My Sheep’s biggest fear

My sheep have a strange phobia of wasps and any thing that buzzes. 

I first observed their unusual behaviour last year at lambing time. When two of my ewes suddenly froze to the spot and began looking down at the ground. Where they were previously to this happily munching on a sugar beet but stopped when they heard the buzzing sound. 

As I watched I could see the wasp buzzing around the ewes head, she stood firm to the spot unblinking and motionless till the annoying wasp finally moved off. 

Some of the other ewes further down the pen then started stamping their hooves and shaking their heads in a jerky manner before running off down to the far end of the pen. A little time later a few more wasps flew into the pen and the same thing happened again the ewes either froze to the spot looking down at the ground or shook their heads and stamped their hooves before running off. 

Even the lambs that had been busy bouncing around the pen began to copy their mother’s behaviour.

I had seen them freeze before when they were out in the field but did not know why they were doing it. But now having seen them up close I could see why and I don’t blame them for behaving the same as we do when we hear or see a wasp. I don’t think they can tell the difference between wasp and bees as all make them react the same way. 

I don’t know why they do it but I can only guess that one must have been stung at some point in time and has taught all the others how to react to it. 

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