Saturday, September 22, 2007

Trouble with the Flock

Today, Trouble the Runaway Lamb was released from quarantine. I decided that she only needed a two week quarantine here, since she'd essentially been quarantined---or at least isolated from any other livestock---the whole time she was in Tennessee.

(See Can't Catch a Break... Or a Sheep!, Looking for Trouble, Trouble Ahead, and We've Got Trouble! to read her full story, if you missed it the first time around)

She's bright and perky, without a hint of any health problems, so now she's able to finally become a full-fledged member of our flock.

When I let her out with the others, she ignored every single sheep the entire flock and walked all the way to the far side of the pasture, where she politely approached and introduced herself to Pandora, the boss ewe of the flock. Coincidence? Or part of some sheep etiquette we don't know about?

Did she know Pandora was the boss ewe? Possibly. She's been able to watch the rest of the flock from her quarantine pen, even if she couldn't get near them. It's possible she could have observed enough interactions amongst the other sheep to figure out who's in charge.

After that, the flock mostly ignored her, and she mostly ignored them. They all pretended to be too busy eating grass to notice each other, although you could tell that they were all quite aware of the newcomer.

Sheep are so different from horses that way. If you introduce a new horse to a herd, usually you're going to see fireworks: prancing, snorting, squealing, running around. Horses like to make a big fuss and show off in front of newcomers. Sheep apparently like to play it cool.

Eventually, Trouble did seem to find a friend in Tansy, one of the other lambs. I don't know why she likes Tansy the best, but she followed her around a little, figuring out where everything is (water trough, mineral feeder, gates, etc.).

Trouble's leadersheep tendencies are very apparent. She walked around everywhere, examining everything, extremely watchful and interested in everything the other sheep were doing. She's learning the ropes, memorizing the details of location and routine.

Then came feeding time. Here's a video of Trouble eating her first meal with the flock. It's tough being the new kid in town! The other sheep shoved her away from the feed dishes, and she had to try several times before she found a spot where she could eat her dinner.

Give her a few more days, she'll fit right in as if she'd always been here.


Meggie said...

Nancy: I'm having such a good time learning about your sheep. Thanks for the lessons. They all seem to have such individual personalities... I always look forward to your posts.

Nancy Chase said...

Thanks! And yes, they do certainly have strong personalities. It's quite entertaining to see how different they all are from one another.

Mark said...

So Trouble got a taste of her own medicine. But it looks like she is settling in. Phew.