Who Baas Wins
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 97 14:14:18 -0800
Subject: Who Baas Wins
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UK News Electronic Telegraph Thursday 20 March 1997 Issue 664
Who baas wins
-- by Michael Fleet
SHEEP looking for the greener grass on the other side of the fence are using
Commando techniques to get over cattle grids in a small village.
The sheep living next to the New Forest village of Bramshaw, Hants, elect
one of their number to lie on the cattle grid while others scramble over
her and into a garden. Local people noticed the tactic being used in the
summer of 1995 and since then sheep have also taken to rolling across the
bars of grids, which protect individual gardens.
Susan Wyatt, a former vice-chairman of Bramshaw Parish Council, alerted
other villagers to the bridge method. She said: "I couldn't believe my eyes
the first time I saw it. Once the sheep saw grass on the other side of my
cattle grid, they obviously decided that nothing was going to stop them
The village is now preparing itself for a fresh wave of sheep attacks this
summer, particularly if grass is in short supply. Jack Sturgess, chairman
of the parish council, said the problem "waxes and wanes" with the number
of sheep and their need for fresh grass.
"The sheep are a pretty resourceful lot and when there is a shortage of
grass they are driven to use all sorts of tricks," he said. As a former
Royal Marine officer cadet, Mr. Sturgess, 71, recognised the tactics being
used when Mrs. Wyatt first reported what she had seen.
"We did it in the Marines when we had to get over barbed wire. You elect a
'Number 1' who lies on his rifle on top of the coil and the others walk
across him. When you all got across, the Number 1 is hoisted over. He might
have the odd cut or two, but uniforms are made of very thick material so he
would usually be all right. There are no rams allowed to roam the forest
and the sheep tend to throw up a boss of the flock, an older and wiser
animal who can pass on the tricks. I doubt that she would be the 'Number 1'
herself, but would elect another unfortunate animal."
The parish church has been forced to install side barriers to its own cattle
grids to stop the sheep getting across and eating the flowers from graves
while others have adopted different defences.
"Some people have installed a small electric fence to give extra protection
when sheep have been getting across. It can be a real problem," Mr. Sturgess
said. A spokesman for the National Farmers' Union said he had never heard
of sheep using similar tactics to get across cattle grids.
[I notice that nobody thought of the "defence" of providing more food for
the sheep to eat... I guess if people won't do that for flocks of people in
the ghettos why should they do it for flocks of sheep? Perhaps more sheep
prisons are the answer... -psl]
© 1997 Peter Langston