Thursday, March 17, 2011

Freedom's just another word for...

Today we let the last set of lambs and ewes out of the group pen. For the ewes, the open door meant freedom and they rushed out. For the lambs, the open door meant nothing, but they rushed out all the same just because everybody else was rushing out.
The lambs immediately realized that they were someplace strange and called for their mothers. Most of the ewes realized almost immediately, that their babies were missing and came back to the barn to find them, maaing. Some ewes expected their babies to come find them. Those moms and babies called from opposite sides of the barnyard and never seem to get any closer.

For an hour or so in our barnyard, freedom's just another word for cacophony.

Eventually, all the moms and babies find each other and only call periodically when they can't actively see each other. They call, for example, if they are on the other side of the barn from each other, or if one is inside and one is out, or if they are standing next to each other, but one is facing north and one is facing south.

There are good reasons why sheep are thought to be dumb animals. Of course, I can also remember my kids and I doing the same thing - we just used more complicated sounds to call each other.

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