I realised today that I hadn’t yet posted any sheep sounds. So I wandered over to their paddock, where Teggan was busy scratching her belly on a hay bale, and the other ewes were hanging out in their light summer coats, having been sheared at the annual Sheep & Wool Fayre earlier this month.
Gracie the Southdown x Suffolk sheep, who celebrated her 1st birthday in May and was recently seen walking across London Bridge with Stephen Fry.
Recording no. 1 is less an example of sheep sounds – they didn’t utter a single bleat while I was there – but more an excerpt of the various ambient noises that the farm sheep hear: ice-cream van, children in the play ground, trains, a power drill, and so on. It begins with Gracie peeing, then there’s an exciting moment 1 minute in, when a bee buzzes around her legs.
Recording no. 2 was made in the sheep’s night enclosure, as they were waiting to be fed. The loudest bleats are from the Castlemilk Moorits.
Every sheep has its own distinctive bleat, which they use for communication between mother and lamb or with other flock members. They also bleat to signal distress or impatience when waiting for food, as in my recording. Sheep are very sociable animals and need to remain within site of one another. Apparently, their flocking instinct is so ingrained that in 2006, over 400 sheep died after following each other over the edge of a cliff in eastern Turkey. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4665511.stm
Which draws obvious reference to the lemmings suicide myth, created by contrived documentary footage in the Walt Disney nature film White Wilderness (1958):