This year we were totally excited to get ahold of 3 Babydoll sheep, which are a miniature heritage sheep. One ewe lamb, one ram lamb, and one wether – which to all you non-farm folks out there, is a neutered male. Locating and finding some that were available was a challenge, but we were so happy when we got Eva – our ewe lamb and Ebenezer, our one year old wether – now known as Kevin. We got them from a breeder on Denman Island, B.C., and they were worth the drive and ferry trips! We luckily picked up our little dude, Ron, by complete fluke from a friend and our “herd” was complete.
We let the sheep free range, and so they can graze and eat what they please, and are incredibly effective brush trimmers and lawn mowers. They fearlessly devour every bramble or salmon berry leaf that mistakenly grows in the direction of our yard, and are sweet to watch and they have a fantastic wet wool smell about them. Which is something I never thought about until we got them!
Ron, our intact male, is theoretically a white sheep, but since his favourite pastime seems to be rolling in the dirt, his coat seems to be quite brown. And then, Kevin, who always looks like he has smelled something unpleasant, has a beautiful grey coat, and I love his face.
So with all these glowing reviews, why such a nasty title for this post Shepherd? Well, we have worked on making our animals friendly, by talking to them, feeding them sheep treats (called sheep “text” if your find yourself in the market for sheep treats), and the result, yesterday, was this:
I walked out from the house, opening the front door to find these layabouts. So I walked out the front door, and turned around and took the photo. They didn’t flinch. And yes, I am well aware that my ivy in my pots on the front stoop looks awful, as that sheep have been doing an efficient job at decimating the ivy, my hydrangeas, and the laurels we planted to line the driveway. They also have a panache for gnawing on the lawn furniture, and they have this ridiculous laissez-faire attitude. (The rest of the mess on the porch is actually turkey droppings, ’cause the turkeys like to come and protest on farmer’s doorstep for more food… and to gossip. Lots of gossiping going on. Oh and wait, there’s sheep poop on the first and second step… as per usual. Jerks.)
So besides the fact that they eat everything, and taste-test the furniture… it’s the casual attitude about it that drives me mental. These are the imaginary conversations I have with our sheep… please note that in my head, Ron sounds like a typical Californian surfer.
“Ron, you can’t eat that!”
“I dunno, I’m pretty sure that I can.”, takes another bite of my favourite plant at the front door.
“No Ron! I like that one!”. This is said in a stern tone, with hopes he gets the hint.
“Well… so do I.” Continues munching…
“It’s not meant for eating!”. The Shepherd by now has lost her cool, and is going red in the face.
“Well, I dunno, there wasn’t a sign or anything saying that I couldn’t eat it, you know…”.
“RON!”. Shepherd is red faced.
“Fine, I’ll go somewhere else… no need to freak out man!” Ron trots slowly off, and heads for the rose bush.
Some days, you just have to know when to pick your battles… So much for the roses.