Riddlesden Jacobs

A site about a West Yorkshire flock of Jacob Sheep

Moving sheep in the rain

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We don’t have enough land. That really is the long and short of it. We need more land so we can rotate properly and rest fields properly… But it is what it is, for now at least. We desperately needed to move our ewes and lambs off the field they were in though. Mainly because the field is made up of two section and the larger section we only rent for part of the year because the owner wants to get a cut of hay from it – it was therefore high time we shifted out sheep.

The problem was that when we moved our tup, Brough, we’d put him in the big field because we didn’t have anywhere else and the small section of our first field really really needs a rest – it’s had sheep on constantly for ages. Bernard has another small field which we thought might do for Brough for now but it needed some work. We have repaired the wall and fence bit by bit over the last few weeks just trying to do an hour here and there. Bernard did a great job finishing everything off yesterday and the field is now secure. So yesterday we walked Brough through the field which links the small one with our big one. After initialy walking through the gate and having a look round and then deciding he didn’t like the look of all this one bit and turning round and going back to ‘his’ field again, he eventually saw sense and followed me with the food bucket. Once in his new field he walked all the way around the perimeter. He stopped a few times to have a look whether he could reach the tastier looking grass and bramble on the other side of the fence and he spent a long time looking at one section of fence where the gap between the main bit of the fence and the top wire is a bit wider than elsewhere but overall he seemed happy. We’re not entirely convinced there is enough distance and secure fencing between him and the ewes but we will see. So with Brough moved, the girls could be next.

At 7am this morning we gathered at the field with our mums. My mum stood at at one end of the path making sure the sheep all turned the right way out of our gate. I went ahead with a food bucket, Kath followed on making sure everyone kept moving and Kath’s mum was at the other end making sure the sheep didn’t go past our field. The little flock moves at quite a pace once it gets going and to stay ahead I had to break into a little jog every now and again. Apparently our little flock moving along was quite interesting to the rest of the sheep on the hillside. Loads of them came down the hill towards the path we were on which was a little bit scary because the fence is more holes than fence really and I was almost sure that they would hop over or come through the fence and join our flock. I didn’t really fancy spending the morning sorting sheep and trying to get the ones that weren’t ours back into the right fields. Nothing we could do though but keep moving. Keeping going at pace seemed to work and all ours and no additions just walked straight into our field. Job done.

All the while it was raining heavily and we got soaked to our underwear. Having said that, a rainy early morning meant that there wasn’t really anyone around so we didn’t have to worry about dog walkers, runners or people out for a stroll. It was all done and we were home and dry by 7.45am. Photos of sheep in new field to follow – the camera on my phone might have dried off enough by tomorrow to take some!

Author: Jess Guth

Dr Jess Guth is a Senior Lecturer in Law. She blogs at jessguth.com She also doesn't really run - reallynotarunner.com

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