It’s been four days since Liz brought my new sheep to the farm. Still, there are times when the three of them are separate from the rest of the flock. Their favorite place to graze is around the solar panels in the south pasture.
On Sunday, while the rest of the sheep were grazing in the back pasture, I lured Lori, Merricat, and Constance into the barnyard with some hay. They eagerly followed me and started eating as soon as I dumped the hay in the feeder.
Liz was concerned that Merricat wasn’t getting enough to eat at her farm and was supplementing her diet with grain.
I noticed that when the bigger sheep chased Constance away from the feeder, she came right back, pushing her way through to the hay. But when they pushed Merricat away, she wouldn’t try to fight her way back.
I wanted to feed the three sheep separately on Sunday to get them used to being around me and to reassure them that they would always have enough to eat. I learned from Jon that animals are calmer and more responsive if they know they don’t have to fight for food.
Since I saw that Merricat wasn’t eating at the feeder I’ve been putting a pile of hay next to the feeder for Merricat to eat from. Both Lori and Constance have joined her in eating from it and sometimes Asher or Issachar do too.
The rest of the sheep are content with their regular routine, not bothering the lambs while they eat.
The other thing I’ve been doing is sitting next to the three new sheep while they eat. I’ve found that with most animals it’s a good way to get them to trust me when they associate me with food. It also allows me to make sure that the lambs are getting enough food.
Today I started to lightly scratch the backs of the lambs while their eating. I’m hoping they’ll get used to me touching them too.
This kind of contact between us will just make for a more comfortable relationship as they get bigger.
That’s Merricat and Lori eating breakfast this morning. While (below) Constance pushed her way between the big sheep and ate with them at the feeder.