We have a guest blogger today, my friend and fellow member of the Hermits’ Rest community, Mandi.
First, I will go back to lay the scene. When the sheep first came to the ranch, I set out to make them understand I was a friend, because sheep and goats can get through any fence that water can get through. Many years with goats and every fencing imaginable has taught me that. I needed to be able to call them somehow, if I ever needed to put them back in the pen (hich has happened).
I am very much one of those people who is going to give my animals, your animals, a passing by animal, etc. a treat if I have the chance. The two sheep would hang around, fascinated when we fed the horses. They wanted what was in their feed bins.
This made Fiona (or FiFi as I call her) very annoyed. Apache (Patchtastic) and Spice (No real nickname, I just yell, “Hey Spice! Tell me what you want, what you really, really want!”) had the “Munch, Munch, GET BACK, Munch, Munch.” reaction to them. But Fiona is only little, so to the sheep she is just a really weird looking sheep with big ears.
I have given the sheep many treats since they have been there, my kids have too. I believe Sue Ann keeps up with this tradition when I am not there. In fact I know she does. I wanted the sheep to be comfortable with me, and not be threatened or afraid of me. I succeeded. Maybe too much.
Yesterday, as soon as I stepped out of the van, I had a parade of two sheep behind me. I snapped a couple of pictures, because it was cute and funny.
I walked into the tack barn, bent over to pick up the horse’s feed bins, and got pinched right on the behind! My reaction was to swat and turn back fast ready to defend myself (or climb the fence if a bull happened to be out because I have never had a good encounter with a bovine, but that’s another blog of a teenage Mandi). The female sheep was standing there staring at me. She then stepped forward and started nibbling at my pockets, and pinched my hips on both sides. With her teeth. I have a couple of small bruises, but I did not take those pictures.
What does that mean exactly, and why would she do that? Sheep and goats are actually quite smart and learn well. We keep horse treats in our pockets. The sheep have learned. I typically leave the tack room door open when I am gathering the horse food, so that I can get in and out easier when I get water for the beet pulp. Not yesterday. The female was coming into the tack room. We can’t have that. All of the treats and other goodies are in there.
I made my way out to the horse pen, getting pinched along the way. I held the horse feed over my head like you do candy and toddlers because the sheep were trying to get it. It’s very muddy out there right now, and Apache was walking up. Spice touched him on the haunches, just walking and he went to jump and sprayed me with mud. I looked back to find the male sheep wiping his face on the grass because he got mud to the face as well. I put the feed down, then I gave the female sheep a treat, and the male was staying back so I tossed his. It landed at his front feet, and bounced away. He had his head all the way between his front legs looking for it while the female ran over and ate it. Poor guy.
I went back to the tack room. Pinches. I double checked the tack room light and door, and went to get in the van. I have a routine of things to do like plug my phone in, put my ear piece for the phone in, etc. When I reached to close the door, I grabbed fur. The female sheep was climbing into the van with me, with the male watching and waiting his turn. I pushed her back out, and closed the door. I breathed a sigh of relief, and called Sue Ann saying, “Are you ready for funny story time?!”
PS. The little nibbles and pinches didn’t really hurt; I bruise easily. It was just a shock when you’re certain that you’re alone and someone (thing) pinches your behind.