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The burden of leadership

Selene leader

Hi, Selene here.  As you might already know, Peaches, our leader for some years, passed away last month.  Having felt that I have been deputy for a while, I thought it only natural that the mantle of flock leader should fall upon my shoulders.  Well, it can’t be that difficult, I thought to myself.  Peaches made it look easy.

However, I find myself facing a couple of challenges.  The first is that I am never quite sure what to do each morning.  It’s the middle of winter and the weather can be pretty harsh around here.  We have shelters we can use and our favourite is down the hill near the humans’ house.  There are feeders full of hay there too and the ground has a stony covering, so it’s a good place to hang out.

Up near the top of the fields
Up near the top of the fields

The problem is, after we’ve had breakfast, I’m sometimes not quite sure what to do next.  Should we hang about round the hay and shelter?  Or should we head up into the fields?  The fields are good because they are quite dry.  No matter how much it rains, there are areas that are dry and don’t get muddy.  There’s also quite a lot of grass even though it’s January.  Not like last year!   Or was it the year before?  Hmmm (or should I say meh).  Anyway, we do like to head up to the top of the fields where we can chill out and chew the cud.

Sometimes, while I am pondering what to do, Ursi can get a bit impatient.  Before I know it, we are butting heads and the problem of where to hang out is quickly forgotten.  I am not sure whether Ursi, who’s quite a big girl, wants to take over or whether she’s bored.  Either way, I have to win the headbutting contest.  The problem is, Ursi just won’t give up.  Sometimes, Yzzy tries to get between us, but Ursi will have none of it.  A step back, lower the head and then biff.

I think the humans have spotted this because lately, they have been leading us up into the fields mid morning.

Anyway, this leadership lark is a bit trickier than I thought.  Maybe it will get easier in the spring when we can sleep out more.  I hope so.




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Summer Shelter Gets Our Approval

Hi, I’m Selene.  I’m the leader of this little flock of sheep.  I know Peaches might have something to say about that, and maybe Ursi too come to think of it, but I see myself as leader.  Where I go, the rest follow, most of the time.  Anyway, it doesn’t really matter too much, we sheep are very good at resolving any differences we might have.  We just put our heads together and come up with a solution.  Easy peasy!

Anyway, I heard a rumour that we sheep had been shown into a new shelter for the summer and then forgotten about it straight away.  Not true.  What is true that we were a bit flummoxed when our regular shelter was closed off to us.  We like it there.  We can get to any of our fields directly.  Now, if we want to get to the big field and we’re in the lower hay field, we have to go all the way round.

Us resting in our summer shelter

Anyway, I digress.  Our normal shelter was a bit muddy and some early summer rain hadn’t helped.  The humans had put in a connection to what they call the lambing paddock.  There’s a great shelter there – I was one of those fortunate enough to use it during lambing last year.  It was great because I wasn’t even pregnant but I still got sheep nuts, yum.

Where was I? Oh yes, we’d been shown a new path.  Well, it was very nice with lots of fresh grass, but I did remember that last time we were there, we had our coats shorn off.  While, at the end of the day, we are pretty pleased about that, it was a bit stressful at the time.  So, when we found we could go back to our normal fields, I thought it maybe best to avoid the new shed for a bit, just in case.

The only thing was, I hadn’t checked the weather forecast.  Luckily for us, the humans had, and they brought us back into the shed just before the heavens opened.  It was great listening to all that rain falling yet staying completely dry.  Especially as none of us had a coat.

testing the new path

Anyway, after that, we tested the new path a few times, but there was no sighting of the shearer.  A few rather nonplussed hens, yes, but they soon got used to us.  Turns out they’d had the shed to themselves for a while and were used to kind of mooching about in it undisturbed.  On the plus side, I pointed out to them, they also had access to our sheep path and could free range as far and wide as they liked.  And, indeed, it wasn’t long before they were off exploring.

So, on the whole, we like the new shelter.  I wonder if we’ll get to use it in the winter too.  I hope so.