Just hanging out, waiting for their breakfast hay to be delivered.
Two months ago we moved all of the sheep who weren't in the barn having babies off of the big front field, which is our main grazing pasture, and into a pen about a half acre in size across from the barn.
Until yesterday they lived a boring (in a sheep's opinion) existence in there, laying around, eating alfalfa hay twice a day (that we had to buy because our own hayfield didn't grow during last year's terrible drought), and impatiently waiting for the day when they would once again be able to roam the fields, munching on fresh green grass.
12 more photos and the rest of the story below (hover over each image for a description). . .
Ideally we like to keep all the sheep off the fields until at least the first of May, so the cool season grasses have more of a chance to grow, but we're almost out of hay. That means Sheep Freedom Day came early this year for 24 happy woollies.
As you can see, the grass is still very short because we aren't getting enough rain, so until they start sneaking into the hayfield, eating too much of Donkeyland, or escaping off the farm entirely (putting up and fixing fence—it's a never ending job!), this flock will be kept out of the front field (which we spent a small fortune fencing in four years ago) and allowed to roam free between the barn and the house, up the nearby wooded hillsides, and along the wet weather creek bed (which is dry again) that leads to Donkeyland, eating whatever palatable plants, shoots, and short grass they can find.
The two rams will stay in their small winter pen until their larger pen has a chance to grow more, and the nine mamas and their 19 lambs will stay in the barn and quarter-acre barnyard for a few more weeks until the hay runs out. This also allows the rapidly growing lambs to have round the clock access to the grain in their creep feeder. The moms are fed grain, too, just not nearly as much as they'd like.
Meanwhile, the freedom flock will be lured back into their pen each evening by troughs full of grain treats. Early spring grass tastes great, but it's lacking in nutritional value. So for a little while, they get to gobble up the best of both worlds. Oh, happy day.