The sheep are enjoying the new spaces they can roam in, and I am enjoying seeing them so close up. I can now share their family life, which is something I couldn't do when they were out on the fields all day. In the top photo you can see the two pig paddocks, and we have left the gates open so the sheep can graze the grass which is now growing there in the absence of the pigs.
The lambs are running around in a gang now, which they do when they have eaten enough grass and drunk enough milk. It is a fun thing to see them playing. They don't skip about much now, not like they did when they were newborn, they just play fight, and get up to general nonsense. So a couple of days ago the gang discovered the pig houses. And what a delight it was for them, such a secretive place, but only for the bigger lambs of the gang, the younger lambs being excluded from the club. And I don't know what was going on in the secret den but whatever it was it they were enjoying it.
Yesterday, though, all are not happy. Lester let the flock out as usual, but they just stood by the gate complaining at full voice about something or other, we knew not what. Normally they go off to graze, happy to enjoy the thick grass which is growing along the paths and down on the far field, but not yesterday.
Now when the sheep go into complaining mode, it can test one's nerves, so I got hold of the broom and shooed them away from the gate, and told them not to be so irritating, that there was plenty to eat and that they were to go and fill their tums.
It worked for a while, they did quieten down and wander off, but half an hour later they were back.
And they were complaining again.
And I felt myself getting irritated again.
And they were climbing over the big heap of rubble that was down by the oak tree,
so now 'why were they doing that', I though to myself.
And then like a blast of sunlight in my head it came to me that they were bored, just bored.
That after having spend the last three days eating themselves silly,
that they were still full up and not hungry enough to graze.
That after having spend the last few days walking here and there and everywhere, even going down on to the river beach, that they had become mentally and physically saturated with all the adventures they had had.
That you could see their tiredness at the end of the day because they could hardly walk up the short incline of the side path to get to their paddock to go to bed.
So Lester called them all back to the paddock, and there they were to stay for the rest of the day, with only hay to eat. I thought they would do more complaining, but they didn't. I think, in truth, that they were glad to stay in one place and to have a rest.
The plan is to keep them off the main field, so that the grass can grow to a longer length which will be better for the cows to graze. The sheep are to graze on the paths, far field, and river path, which should give them plenty of grazing. But it also means that we shall not have the abundance of wild flowers that we normally have because the sheep will eat them, but it also means that Lester will not have to spend time mowing the paths, and I shall not have to spend time scything down what can't he can't be cut by the tractor. It also means that the cut grass will not be wasted, that it will end up in the tummies of the sheep rather than being left to rot on the ground.
The upside: the place will stay tidy because the sheep are fantastic lawn mowers, and save us time, plus the fields get a rest from their grazing, plus it is nice to see the sheep wandering around the place.
The downside: we lose the prettiness of the wild flowers, and some of the young fruit trees are going to get eaten. Not to worry, we shall be planting flowers in the courtyard this year, so we can offset the loss of the wild flowers.
The sheep are out again today, and all is quiet. No moans, no complaints, so all is well with them!
Off to see what they are up to,
so bye for now,