Update on Friendly Ram (aka Chewy). Chewy doesn’t know how to behave as a sheep. He was a bottle baby; meaning when he was born there was some reason he wasn’t raised by mom so he was fed by humans from a bottle. Bottle babies don’t know how to behave like sheep, they are too comfortable around humans.
A couple weeks ago we were moving the sheep from the barn to the west pasture, a distance of about 50 yards. Chewy, as usual, was in the lead and the others obediently behind. First Chewy decides to stop at the chicken pen for a snack, then he decides to head to the pasture, and then back to the barn. At each stop he leaves several of the flock behind. In a matter of two minutes he has split the flock into three flocks. Sheep have what are called flight zones. These are areas to the front and rear of a sheep you (or a dog) can step into to change their direction. Chewy, who thinks he is part of the human flock, does not have these. Chewy is not steerable.
Chewy has now created an unsolvable logic problem. We have two people, myself and J, and three separate flocks. The logic problem is set up like this:
- You have 2 shepherds
- You have 3 flocks totaling twenty sheep
- 3 sheep are in the correct pasture, 4 sheep are in the barn, 13 sheep are over at the woodpile
- To keep the 3 sheep in the pasture you need to close the gate
- To keep the 4 sheep in the barn while you roundup the 13 sheep in the woodpile you need to close the door
- To combine the sheep in the woodpile with those in the barn you need to have the barn door open
- To move the 13 sheep in the woodpile and the 4 in the barn into the pasture you need the pasture gate open
You get the picture. Without a third shepherd it’s impossible to keep the right combination of doors and gates open and closed at the correct times while keeping sheep headed in the right direction.
We left the three sheep in the pasture and closed the gate. We kept the barn door open and herded the rest in and closed the door. This sounds easy, but it involved detours around the orchard, behind the barn, and through another field. We could have used my friend Pamela’s faithful bearded collie Gil, who brooks no nonsense from sheep.
Time to put Chewy in lockdown. We separated Chewy from the flock and escorted him with much wrestling into a side yard. There, after more wrestling, he was joined by the wether (a wether is a castrated male). Neither was happy, but J and I could now move the flock with ease. Which we did, and headed into lunch.
Within an hour Chewy was back in the chicken pen snarfing chicken feed. More sheep wrestling and a more secure latch. Chewy escapes again. This time by climbing over the gate into the barn. Yes, I said climbing, not jumping. And, no wether. He’s hopefully in with the rest of the flock.
While collecting eggs I stop and count noses as the sheep are in the pasture next to the coops. Nope, no wether. I turn around. There he is in the chicken pen, looking guilty.
Time to bring them back to the barn anyway, which is easier than getting them to the pasture. Within minutes everyone is back in the barn.
In the morning J and I nail an unused creeper gate over the gate leading to the pen and fence over a low spot where the wether has been leaping out. More sheep wrestling and Chewy and company are re-incarcerated. There they have been ever since.
Each morning I scoot past Chewy while bring them hay and each evening I scoot past Chewy to bring them their grain. Chewy is annoying. Between trying to open and close the gate while keeping him in I have to keep him out of the food I’m bringing until it’s in the feeder. The whole time he paws and chews at my boots or pulls on my jeans. It’s like having a 125 pound puppy.
I paused for a moment the other day to look at the rest of the flock grazing peacefully in the pasture behind the house; I was looking especially for little Andre, our week old lamb; when BAMMMMM! I shot forward a couple feet.
I guess my bum made a really good target.
Chewy has to die.