August 13th, 2012, 10:13 AM
Deer living with small flock of sheep
I'd love to know if anyone else has any experience of this! On Boxing Day last year, my boyfriend and I went for a long walk. A couple of miles from home we came upon a small flock of about ten sheep near a local farm. In amongst the sheep was a very young deer. No other deer were present, and the deer (and the sheep too) seemed quite content with the situation. When we first saw him and watched him for a bit, the sheep almost appeared to 'close in' around him, as if they were looking after him.
I thought it would be a one-off and he'd just strayed temporarily but when we went back a few weeks later, he was still there.
Two weeks ago, we went out on our bikes and rode past the field and lo and behold, there he still is! He's grown quite a bit since Christmas and it cheers me innemsely to see him there grazing with them. I do wonder though what will happen to him if the sheep leave or are sent for slaughter. I don't know what purposes the sheep serve (they certainly don't have any lambs with them so I don't think they're breeding ewes) - I had thought about speaking to the farmer as even if no-one else has spotted him, the farmer must be aware of his presence as the sheep are fed. I haven't told too many people about the deer as you never know if some clever dick will decide to go and disturb him or, worse, try to pick him off. I like the fact that he is there 'in secret' too!
Anyone seen this happen before? Do you think the deer became separated from its elders?