Rule #1: Eat Food. Alot! ~ Rule#2: Stick With The Flock! ~ Rule#3: Be Aware! ~ Rule#4: Not To Close! ~ Rule #5: Play Games!
“Us vs. them” is something sheep understand too well. The family tribe is strong and anyone else -keep out of their personal space. But I think this rule depends on upbringing. And character.
Even though they may come running to my call, (only the “shepherd’s call” – anyone else can forget it.) they have an amusing sense of boundaries when they stop short of my reach. I could stretch out my hand and they will back away, just out of reach. I can almost hear them saying, ” uh uh uh… not too close.” If I take a step forward, they take a step backward. But if I step backward, they take one step forward. A game of “Simon Sez” anyone? In the next photo, it may seem like we’re on friendly terms, but they were just out of reach. When I leaned forward, they stepped back. No amount of coaxing would change this.
The exception to this is if I have grain, for which Rule #1 takes precedence.
Re: upbringing, bottlebabies are understandably different, rushing to the bottle person whether you have it or not. They will never let you forget it. So, when grown, they still have that familiarity and are more willing to be within close range. This may or not mean close enough to touch, just whatever range they decide is right.
My first ewe and ram lambs came from a plantation that had fairly good contact with their sheep. I walked into a darkened barn and unknowingly, the ram followed me in. I should never have turned my back or been near him at all, but what actually happened was a fluke. He came up behind me and stuck his head under my arm and wanted to be petted. He was young; I was naive. I thought it would last. So I took home a couple of his lambs and tried to make friends. They only wanted to run away. Unless I had grain. But in the end, those two lambs started my family of sheep to continue for the next 35 years. Some were more friendly than others, some were more bossy. Some were outright wild. All were real “characters”.
In the YarnTalk story, I’ve sprinkled little sign posts about “the rules” throughout. Each character is reminded about a r
ule depending on what’s going on at the time. Of course, SnoBelle ignores the reminders, but she’ll use them in her own way.
At right is Panda. Look in his eye; he’ll stare you down. I wouldn’t want to get close to him either.