Today I had a call from my neighbour telling me that his plumber mate had just seen my sheep running down the road. His mate gave a description of the sheep that matched my sheep … so, being a good neighbour, the information was relayed to me. This is one of the things I love about living where we do, the neighbours are friendly and helpful.
So, I rang my lovely wife who was visiting a friend of hers about 45 minutes away from home and we planned to go home immediately and deal with our collection of recalcitrant ovine. It sounded like they were holding up traffic, giving lip to local authority and, generally, being unruly.
While in transit, my neighbour once again gave me a call and told me that they had been chased into the paddock of a historical house and were awaiting my pleasure. He also mentioned, jokingly, that “it’d be easier to shoot the bastards now that they’ve been caught”. My neighbour is quite the laconic Australian gentleman. Of course, we laughed about this.
I pulled into our property and saw that my goats were also out of their paddock and chomping through the house garden … simple enough explanation though, my lovely wife had let them out to have a browse in the back garden. Part of the reason for this is that Holly (our big doe) has managed to create a hole in the fence and gets out occasionally, so I let them back into their paddock and fixed the hole. One job done (for now).
Next, I went into our sheep paddock to find out how the sheep had got out. We’ve had some fierce winds lately, so the fence-line may have caught a downed tree or heavy limb, making it easy for the sheep to skip into the vineyard, and then lark along onto the main road.
Well … when I entered the sheep paddock, the first thing that struck me was … there were my sheep. I called my neighbour and let him know that the miscreants were not mine.
There was a heavy branch down over the fence and it did need immediate attention, but it was not the disaster that I had been planning to resolve.
This does, however, put me in mind of the misinformation that I had been spoon-fed as a child, if indeed one does “leave them alone” they will NOT “come home, wagging their tails behind them”. I think that Little-Bo-Peep should not be trusted as a reliable observer of livestock and their habits. In my experience, if you leave them alone you are more likely to never see the bleaters again.