The helpless sheep that wouldn’t budge

By in Outdoors

helpless sheep

It was a cold winter morning. I was hiking through the British countryside enjoying some birdwatching on the way when I suddenly encountered something rather peculiar: in the middle of a frozen field there was a helpless sheep laying flat on its back with its feet up in the air. It just lay there, motionless on the icy ground while its fellow flock mates were enjoying a chew on the crispy grass. I stopped wanting to find out more about this mysterious behaviour, only to see about fifty sheep staring at me. The group of sheep couldn’t handle being in my nice vicinity so in no time retreated to one of the far corners of the field, leaving the helpless sheep behind.

The print the helpless sheep left on the frozen grass

Standing there on the edge of the field looking at the stuck sheep moving its feet as if running against the grey sky, I suddenly realized to my amazement that sheep thus apparently cannot get up onto their legs when they roll onto their back! It was time to help so I hopped over the fence, walked towards the sheep and started to push it. However, helping it was not as easy as I hoped: each time I pushed the sheep and it tried getting up it just rolled over onto its other side! Luckily after minutes of hard work I somehow managed to push and pull the sheep at the same time so that it finally managed to get onto its shaky legs again. Confused after having been laying there for hours or possibly even a full day, the sheep just stood there for a couple seconds looking around at me and sneezed, after which it slowly started hobbling back to its flock of grazing friends.

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  • Lisa

    Fantastic! Love your website! Cool sheep – and Twin Peaks music.

    • Jolle Jolles

      Thanks Lisa! Good to hear you are also a Twin Peaks fan :)

  • Sanneke

    Jolle! Nice story with a very whitty edge. Like the music as well. xx

  • Sarah

    Poor sheep. Glad that you happened to help it before it got irrevocably frozen :)

  • Jolle

    Thanks Sarah! I found another sheep later that day, which must have been laying there for hours. A week later I spoke with the farmer and he told me he didnt really care about his sheep, but that he pushes them over now and then if he finds them like that. Strange…

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  • Marius

    Thank god, at first I thought the sheep’s wool had frozen to the grass :D
    I had a similar encounter once when I had to help out a lamb that was bleating in quite a high pitch because it snuck out through a hole in the fence and couldn’t get back – the fence was bent too much to the outside. I had quite a hard time catching it and lifting it over the fence back to its friends! Apparently sheep can be heavier than they look.

  • H.

    We kept a flock of sheep for nine years and this did happen on occasion, only with the old ones. At one time we had an elderly ram who got himself stuck like this a few times a week, and would lie there looking dazed until someone came to help him. These guys would munch their way into a bush of blackberry vines and then get stuck by their wool. They’d stand there and call for help until someone came along with shears. We also pulled them out of the creek before, when they went down and their wool soaked up so much water they couldn’t climb back up the bank.

    • mudfooted

      It is sad to hear from more and more people that this seems to happen quite often. Especially your story about a sheep fallen into the creek! It must have been exhausted with all her wool full with water. How often did you check on your sheep? It seems keeping a flock of sheep takes more effort than many people might think!

  • jw

    what a wonderful story. what if you weren’t there to help????

    • mudfooted

      Thanks jw, I hope someone else would have helped the poor sheep as I am not sure how long it would have managed to stay alive like that..

  • Carra

    I teach a class at my church I was teaching about how we know that Jesus is who he says He is, I used Isaiah 53 on the prophesy written over 700 years before Christ came. We became interested in why a sheep couldn’t turn back over after getting on it’s back and I found this what you had done. Good Job

    • Jolle Jolles

      Thanks Carra for your kind message!