Dottie the sheep might seem to have a personality disorder as she settles into her herd.
That’s right her herd, not her mob.
Dottie was raised with a calf and has since settled into life alongside the cows on the Rentsch farm at Dartmoor in south-west Victoria.
At three years old she’s showing no sign of returning to live with sheep; in fact she goes out of her way to stay with the cows.
Owner Sandee Rentsch says the cows have been happy to welcome Dottie into the herd.
“The cows love her,” Sandee said.
“She’s just had a lamb and the lamb plays with the calves. They just play and run around together and have a great time.”
The Rentsch farm has always had a mixture of sheep and cattle but this is the first time a sheep has changed allegiance.
“I’ve reared cows and sheep together before but they just go back with their own. This was the only lamb who’s stayed on with the cows.
“She knows no different. She just thinks she’s a cow.”
Sandee said Dottie is only removed from the herd when she’s being joined.
“When she comes back she stands at the gate and goes back to the cows. There can be a lot of ewes in her paddock but she won’t associate with them.”
“When we’re shearing, the boys round up the other mob then they have to go out on the motorbike and catch Dottie and her lamb.”
At the moment the farm has about 120 ewes in her paddock along with 12 cows with 11 calves and two steers.
The cross-breed attraction attracts some funny looks. “People find it funny,” Sandee said. “We were away recently and my son was bringing home the heifers. He rang us at night and asked what’s happening with this sheep that came from nowhere and went in with the cows? I said that’s just Dottie. She wouldn’t stay in the paddock without the cows.”
Celebrating the connection between Australia’s Legendairy farmers and the special bonds they have with their animals as part of the Legendairy communications initiative.
This story was first published in Leading Agriculture magazine.