Lara is an Icelandic sheep who has Leader Sheep lines. The Commander convinced me to give a few Icelandic sheep a try when we lost two of our Cascade sheep this Winter. The two additional Icelandic sheep would allow us to have a few lambs to help keep the place going until we replaced the lost Cascades.
My initial impression of the experiment was that it was a failure, the Icelandics proved to be just a tad bit too big to handle. Trimming hooves and giving shots became more of a struggle than we were used to. The Icelandic’s were just big enough to increase the hay burn to an unacceptable level.
Lara is doing her best to change my mind. One day last month we had heavy rain. So heavy that the Commander went out and walked the fence line before letting the sheep and their lambs out to graze. Everything looked good so he let them out and took off to work. A few hours later I heard Lara back in the sheep barn area calling and calling. I went out to see what all the racket was about and as I got closer I noticed that Lara had collected ALL the lambs and the rest of the mothers were missing. I called for the rest of the girls and I heard them answer from down the path that lead to the road! I went and checked the fence line by the path and sure enough a tree had fallen across the line and all the ewes except for Lara had departed the pasture. Lara had somehow collected all the lambs, brought them back to the barn, and alerted me to the other ewes danger.
A few days later I had let the sheep into the goat pen to get control of the grass that was growing wild (why won’t the goats eat the grass – spoiled rotten they are) and I noticed a few of the ram lambs starting to chase after Gidgets two tiny doe kids. As I ran to the gate to get the girls out of trouble I saw Lara step between the ram lambs and the kids and shake her head to break off the pursuit – she was protecting the goat kids!
I’ve continued to watch Lara and noticed that she always keeps an eye on the other ewes lambs, several times I have watched (and listened) as she reunited Zoe’s twin black lambs with their mother after they had somehow gotten separated from her in the forest. So today I wasn’t surprised to go outside and hear Lara calling me from the sheep barn area, so I headed over to see what was going on. As I got closer to the barn I began to hear a weak crying sound coming from inside the barn. When I went inside I found what I thought was one of Lara’s twin ram lambs, Brighton, locked in a stall. He must have been there for some time as he was horse from crying out. I let him out and headed off, thinking that both he and Lara would be happy now that they were reunited. I was surprised to hear Lara keep calling out. When I turned to see what was going on I noticed that Lara was turned and calling to the forest are, she wasn’t facing me at all. Finally, off in the distance, the other sheep began to answer and started to head our way. I took a closer look at the lamb and discovered that he wasn’t Lara’s black ram, he was Azalea’s boy Bronson! It seems Lara had noticed Bronson missing from the flock, came back to the barn looking for him, and called me to rescue him. She had left her own two boys to find a lost lamb.
At this point Azalea was now crying in panic as she had finally discovered Bronson was missing. The flock came back to the barn from the wrong direction and needed me to open two fences for the reunion to commence. Everyone was baa’ing as loud as they could, lambs were screaming, the goats joined in as did the guineas, it was a full barnyard orchestra. In OFG’s words, I was now the bad noisy neighbor. I opened the fences as quickly as possible to restore order, but I’m really impressed with Lara. There really must be something to these Leader Sheep – I may have to keep her around.