Smartest Farm Animal

| 2/11/2015 12:19:00 PM

Larry ScheckelToday, we will rank five barnyard residents, starting at the bottom, and work our way to the top.

You just cannot find a dumber barnyard creature than a sheep. Yes, they supply us with wool for clothing, but so does a cotton plant. Yes, some people do enjoy mutton, but steak, veal, ham, bacon, chicken and turkey make for some really good eating.

My wife and I watched sheep being herded by Border Collies in New Zealand. Those sheep would just cower at the sight of a dog that was one-tenth their size. It is in their genetic makeup to band together for protection against any predators. But if those sheep were smart, they would turn on that dog and chase it over the next hill.

When one sheep moves, the others tend to follow. Recently a sheep in Turkey tried to jump across a 15-foot ravine. More than 400 sheep followed, all falling to their deaths.

We had a ram on our Oak Grove Ridge farm in the hill country of Crawford County, Wisconsin. His sole job was to impregnate 25 ewes each year. Not a bad gig for a male sheep! My brothers and I would tease Sheepbuck by holding out a handful of grain, succulent morsels of ground corn. Sheepbuck would slowly approach and take a few nibbles. Then we would push back on Sheepbuck’s forehead, making him madder than Hades. Off we would run for the safety of the barnyard feeding bunks. You would think Sheepbuck would learn. But no, he didn’t, and that is why sheep are the stupidest animal on the farm.

My final example: The first animal to die in George Orwell’s "Animal Farm" was a sheep, in the Battle of Cowshed.

4/13/2015 8:32:07 AM

What about goats? Smarter than sheep in my opinion--after raising them for better than 20 years.

2/14/2015 5:55:49 AM

I agree with the pigs being smart. We have one pig (he's a pet) that hangs out with the dogs and cows. I think he believes he's a dog as he acts just like them. He comes when called, rolls over for belly rubs..... He's even smart enough to know how and where to get fresh milk.

2/12/2015 8:09:02 AM

Larry, welcome to the GRIT blogging community. Homestead animals are one of the topics we talk about quite a bit. I am a self proclaimed urban vacant lot farmer. I own three properties with gardens on two of them and plan for flower beds on the third one. It's a great way to spend retirement. ***** I would agree that the pig is the most intelligent animal in the barnyard. My experience with pigs has taught me about fences being pig tight. If there's a way to get through the fence, they will find it. In my humble opinion, pigs are the greatest escape artists on the homestead. My patience has been tried many times with rascal pigs. And still you just got to love them for their always playful attitude. ***** Have a great day with animals on the homestead.

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