Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Sheep in the Kitchen

I love it when the animal/human rapport gets developed to the point where you can actually have meaningful, useful communication. I had an example of that today.

One of my sheep, Teasle, was sick earlier this winter. She's recovering now, but when she was still not feeling well, she ended up getting quite thin. Sheep are very pushy at feeding time, so a weaker sheep doesn't end up getting as much to eat. And it's harder for her to gain the weight back during the cold weather we've been having, since more calories are burned just staying warm.

So, whenever I get the chance, I try to sneak Teasle a serving of grain when the other sheep aren't looking. If I do it when the other sheep can see, they all crowd in and shove her away. If I make a point to round her up, catch her, and put her in a separate pen, it stresses her out because she thinks something's going to happen to her. So I try to wait until she comes up to the house by herself and give her some food then.

A couple of times I've lured her right through my back door and into my kitchen, so she could eat her bowl of grain in peace when the other sheep started crowding around. She eats quietly, then waits for me to open the door and let her back out.

So now we've developed an understanding. Sheep aren't like dogs, or even cats. They don't know their names, and they don't usually distinguish that human speech means much of anything. But they can still understand communication at times.

Today when the whole flock of sheep came up to drink at the water trough, I went out on the porch and quietly said, "Teasle! Teasle!" until she understood I was talking to her. Amidst all the commotion of the other sheep, she looked at me and said, "Baa! Baa!" just as quietly.

I showed her the grain bucket, just briefly, so the other sheep didn't notice it. She trotted right through the whole crowd of sheep and around the side of the porch to where the steps are, right up onto the porch, and slipped inside the door when I opened it a crack.

She happily ate her bowl of food, and then I let her back out. And none of the other sheep even noticed what had happened.


Luscious Lather said...

I love this story! It is so sweet! I wonder if she will always continue this practice. I hope so. :)

Pat Reading said...

Wonderful story! You two have a bond now!

Megan said...

How cute! Its always nice to find those kinds of bonds with animals.

Kelly or Alex said...

How sweet. I always hate it when people call animals dumb. They are smarter than many people. I'm glad that you two are close friends in sheepeze.

Vanessa said...

Awww! How sweet! :-)

BaileyGirl5 said...

I love this story! Thanks for making me smile this morning.