21 October 2008

Ask Sarah Contd.

Question 2
I hear in New Zealand sheep out number people 3 to 1. Is this true? Have you had any encounters with sheep? Are they roaming through the neighborhoods like stray dogs or only seen on farms in certain areas of the country? :)
Thanks, Tara

Amazingly Insightful Answer 2:

Actually Tara, there are approximately TEN sheep for every one Kiwi here in Aotearoa. (I personally believe all those wooly creatures are secretly plotting to overthrow the nation. They are just waiting for when the time is right...)

Funny story, when I arrived in the country back in February, I remember excitedly asking my Rotary host counselor if and when would I get to pet a sheep. He gave me a slightly confused look and said....um, sure....haven't you ever been up close to a sheep before? To which I responded, well I saw one in a zoo one time...About five minutes later, after he had finished laughing hysterically at the thought of someone paying to see a sheep in a zoo (those crazy Americans), he took me to see a farmer friend of his, who (after also laughing at the whole sheep/zoo thing) not only let me pet his sheep, but gave me a fully detailed lesson on the twenty four different species of NZ sheep, carefully explaining which type was good for meat, which for wool, which were hardier, which were really, really dumb, and so on. I have yet to try my hand at shearing a sheep, but it's definitely on my must-do list!

As far as roving bands of stray sheep, it's not like you wake up in the morning to find several outside your door munching on your garbage (at least not in metropolitan areas...). But in the more rural areas of the country, it's not uncommon to see houses with two or three sheep in their yards, sort of like pets; and naturally there are the large farms with mass numbers of them.

Driving through the country side, it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll see PLENTY of sheep in pastures more or less the entire journey. And there's a good chance that at some point you'll encounter a herd being shifted, which looks like this:

I'd have to say this sort of traffic jam is infinitely more interesting than sitting stuck on I-95--watching those sheep dogs in action is truly fascinating, and you don't have to worry about road-raged psychos rear-ending you.

1 comment:

Angie Morrow said...

Have you seen the movie about the genetically mutated sheep? How long do you think the general population would stand a chance if this occured, the nation being an island and all?