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Never seen a sheep


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If I hadn't been on this board for so long I would have been surprised to hear from a friend last night that an American colleague and his wife over here in the UK on a business trip had never seen a sheep in their lives.

 

These aren't people from an urban subculture, they are highly educated professionals.

 

My friend has sent them on a visit to the Lake District. Hope they don't have a nervous breakdown surrounded by so many alien creatures - and it's lambing time too.

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You can travel though vast parts of the US and never see a sheep. I know because I have driven a great deal and not seen any. Out West, in many areas, while there are lots of sheep, they may not be visible from road or highway. I think they are often off the beaten track in many parts of the country. I see cattle from the road fairly commonly, both dairy or beef. The US does not have the sheep culture that exists in the UK and Ireland but we do have quite a bit of cattle culture. Maybe that's largely due to the relative sizes of the US and UK/Ireland, the relative sizes of farms, and the history of both areas.

 

And, over here, we do not have the same system of walking on land where stock are grazed that occurs in the UK/Ireland, except on public lands in the West where grazing is done on vast stretches of BLM and other public land where people have access to walk.

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Although I grew up in an area where I saw cows on a regular basis, I don't remember ever seeing sheep until I was a good bit older. It wasn't really a farm area, like the area where I live now is.

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A friend's sow ate chickens. She just had a taste for them. They had to re-do the fence to keep them out.

 

 

I was always amazed by the (very few) people who wouldn't eat the eggs because they weren't from the store. If you're petrified of birds or chickens, fine. People can't help what they fear.

 

And the parents who were convinced the cockerel would eat their children, because we would absolutely let him roam if that were the case.

 

Having said that I'm not a country gal by any means, so I'm sure some of my mistakes would make for good stories!

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I live in Rhode Island and the only place I have seen sheep is at a very unique "farm" http://svffoundation.org/ which is really in the middle of Newport, it is very cool to be going to take my dog for a walk and to drive by all these rare breeds, there are always tourists stopped to take pictures. I know there are sheep in the state but I never see them when driving around.

 

What was strange for me was living in Vermont and not seeing many cows, I knew they were there you just never saw them. It was a light bulb moment when I visited a dairy farm and realized the ladies lived indoors, and were even miked in their stalls... Not the way I was used to seeing dairy cattle, who grazed and were milked twice a day in a pristine milking parlor... I was actually grossed out realizing that the pipes overhead were for milking and the conditions milking happened under.

 

Edited to add: I was just looking SVFs website and realized they had a page just for their border collie

http://svffoundation.org/animals/svf-foundation-border-collie-dakota.html

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Yep, petting zoo for me too. I grew up in the pseudo country but also went to my GU's farm to ride horses and visit my Aunt and Uncle, it is there that I found my love of border collies. But he had no sheep and I had no idea what true border collies did other than lay around on my uncles porch and let us pick ticks off them. Maybe my uncle used them when we weren't around.

 

But I didn't see sheep in a country setting until I took my first border collie to her first exposure of sheep. Funny thing is, it was right in the middle of an urban area. Well off people living on a few acres behind a very busy hospital had sheep and working dogs.

 

After the first time, I was totally hooked and now notice sheep all the time. Maybe I just wasn't looking as a child?

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That's hard for me to believe. Growing up in the US and not seeing a sheep. I guess i can imagine it being possible. My experience is Oregon, California, Utah, and Texas. I've never had to go far to find a petting zoo with goats and sheep. After reading what I've written, I'm imagining that anyone who read this is thinking, "Does this weirdo plan his activities around petting zoos with sheep and goats?" I never thought I did, but they seem to be at all the events I go to.

 

Matt

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Seems strange to me too. We've always lived 'in town' so to speak, but I remember seeing all sorts of animals growing up. Granted, my family does quite a bit of driving. Even now I often see sheep, cows, goats, llamas, horses, chickens, occasionally pigs, bison, and even emus (though not as often as I used to) and this is all just going to/from work (I like to mix up my route home every so often).

 

Thinking back though, I recall driving back roads specifically looking for livestock, animals, and 'hidden treasures' (old buildings, parks, etc) as a kid. We didn't have a lot of money growing up and gas was fairly cheap at that time so it was affordable entertainment. We even came across a couple zebras once just in a small field by an old farmhouse.

 

Then there is always the county fair...never been on the rides and spend very little time at the commercial exhibits. The animal and agriculture buildings is what its all about for us. I couldn't believe it when my friend in high school said she'd never been to the fair. I guess I just took it for granted growing up that everyone went to fairs and farmers markets with their dad like I did/do. :D

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I hate to say this, but as kids we used to tease our classmates whose families raised sheep. For some reason we thought cattle were fine. It may have been an economic thing -- those families were pretty low-income. Gosh we must have been mean. I lived in a semi-rural area of Michigan from 4th - 12th grades.

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The first time I saw hair sheep was in the Caribbean and it took me awhile to figure which was a goat and which was a sheep, floppy tails on sheep, pointy tails on goats was my main clue... Oh and goats were the ones getting into strange places and not quietly eating grass.

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