Tag Archives: Sheep

Still, and again, with the sheep

I had a blog at another URL, but I have been transitioning readers to this one. I plan to remove the other site someday, when the traffic there dwindles. The problem is, I still get many visitors to that site because of two posts: one about sheep, and the other about squirrels.

Maybe I should become a nature writer?

By far the most popular post is about sheep. Still, and again, I ask, why do so many people search for sites about sheep?

Do they feel like “lost sheep,” and need solace? Or are they “black sheep” and want to feel they aren’t alone? Maybe some kids need a sheep picture for a school project? Here’s one I took at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa, Canada. Feel free to use it.

lost-sheep

[Did you know that Ottawa, Canada has a farm in the middle of the city? Check it out. Central Experimental Farm]

Maybe we worry that we are becoming “sheeple,” blindly following along?

The website Sheep101.com informs me that the instinct to play follow the leader is hardwired into the brain of sheep. They can’t help sticking close to the sheep in front of them.

“When one sheep decides to go somewhere, the rest of the flock usually follows, even if it is not a good ‘decision.’ For example, sheep will follow each other to slaughter. If one sheep jumps over a cliff, the others are likely to follow.”

Sheep101.com

Sounds like sheeple to me.

They don’t even walk in straight lines. They wind back and forth so they can see behind them, first with one eye and then with the other, to watch for predators. In the natural world of predator and prey, sheep are prey. Their herding instinct keeps them together, because any “lost sheep” are vulnerable. They will be the first devoured by the pack of wolves.

No wonder those lost sheep need to be found.

As for the black sheep, Sheep 101 tells me that there were black sheep in the Old West of America. The black sheep were fewer in number and easy to spot, so they were used as “markers” to help count the sheep—one for every hundred sheep. The old time farmers said, “Once your markers are in, your flock is in.”

If you consider yourself to be the black sheep, know how useful you are. We need you to keep us sorted.

And now, I’m going to delete sheep from my other site. The squirrels are next. (I’ve got not deal with the squirrels.)