Directly following the incident with the sheep on the highway no visible change was made. Then one day i drove by and a herd of cows inhabited the field instead of the sheep. I thought that this meant the farmer had realized his fence wasn’t sheep tight and either sold or moved the sheep somewhere better suited to contain them. Then the sheep showed up in the field with the cows the following day. Ever since their return to the field i have noticed one or two of them each day, a twisted bloody mess on the highway. They are stepping through the wide horizontal spaces between the barbed wire lines of the fence that is not meant for small animals and getting hit by cars and trucks. It is troublesome for me to observe knowing how hard we worked to keep them all safe that day i found the whole herd standing along the highway. We stayed for hours and made sure the guy didn’t lose one single sheep. At one point i walked out onto the highway with another lady and dead stopped traffic because the stupid sheep decided to cross to the other side at that moment. Trucks and cars literally parked to avoid hitting us. According to the neighbor this has been an ongoing problem for years and the sheriff has been out multiple times to wrangle both sheep and cattle back into the field. It is easy to feel responsible for these animals when you see them in danger and know what the solution would be. If i was wealthy i’d buy the wire and modify his fence myself. It doesn’t have to be a professional job. Just place some vertical lines in there to close those rectangles they are simply stepping through to get out onto the highway. There shouldn’t be sheep sized horizontal spaces in your sheep fence. As much as i might want to help…the bottom line is they aren’t my sheep. It is not the job of myself, the other two people who stopped to help, or the sheriff’s deputies to keep them safe. That would be the job of their owner and if we were to step in and do what he seemingly can’t, well that would be felony theft. So, there’s nothing i can do but watch him decimate his herd one by one each day. It is sad and ghastly wasteful. This is what happens when a person owns land that he keeps animals on but doesnt live at. Accountability is difficult because the person that needs to fix the problem is not present. There was one walking alongside the road and 2 dead when i drove by this morning.
Personally, the only way i would put animals on land i didnt live on was if i built a little tiny house or cabin and stationed a person to live in it and look after the animals…there are so many things that can go wrong with livestock. If you want to see a return on your investment you kind of have to be there or have someone be there, to protect them from predatory animals, manage birth complications, constantly be checking for wounds or infection, and also monitor the fencing and make sure they’re not escaping or getting stuck in it. Chickens are a pretty low maintenance starter animal compared to sheep or cattle and i know that i’ve had to be vigilant about predatory animals, bumble foot, a mosquito born illness that killed one of my chickens and had me nursing the rest through it with electrolytes and organic veggies and fruit, poultry lice, keeping them safe from each other during molting…i monitor their stress levels (reflected in color and hydration state of their combs), their reaction to temperature, the level of pest management on any given month…. I am constantly checking their coop for venomous spiders and snakes. I monitor the social hierarchy within the flock and see if anyone is getting bullied, fighting, or getting pushed away from the food dispenser. I can’t imagine trying to do all this remotely. I am able to be this vigilant a caretaker because they are twenty feet from my front door. I purposely placed the chicken pen there when i was planning because i wanted it to be illuminated by the porch light, both to deter critters and so i had light to see what was going on if i had to check on them at night. This placement kind of rendered my laundry line problematic as you should hang laundry far away from chicken shit if you want it to smell clean but in the priorities list around here my little feathered dinosaurs are at the top and the location of a laundry line can always be rethought later. Come nightfall i don’t want the chicken pen off in some secluded area where i cant hear them fussing if things go awry.