The trials and tribulations of a sheep farmer...Sigh.
This is the first year we have had rams on the farm over winter, it may also be the last.
So when people use the statement "sheep are dumb" my boys are the animals they are talking about. Basically these two goofs care only about two things, being with the ladies and eating (typical males). So right now they are separated from the ladies for the duration of the winter and so they are bored. Well these two dummies have found that if they ram the door of the feed storage shed (that is attached to the chicken coop) hard enough and enough times, they can eventually break the lock or bend it enough that it's rendered useless and they are able to climb right up in and raid the feed (because food is the second most important thing of course) and then push their way inside the coup and proceed to destroy the chicken feeder, the nesting boxes, the roosts, etc... I"m guessing because it's fun and they've got nothing better to do.
Now I know, you're thinking, "well gee I wouldn't call them dumb, they must be pretty smart to know to do that", but really they are just thinking "Me want yum yum, me break door, me get yum yum". I know because I'm a sheep whisperer. No, not really, I can just see the look on their faces and know that there wasn't much thought behind the action.
Now the other thing your probably saying is "Well maybe you need to feed them more, I bet they are hungry." Well no, they have an unlimited supply of good cut hay, loose minerals, and plenty of water available to them at all times and they really don't need anything else. Of course we keep a supply of the "good stuff", which is a sweet feed mix of corn & grains for an occasional treat or when we need to catch them for health maintenance routines, but they don't get this everyday because it would have negative results. Think about feeding your kids Mcdonalds Happy meal everyday because they don't want to eat your meatloaf and veggies, of course it's what they want, but you know that it's not good for them. Anyway, this is what they are after, that and the chicken feed, which is even worse, because chicken feed contains a small amount of copper, and copper can kill sheep. So here's the thing about sheep, (this could be the "dumbness" that is associated with the species) sheep will eat themselves to death. Yep, they will just eat, and eat, and eat until they become bloated. I know, "well that's no biggie", you say, "I get bloated all the time for different reason's can't they just walk it off or take an malax?". No they can't, for sheep, bloat can be deadly. Their stomach isn't like mine and yours. Here's a little excerpt from an article I found online to help explain this:
"The stomach of ruminant animals produces gas as a natural by product of digestive fermentation. The animals continually belch, about once every minute, to get rid of the gas. Whenever anything interferes with this release of gas or if fermentation is too rapid, gas becomes trapped in the rumen causing a condition known as bloat. Bloat can be a life threatening condition if left untreated"
-Found in the ESGPIP's Techinal Bulliton #31 (A study of bloat in sheep and goats)
So basically if they get in there and eat too much chicken feed (too much copper) or too much sweet feed (rapid fermentation/extreme diet change) and we don't' catch them in time, they could possible die and as much trouble as they cause, we most definitely don't' want that, we love our silly boys.
Anyway, so it's just a bad situation and we are on lock #3 and today they destroyed that one. I was able to bang it back in place with a mallet and get the door latched, but I'm not holding my breath.
So here is the dumbest part of this maneuver, once they are in the chicken coop they are stuck. Yep it's all fun and games until your sleeping in the coop with a chicken pooping on your back because the door only goes one way. They have managed to destroy the coop door once (but with no success at escape) so hubby had to put it all back together and reinforce it. Which they managed to mangle again today.
It's just stinking annoying. All because these two have a one track mind, woman, food, & butting things with head (they don't call them RAMs for nothing)... The girls have never done this much damage. Just goes to show who the superior sex is... :)
To their credit, when they aren't stupidly ramming things with their heads, they are super sweet and loving. They love to be scratched behind the ears and always come running with wagging tails when I go out to refill the hay and collect the eggs. They like to "play" and run and jump around and they never seem to mind when a chicken decides to hitch an occasional ride on their backs. They are good boys, who just do silly things sometimes. They kind of remind me of my children...lol.
Here they are. See that look, the one that says "Man we are sooo busted, sorry Mom."