“Some sheep are out on the lane, are they yours’?”
A question our Head Shepherd Chris sometimes gets asked by phone, message or on our village Facebook page.
“What do they look like?” he asks.
“All over white or black heads and legs?”
“Oh I didn’t notice, they just looked white to me”
So now you’ve scrolled down, without peaking, describe the sheep in the photo above!
Something that shepherds are particularly good at is observing detail.
They stop and take time to check their flocks.
Not simply charge around the field on a quad-bike (though sometimes this is needed) but walk with their dog and watch.
They’re looking for any unusual behaviour, abnormal gait, condition of fleece. Only then will they know if attention is needed – either individually or the whole flock.
A shepherd will also listen, especially at lambing time, for signs of imminent birthing. Chris reckons having been around sheep for so many years that he can smell if a sheep has worms.
No name given, but I’m guessing it’s a shepherd’s version of a gemba walk.
When was the last time you were still and truly observed those around you, so that you can take any relevant action?
Shepherds don’t just watch their flocks by night, as the Christmas carol implies.