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!