Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Nanny and company

In June we were extremely disturbed to hear a dreadful crying from an animal in the grange opposite our house. Normally, sheep shelter there and we assumed that a dreadful thing had happened to one of the flock. On trespassing, we discovered that a goat was tied on a short tether and was head-butting the corrugated walls, crying in despair at being a prisoner. This continued for some weeks, even when we expressed our concern to the owner. Evidently, the goat liked to "jump" fences to escape and the previous owner had donated it to our neighbours for "correction". Well, the poor animal was moved to a more distant grange but we could still hear it's mournful cry and wondered about it's welfare and mental well-being. There is no recourse to the RSPCA in rural France! However, with our limited French language skills, we suggested that maybe it could join the flock of sheep in the field alongside our garden, but be on a longer tether so that it could have some freedom. Within the week, there it was in the field with the flock of nine sheep, in complete freedom being no longer tethered, head-butting any sheep that inadvertently got too near!!

We became friends and I would call her to give her extra treats from lawn mowings, weedings or prunings. She loved to eat entire plums, crunching the stones in her teeth! We got a bit mad when we discovered her climbing on our wire fence and ruining it to reach the branches of the plum trees! But then by mid-July the flock changed fields and Nanny and company moved home. In the early morning rays of sunlight Nanny was seen to be practising her mountaineering talents on the dry stone walls.

One morning I took this photo from our bedroom window. It was just after the shepherdess had fed her flock with grain and Nanny had surprised her by jumping over the dry stone wall which separated the larger and the smaller flocks of sheep to eat the grain. The shepherdess was most displeased and shooed her back, where she remained tip-toeing on the rocks! The partridges were also enjoying the morning ambiance.

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