A Sheepish Social Network

The neighbor’s herd of sheep were observed displaying some interesting color preferences recently as they napped on a sunny hillside.  Not known for being individualistic, sheep tend to run in a flock and will follow like lemmings wherever the lead sheep decides to go. So what gives with this distinctly divided flock?

Having raised a fairly large number of “bum,” or orphan lambs as 4-H projects, I don’t recall seeing them in segregated corners in the shed we housed them in.  We gathered them up in early spring from the neighboring ranches who wanted to find them a home.  My little “flock” was usually comprised of a variety of breeds:  Hampshires and Suffolk were sometimes all black, but mostly had black faces and feet; Columbia and Rambouillet were all-white.

The “bums”  were always hungry and happy to see me, and would stampede for a pop bottle with a feeding nipple attached that they could suckle for warm milk.  When the warm spring days brought a little green grass, we would travel en masse to the creek bottom to graze.  A black border collie kept the lambs from straying from the flock and helped round them up to go back to the shed.  It was a harmonious little family of sheep with no tribal divisions whatsoever.  Now if only the world could follow their example!

. . . divided woolies claim their ground

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