Firstly there is the look of the sheep – by that I mean will she be able to carry a lamb for just short of four months of pregnancy and then look after it for the next four months. So if she is too thin or fat this is not a good sign. There is the clue here – everything is just one sign. It is the build-up of information or clues that help us make an informed decision.
In the world of shepherding a lot of the information is very visual. We look over the whole animal checking everything we can: feet, udder, teeth and wool condition to name just a few but also any records we might have. Many farmers write on the wool with spray marker but this can wear off after time and of course at shearing time you lose everything (just like when the computer crashes!). I find doing paperwork outside is hard, with the rain, wind and dirt, sometimes just getting the pen to work is impossible.
Finding a system that works is most important and the placement of ear tags is a great way to record information with out having to write any thing down. Where you put the ear tag in the ear is key. It means so much more than just an ear tag when it is “placed” in a particular part of the ear. What I like about this way of tagging is that the information is always on the sheep and only you, or people that know your system, will know what it means. In fact most people will miss that detail but when it is shown to them everything becomes clearer.
Communication is not confined to words, tonality or visual clues. It is also understanding the “code” which people talk in. I am sure we have all met people who have said yes but meant no, or vice versa!
Throughout life we meet people some of which we gel with, have experiences that we value, know where we stand with them and how we need to react. The sheep with character always stand out from the flock and are remembered for what they do, not so much for what they look like, as a lot of them do look the same.
What clues to do you give when you meet people? Are you conscious that you speak “in code” on occasions?
What codes have you discovered?