After purchasing the land we were delighted to see stretches of new fencing along the tracks; however once we started putting sheep in the fields it was like a leaking ship. Actually it was more like the Mary Rose at points with not just agile lambs, but lame ewes escaping.
It transpired that shortly before the sale the previous owner decided to start putting in some new fencing, but before they could finish the job the land sale went through so some fields wen’t livestock proof. The crafty ewes had not only found their way onto the main track, but got under a second fence into a second field, broke through a third fence back onto the same initial track but on the other side of the gate and then into a third field. Confused? Welcome to herding sheep.
We have a complex contract; in that we are in charge of maintaining the land, including fences. Trevor, who rents the land, hasn’t said anything, but he’s too nice. So I decided to go and try to fix the fence.
Previously I’ve only seen 2 or 3 ewes in the escaped fields, but as I arrived to fix the fence I was confronted by dozens of ewes! Crap.
After fixing the gap under the fencing with a couple of old wooden gates and rocks I began to herd the old girls back in through the gates. As I calmly guided them with a readable amount of directional pressure they all made their way nice and calmly into the field. Boom, job done. I closed the gate and felt quite elated. But I’d missed one. Bugger. Sheep have a herding instinct, when they get scared the mass together and follow a leader. So 100 sheep can be easier to move than 1.
The dumb ewe kept trying to get through a gap I’d boarded up, but one that was under shrubs so I just couldn’t get close to grab her. In the end she bolted into the 3rd field. As I approached I saw another ewe in there; no problem I can grab the two of them, job done. But once in the field I could see was a whole flock in there. That was it, towel thrown in, time for the experts on 4 legs. There’s no human match to a good working collie, so i called Trevor in with his dog Roy.
While pissed I missed the one ewe there was great self satisfaction in fixing the fence and moving the majority in a fairly calm chilled movement.
The fence fixes were only temporary, once I’ve got over a recent bug I’ll have to get down and do something more permanent. I’ll keep you posted.