Darn stinkin Sheep

Growing up on the farm I had all kinds of animals. I had rabbits, ducks, chickens, cows and calves, horses, dogs, cats, pigeons, and sadly sheep. I never liked sheep. I didn’t want them around and I hated the day my Dad decided he would bring sheep home to the farm. His favorite saying was,

All day you smell their stinkin hides and at night you hear ’em bleat.

Yep that about sums it up, still don’t understand why he brought them home.

Sheep and lambs

Sheep and Lambs compliments of Boston Public Library/Flickr

For those never around these smelly creatures here are a few facts learned a long time ago. First of all they have no gumption. When a ewe has trouble at lambing time instead of fighting through it like a pig, they just lay down and die. They simply give up. Weak animals compared to the pig. If a sheep doesn’t feel like living it just makes it’s mind up to die.

Second of all when they are little you have to fix their tails and neuter the males. We used to do this with very tight rubber bands. You put this on each of their tails and for a male you put it on his testicles as well. The males would just pass out, cold. A pig on the other hand when you did this you performed the surgery with a razor or a sharp knife on his manhood. No tail docking for pigs, of course. When you let them up they just ran and squealed at you. No passing out for a pig.

Can you tell the pigs were my favorite?

The only time I remember that a sheep had any fight at all was one season when we sheared them. Shearing sheep is something to witness if you have a chance. They grow these long wool coats to protect them against the cold. Then in spring or early summer you shear them and sell their wool. Their wool is full of natural lanolin and you fill wool sacks with the shorn hides to sell. Well when they get rid of their heavy coats they become like little lambs, that is they feel so light they run and buck and play like little ones.

After one particular one was shorn I opened the barn door to let her out. She took a big leap when I opened the barn door and hit me squarely in the chest. This put me on the ground with the wind knocked out of me. When I got my wind back I got up and headed for the house. My dad yelled “what are you gonna do?”  I mentioned the gun in the house to put the miserable animal out of her evil doins. The intent was there, but the deed wasn’t done.

Crites barn north of Gildford, Montana

Old barn over my left shoulder where we sheared the sheep

I don’t care for sheep. You can have these least of God’s creatures, all of them if you want.. Not me.

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