By the Horns

I have had occasion to wonder in the past why farmers put sheep in fields with fences that have holes which are temptingly just big enough for a sheep to get its head through, but not apparently big enough for the sheep to get its head out. There’s a field on the way to Bigtown which has recently been filled with sheep with horns, which makes them apparently extra susceptible to getting stuck as I have twice in the past week encountered a stuck sheep there and found myself wondering how to unstick the sheep.

So far, the best method that I have come across is to stop and go up to the sheep making helpful suggestions about how it might want to free itself in a conversational tone while looking around frantically for someone who looks as if they might know how to wrestle a sheep out of a fence* until the sheep – terrified by the approaching cyclist and unsoothed by my remarks – twists its head free.

This tends to be complicated further if a giant Hercules transport plane chooses that moment to roar overhead, as it did when I was on my way to the ‘allotment’ the other day, although the sheep actually took that part in its stride – obviously a person on a Brompton making conversation with them is way more terrifying than a ginormous plane which looks as if it’s about to crash through the tree tops.

Anyway, whether it was my advice or just sheer terror, the sheep detached itself and ran off without my having to get hands on with it. Long may this continue.

And no photo of the sheep (because it seemed a little insensitive) so you will have to make do with a chilli that seems to have turned itself into a ram’s horn instead.

curled up chilli

* I tried googling it, but the answers all seem to revolve around minecraft sheep, which isn’t massively helpful, and this video which reminds me that no sheep-related good deed is ever entirely uncomplicated.

4 Responses to By the Horns

  1. Johnny says:

    It’s generally easy to get the sheep’s head out – I’ve done it myself dozens of times over the years (and I’m not a farmer). The sheep will generally lash out and go mad as you approach (mind its feet!), but once you place a hand on its neck or head it becomes magically still. Simply hold it by the scruff and with your other hand push its sticky-out bit (horn etc – one will usually do) firmly downwards and then pull with your other hand at the same time. 9 times out of 10 that’ll be enough to free it and it will run off without even a thank-you. The tenth time it’ll stay stuck and you’ll need either a pair of scissors (to cut free the wool tangled round the wiring) or a pair of pliers, to cut a piece of the wiring so it can get out. The farmer will never know. (Scissors and pliers always handy things to carry about on country walks/cycles.)
    Good luck next time!

  2. disgruntled says:

    Thanks for the info … we’ll see if I ever have to use it.

  3. Charles says:

    Hello, if Trump wins the election does that mean that Washington becomes Trumpton? Just asking….Charles

  4. disgruntled says:

    I’m trying not to think about it …

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