Asher And Issachar…Growing Up?

Sock, Suzy, Robin and Fate

When the sheep come in from grazing they are often frisky.  They run and kick up their heels, sometimes the butt head in the excitement.

I’m not sure what it’s all about, but yesterday I stopped to watch an interaction between Socks, Robin, Asher, and Issachar.

It went on for about ten minutes, long enough for the barn swallows to be comfortable with my stillness and come swooping through the barnyard as if I weren’t there.

Halfway up the hill to the barn Socks and Robin stopped.  Asher and Issachar caught up to them and stopped too.

After a few moments, Socks and Robin started to back up as if they were getting ready to bump heads.  They slowly moved towards each other but before they could gain speed, Issachar stepped in front of Socks and put his head next to hers.

At the same time, Asher gently rubbed his head on Robins, stopping him from going any further too.

Issachar and Socks, remained with their heads close, as if they were whispering to each other. They made no sound, but I could almost feel some kind of communication passing between them.

Something similar happened with Robin and Asher.  Asher stood in front of Robin, facing him, their heads close together.

The four of them stayed this way for about five minutes.

Issachar walked away first, followed by Socks.  After a while, Asher then Robin wandered off too.

Sheep butt heads for different reasons.  Sometimes it’s about dominance or mating. But from what I’ve seen with my sheep, it’s often hard to tell what is really going on between them.

Socks is an 11-year-old ewe, and Robin is a 2-year-old whether.  I can imagine Robin, being a young male, challenging Socks.   I can imagine Socks standing up to Robin.  But I don’t really know what happened.

It did look to me like Asher and Issachar stepped in to break things up.  And they did it in the most gentle way imaginable.

I often still see the twins as the feisty young whether’s they were when they came to the farm.  But yesterday I saw a maturity in them, I hadn’t seen before.

They were both bottle-fed as lambs by Liz our shearer before Ian.  She gave them to me because she couldn’t bear to send them to market.  The bottle feeding made them friendly.  Sometimes annoying friendly by walking so close to me they almost knock me down or trying to eat my hat or earrings.

But I haven’t encouraged that behavior and for big sheep, they are really very gentle.

I can’t help but wonder if they are moving into the leadership position in the flock.  I’ll have to watch more closely and notice if there is more evidence of that.  Or perhaps they play another role that I’m not aware of.

It would be easy for me to make up a story about what was going on between the four sheep.  But if I do, I might miss something that is happening that I wouldn’t expect.

Then I wouldn’t really be able to see what was going on right in front of me and perhaps learn something new.

Asher, Merricat, and Robin kicking up their heels after coming in from grazing.

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