmed down and realized that this was an okay place to spend the next few months.

So, we finally got the sheep where we wanted them, and they stayed put. This weekend, Mike and Jane put up Electronet around the entire perimeter of the western pasture so the sheep would have a larger area to graze and more grass to eat -- at least for a couple more weeks. We have started feeding hay already, and the sheep have calmed down, so this should be the end of the sheep drama ... at least for a few months.

1 comment:

Spinners End Farm said...

Sheep....they outsmart us everytime!


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