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It's that tone of voice.............

(20 Posts)
Anne58 Wed 27-May-15 18:16:39

Sitting here in the home office, window open and can hear the sheep in the field at the bottom of the garden.

Having kept sheep myself in the past, perhaps I find it sort of second nature or maybe I'm getting a bit anthropomorphic, but I swear I can notice a certain tone from the ewes.

When the lambs are small they get quite agitated if mum doesn't respond immediately, but they are getting quite big now, and more inclined to go off to play with their friends.

This results in a much more "world weary" bleat from their mothers, sort of along the lines of "Kevin, I'm warning you now that if you don't come along for your tea this minute, I'm going to lie down and give both me feet and me udder a rest" or "Charlene, if you don't stop racing up and down the side of that hedge I swear I'll butt you from here to next week when you do come back!"

Yes, I know....... daft old bat that I am! I drove past my parents old house the other day, and there were sheep in the field where MY sheep used to be, gave me quite a pang.

loopylou Wed 27-May-15 18:45:23

grin brilliant phoenix
I absolutely agree!
When farming I swear I could 'hear' what the cows were telling their calves, and watching the behaviours was fascinating. Some were endlessly tolerant, others had relatively short fuses. Some calves definitely tried it on, others were very meek and mild.

Every cow (102 of them) had a name, there was a 'pecking order' to go in the dairy, and subsequent offspring all had names beginning with the same letter.

My all time favourite was Bugaboo who I hand-raised, her daughters were Buddleia, Bracken, Bumble, Bronwyn and Bullahoo.

Marelli Wed 27-May-15 18:51:31

I was watching two baby starlings having a drink at the bird bath this afternoon. Parent starling had a beak full of food and was offering it to both babies, but they were more interested in pecking each other, splashing in and swigging the water. One flew off, then the other, then parent with its beakful of food. Really is just like when the children were little and after they'd clamoured for food, ran off to play instead of eating it!

loopylou Wed 27-May-15 19:44:12

Parent birds always look so harassed, I feel really sorry for them!

Anne58 Wed 27-May-15 19:49:33

Thank you both!

When I had my sheep one was referred to as Trundle, (heaven knows why, it might have been perhaps she had such extremely short legs. She was never meant to be bred from, but got "caught" when a neighbours ram raped my bunch of 12 stores, that were earmarked to market after 6 months, knowing that they were likely to be pregnant, I couldn't have sent them to market with a clear conscience, so they stayed and were incorporated into the flock.)

Anyway, I'd filled the trough with feed, the ewes lined up for their brekkers, leaving the lambs to their own devices. Once the feed was eaten, the gate was opened so that they could all go out. Trundle set off as usual, got half the length of the field and then called her twin lambs. Admittedly they are not the brightest of animals (although I did have exceptional ewe) and Trundles lambs just stayed within the yard, calling for their mum rather than setting of to find her.

Watching dear little Trundle, I swear to this day she actually sighed and dropped her shoulders before turning round in a very resigned manner to set off to collect the little -buggers- darlings!

Anne58 Wed 27-May-15 19:50:29

Oh damn! Now my strike though has gone wrong! confused

loopylou Wed 27-May-15 19:56:04

That's such a wonderful image!
We sometimes had first calf cows who were utterly clueless as to how to look after their offspring.
One got up, took one look at the calf, literally jumped backwards then took off at a great rate of knots, jumped out of the field and it took us 2 hours to get her back!
We hand reared that calf; she was fine with subsequent ones smile

One cow, Una, would cheerfully adopt any calf, much to the chagrin of some fellow cows.

janerowena Wed 27-May-15 20:08:29

I completely agree with the tone of voice, I have two sets of sheep at the bottom of my garden, both small flocks owned by two separate neighbours. One mother is particularly loud and bossy and complaining! She told off one of her lambs for playing at head-butting my fence. I bet it is a boy...

loopylou Wed 27-May-15 20:10:22

Unless of course she was encouraging him in order to try a varied diet of your vegetables and plants janer grin

Anne58 Wed 27-May-15 20:14:24

Oh heavens, the memories are flooding back!

The batch of sheep I mentioned earlier, bought as stores to bring a bit of money 3-4 months, of course were first time mothers after next door's ram had had them, so of course I kept them.

As they weren't meant to be with us for long, they had not been handled. My dear ewes were totally used to us and could be vaccinated and drenched with no need for a crush.

This lot however, were a whole new ball game! I remember watching one of them in labour a bit of a way up the field. She was getting a bit tired, so I crept up behind her and pulled the lamb. The ewe than jumped up and set off back to join the others, with me running behind her with the lamb saying "Come back, look at your lovely baby" She was terrified! It was as if she thought she had been constipated and was now being presented with a live poo!

Glad to report that all ended well, and they soon bonded. Although of course that was nothing compared to another ewes "lamb knapping" (as opposed to kidnapping) a week or so later..............

janerowena Wed 27-May-15 20:20:41

lou It oetrifies me! Could they jump. phoenix? that does worry me. At the far end of my garden, there is a large netted fruit cage, the other half though has just a 3' fence with the area bare except for a greenhouse. I do worry that the one who does often seem to be trying to barge through my fence will eventually learn to jump it.

janerowena Wed 27-May-15 20:21:00

In which case - I also grow mint.

loopylou Wed 27-May-15 20:21:58

grin live poo, what a thought!
I'd have done a runner too!

AshTree Wed 27-May-15 20:24:54

I've never kept sheep or cows or anything else even vaguely farmy, but reading this thread has had me in tears of laughter and wishing I had had these animals in my life. Bit late now and we live on a main road with a small back garden, so it ain't gonna happen sad.
But thank you for these lovely stories smile.

loopylou Wed 27-May-15 20:26:13

janer, my thoughts too!

I think sheep can jump but I'd be surprised if they could clear 3'.
Is the fence yours or the farmers? It's his responsibility to keep the sheep in, so if you're worried I'd just let him know.

We had a couple of real Houdini cows, we eventually had to sell them, they'd clear five-bar gates in a style that Arkle would have envied....the

janerowena Wed 27-May-15 20:37:31

It's my fence. He's renting the little field (the nearest neighbour) and it wraps around our garden. The next one away sort of wraps around his, so I look across the first with sheep, chickens and turkeys, then the next which has a small run of sheep and a larger of big black pigs, also with chickens. It used to be an idyllic view across the watermeadows until this year - now it looks like Old MacDonald gone mad.

loopylou Wed 27-May-15 20:47:16

I think he still is responsible for keeping the sheep in - if you didn't have a secure fence he'd have to have fenced it, probably with electric fencing.
If his sheep damage your fence he's responsible too.

Difficult isn't it?

Anne58 Wed 27-May-15 23:21:42

AshTree I'm reasonably well known amongst the longer term GN members (ooer missus!) for posting absolute drivel that sometimes makes people laugh blush

janerowena Wed 27-May-15 23:59:09

Very important drivel, everyone needs a laugh now and then!

Icyalittle Thu 28-May-15 19:49:04

Thanks so much phoenix, I love your 'Phoenix flights of fancy'. I really enjoyed these, just what I needed. (I'm trying to recover from facial shingles, v.painful at the moment). Apart from 'our' daffy sheep in the field behind us, I recently saw a local herd of a dozen different breed sheep and goats: some looked as if they had dipped their snouts in ink, there was a Dalmatian one, and a sort of rasta one with dreadlocks. (He was on grass, obviously).