If you’ve raised sheep, showed sheep or even been around sheep, you’ve probably heard someone call them stupid (or maybe you’ve done it yourself). They’ve been universally branded as the dummies of the barn. While I spent several years raising show lambs and may be guilty of calling my wooly friends names that indicate they aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, below are five reasons sheep might actually be smarter than we think.
1. I swear they are related to houdini
Sheep are the masterminds of escape. They’ll use their mad hops to overcome a fence you thought was tall enough, squeeze through a space you were sure nothing could get through and even learn to unlatch a pen door. Due to their love of adventure (as long as they are surrounded by 15-30 of their closest family and friends) they know how to live life like someone left the gate open….even if someone didn’t.
2. Sheep know how to have fun
When ever we would move our ewes to a new pen or pasture, they always treated it as a brand new playground. Sometimes they would run the perimeter of the fence numerous times or simply jump around and play. Sheep love to frolic and know how to have a good time.
3. Sheep Remember people
They say elephants never forget, but really sheep can recognize hundreds of unique faces! (It’s how they can determine the different members of their flock apart). Crazy right?
4. They’ve tricked us into dressing them up
Seriously, who came up with sheep tubes? They are lifesavers because well, sheep are white and don’t like to stay that way for very long. However, we don’t put any other livestock in a hot pink, tie dye or flaming spandex but for some reason, we do it with our show lambs. And of course the more obnoxious the colors and patterns, the better.
5. They taught me more than i could ever learn in a classroom
The truth is, I doubt I would be here writing this silly blog post if it wasn’t for sheep. The purchase of two show lambs sparked a deep passion for agriculture and the adventure of a lifetime. Although there were definitely times I called my sheep mean adjectives like “stupid” (like when one would try to backflip off a fitting stand), they taught me an appreciation for where our food comes from, the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and how properly care for an animal that will enter the food chain. Raising sheep helped make me who I am and taught me perseverance, how to endure hard (and stinky) work, and the basics of running a small business. Seriously, I doubt I would know how to balance a checkbook if I hadn’t shown sheep. So no matter how frustrating their flight or flight reflex can be (enticing us to label ovine as having less than average intelligence), there a few valuable things we can learn from sheep.
Have another reason sheep are actually smart? Tell us in the comments!
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