Sunday, 31 July 2011

Baa baa black sheep....

Are black sheep more intelligent than white sheep?  Or just a bit more independent?

A couple of female neighbours from down the hill bring their flock up past our house very early in the morning, they turn onto a narrow track at the back of our house then up and over the hill to graze for a couple of hours.

They repeat the process again early evening.

Having watched this most days since we moved here more than two years ago, I can see how easy it is to control sheep.  The women make clicking noises with their mouths to call the sheep.  They also use an empty plastic coca-cola bottle filled with pebbles.  If one of the sheep climbs onto the wall at the back of the house..a couple of bangs on the wall with the bottle usually brings them scurrying back to join the rest of the flock.   After all...they are sheep...they just follow each other like....well...sheep!

There is one black sheep amongst the flock, who seems intent on doing  his own thing.   He charges on ahead of the rest of the flock...or hangs back and chews on anything that grows....usually one of our olive trees, the branches of which hang over into the lane.

This black sheep is running riot in our garden.  This started over a week ago. I discovered that a small grapevine which we planted this year...a cutting from the large vine, had been chewed, leaving a few straggly leaves.  Also three small apple trees are now almost bare of leaves.    Also there was further evidence...sheep poo. 

Because I had been at the hotel most days, I hadn't seen the sheep in action.  However I was at home yesterday and my dogs were outside barking furiously.  I ran out to see the black sheep munching his way through the garden.  He manages somehow to get into the part of the garden which is mostly enclosed by chickenwire, and the parts that aren't have a wall with a high drop to the lane below.

I chased him with the broom and to my surprise he leapt over the wall into the lane below.  It's a long way down but he was very agile and it caused him no problem....but it would be impossible for him to climb in the same way.  He then sped off in the opposite direction of his home, with one of the women chasing after him...shouting sorry to me as she passed.

The same thing happened again last night and this morning.  I honestly can't see how he manages to get into the garden other than if he climbs the lower wall into my neighbour's garden, and would then have to walk about 10 metres along a narrow stone wall, almost like walking a tightrope...and then taking a huge leap into our garden. 

Clearly the women have no problem controlling the rest of their flock...but this black sheep has a mind of his own.  We need to do something very soon to prevent him gaining access to our garden, before there is no garden left!


  1. This is too funny.....I guess thats why the saying goes 'the black sheep of the family' meaning probably they have a mind of their own and are mischevious.

    This reminds me when I was in a village of Bergama and was standing beside our car and I saw a bunch of sheep coming and one started to run towards me and I couldn't open the door. Because my husband had the I ran around the other side and he still kept following me around. I guess coming from big cities it scared the willies out of me.

    I hope he didn't destroy your whole garden and left something for you.

    Have a great day!!!

  2. Hi Erica...yes he is definitely the black sheep of his family..maybe that is where the saying comes from.
    Well I wasn't really used to the countryside before moving here, so I can understand your fear on that occasion. I often get caught up in flocks of sheep and chickens scurrying about..amazing how you get used to it after a while.

  3. I think I would probably be the black sheep. The one who revolted against the norm!
    Interesting story!

    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  4. Maggie: Yes and I am most definitely the black sheep of my family!

  5. Here is a practical solution:

    Mutton stew!

  6. Oh that did take me back to the time a Soay sheep was wished on me!
    It was a delightful animal, all black curls and orange eyes...but it could have taken an Olympic gold in high jumping and gymnastics!

  7. Nomad: Ah mutton stew...excellent idea! ;-

    Black sheep are rather beautiful Fly..and certainly this one is good at high jump!


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