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Well trained,smart or really dumb?

 
Dwight Hardy
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I have had my Hair Sheep about two months now and really enjoy messing with them. I am still working on some fencing but have about 2 1/2 acre under perm.fence. I started dividing that in three equal lots with electric fence. I first sectioned off one section and put the sheep in there figuring that I would leave them in there for approx. 14 days.

Any way I had strung one string of 1/2 tape between the other two lots and did not connect it or put up any post. It just laying on the ground. A couple days ago I went to move them to a small coral for working. Using the old feed bucket I drove my side by side over to the coral with sheep in tow. When I got there the sheep were standing halfway across the lot just standing there looking at me.

All the calling and bucket shaking did no good, they weren't moving. Not knowing what going on I drove back over to them and there on the ground was the tape I had forgotten about. No amount of enticing would budge them. Finally had to lead them to the end and make a space for them to walk around.

Just to see how they would handle the situation after several days I decided to leave them on the big lot divided by only a 1/2 tape laying on the ground. 8 days later they still have not crossed to the other side.

Also the tape is laying way below the top of the grass as I mowed it to 2" before putting it down.

I was really amazed they would not step over it.

This morning I stopped on the far side of the lots and shook the bucket and they come running and I thought to myself that try are going to run across the tape this time. Wrong. One almost turned a flip getting stopped. Sort of funny to watch.

Just thought I would share.

Thanks
Hardy
 
Travis Johnson
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Sheep are smarter than people give them credit for!

Interesting to note that yours were hair sheep. I don't have electric fencing, I stopped chasing my sheep after I saw a ewe reach under the electric fence and munch on grass, the wires strung across the back of her neck. Miffed at my fence charger, I checked it with my meter and was surprised that it had 9000 volts! The wool of my sheep isolated them from the shock.

Now all I have is Page Wire fencing. I gave my fence chargers and net fencing away to a sheep farmer nearby that was rather desperate for some. I do rotationally graze, its just each paddock is permanently fenced.
 
Burra Maluca
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Sheep have good memories when it comes to electric fences.  They will eventually figure out that it's not live though, and when that happens they learn to test it each time.  Which means that your fence will never work unless it's switched on.  I find it best to keep it switched on as much as possible and then if anything does go wrong I have a few days until they start to figure it out. 

 
Dwight Hardy
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Burra Maluca wrote:Sheep have good memories when it comes to electric fences.  They will eventually figure out that it's not live though, and when that happens they learn to test it each time.  Which means that your fence will never work unless it's switched on.  I find it best to keep it switched on as much as possible and then if anything does go wrong I have a few days until they start to figure it out. 




I agree completely. Once they learn it you should never give them a chance to test it without results.

I just thought it interesting that they would not try and cross it because it was laying on the ground.

They tested the five wire intact fence a couple tomes and best I can tell have not since but no way to be sure.

I guess that to try and train them to the fence when they are heavy in wool might present some problems. Once sheared or shed off would be the best time for training I would think.

Hardy
 
Travis Johnson
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In Australia they did studies sending sheep through a maze and they determined that they could remember the fastest path to grain after about 2 years time. They remember faces even more. That is simply because they do not have a defense system other then to blend in with the other flock of sheep or run. In that way it is best that they remember friend from foe.

A few years ago when I was working 3rd shift at the shipyard, the sheep got out and my wife and friend tried to get them back in with no avail. They put waking me up for an hour until they had no choice. I walked out, said "Come on girls, let's go", and a hundred sheep followed me through the gate. They knew me, they know when I lead them its typically for their good. My sheep hear my voice and they follow me..

Sheep are not dumb that is for sure.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I agree with those who say they're trained.  If they were my sheep, I would not give them anymore opportunities to unlearn leaving electric fences alone!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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