...........Here we tell short sheep stories with a little wit and occasional pearls of wisdom. This area will be changed on a fairly regular basis. The pictures are copyrighted, please do not use them.
..........There is a link at the bottom of the page to go back to the previous tales............This story was written in , March 98
...# 10 "Wimps"
"Heck", the man exclaimed, "every so often, one of my sheep just jumps up in the air, and dies. Sheep are such Wimps ! "
I was standing at the "Parts counter" of our local tractor dealer, eavesdropping on the pair standing down at the other end.
Contrary to what this man says, we find that sheep are just the opposite of being "wimps". But in defense of this man's attitude they often look that way.
If you have a flock of 10,000 sheep, you are an exceptional human to notice the BEGINNING of a sheep's problems. But it is hard to miss the END of a sheep's problem, when they finally give up, and die.
If you have a small farm flock, and you spend a fair amount of time watching them, you will get to know when something is going wrong. And a lot of the time, it is very subtle. Jean will occasionally say of a particular sheep "it just doesn't look right", which generally means that the sheep is not "acting" right.
Sheep have an amazing tolerance for pain. We humans equate "screaming and crying out in pain" with the expression of pain.
If a sheep is injured in an accident, they do not lay there and scream, they get up and hobble off in silence.
A sheep that has over eaten, and is starting to bloat, will stand in the corner, quietly, but it's hang-head posture is screaming it's distress.
To understand a sheep, you must keep in mind that they are "lunch" for hungry wolves, coyotes, and other predators, and have survived as a species by NOT showing that it is in pain.
A sheep that is sick from a disease, and is weakening, has only one means of protection, and that is to go with the flock, and pretend to be healthy.
If YOU are at risk of being eaten alive, and have virtually NO way to defend yourself, then YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT WHEN YOU ARE INJURED, because the hungry beasts look for those who are weak and injured !
I have seen a sheep run into a pole and suffer a shoulder injury that has caused her to limp for the rest of her life. And never has she voiced a single sound of pain!
All of the indignities that we humans inflict on sheep (ear tagging, tail docking, neutering, hoof trimming, shearing, etc.) are all endured in silence. Watch a sheep "nicked" by the sheep shearer, losing a chunk of skin several inches in diameter, and all you see is the sheep flinch and squirm, but never a sound. "Wimp"?, not hardly !
The only time I have heard a sheep cry out in pain is from ewes during a particularly difficult birth. And then it sounds muffled, like an animal who's absolute ability to control the expression of pain, has finally exceeded it's limit.
Sheep are definitely not "Wimps" and they do not "Just jump up in the air and die!".
They are masters at concealing their pain and suffering, and we humans need to look for their distress instead of listening for it.
You can click on these numbers to continue, or use the pink buttons at the top of the page, or the *Jump links* that are below, to go somewhere else.
#1."Me-sis" #2. "Gem" #3. Short History #4. Stupid? #5. Rule #1 #6. Chris #7. Leonard #8 Lamb Wave #9. You know...when, #10. "Wimps" #11. "Fidget" #12. Invisible sheep #13. "Fraidy" #14. Words
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