That's it. I finally couldn't take it anymore.
I have a sheep named Wheat who---alone out of the entire flock---has developed a bad habit of getting her head stuck in the hay feeder. Oh sure, a rare few times I've had to rescue another sheep or two who have gotten their heads stuck somewhere. But those sheep have done it ONCE, learned their lesson, and never done it again.
Wheat, on the other hand, does it daily. Not just daily, but two, three, four times a day. Every time I go outside, there she is, stuck again.
There's another feeder she could eat at where it would be impossible to get stuck, but she rarely uses it. There are other ways to eat from the feeder she likes without getting stuck (all the other sheep do it!). But she won't learn them.
As a result, she spends most of her time trapped in one position---all night, all weather, any time when I'm not right there to rescue her instantly. After all, I DO have a few other responsibilities on the farm besides extracting learning-disabled sheep from the same stupid predicament over and over and over again.
So I finally said enough was enough. I came up with a solution to the problem. For the rest of the winter, Wheat will have to wear a dunce cap. A special dunce cap, invented just for her, to prevent her from sticking her head into places it doesn't belong, so instead of getting stuck all the time, she can move around freely like a normal sheep.
Well, maybe not quite normal.
Wheat's dunce cap is a spare piece of light PVC pipe fastened to her horns with duct tape. It makes her head too wide to go through the small holes where she likes to stick it. If the head can't go IN, then there won't be any issue with it not being able to come back OUT. With any luck, by next winter, Wheat's own horns will have grown enough that they will naturally prevent her from getting her head stuck.
But for now, it's the dunce cap for her. And after all the hassle she's put me through over the past month, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a certain perverse satisfaction in making her wear that embarrassing looking contraption on her head.
The other sheep are looking at her like she's an alien. They'll get used to it soon, but meanwhile they're not sure whether they want to run away, beat her up, or follow her around staring at her new fashion accessory.
At least she can run around wherever she wants to now!
Duct tape really DOES fix all problems! :-)