Meet the beasties
Meet the Llamasoft flock
Llamasoft would really be nothing without The Flock. Llamasoft has a number of pet sheep and other beasties that we consider more members of our family than just pets.
Each one of them has their own history. We say the are like family to us because we truly have sheep who belive we are some kind of sheep to them and they treat us - and trust us - like fellow flock members.
From Katamari 'the big softie' to Jerry 'the living plushie' - here is a bit of history about them.
Ginger, the tartiest sheep in the world
|Ginger demanding attention|
Ginger is one of a kind. She was already quite tame upon arriving here, having been an orphan lamb and bottle fed in the flock where she was born. She and Ewenity were due to be sent to market, but I thought it was a shame for such tame and trusting sheep to end that way, so I bought them and brought them to live here.
Ginger loves cuddles and fuss and comes running whenever she sees you, demanding attention. Skritch her tummy in just the right place and you will see her melt and go all silly, often poking out her tongue in the throes of ecstasy.
I never thought I'd ever see a sheep more trusting and affectionate than Ginger - until she got pregnant and produced her two sons!
|Ginger being a tart, as usual|
Ewenity, the good mum
|Ewenity has the biggest ears|
Ewenity is Shaun's mum, and arrived from the same flock and under the same circumstances as Ginger. She's a big sheep all round and has the largest ears of all of them. She's not quite as boldly tarty as Ginger is, tending to hang around quietly hoping you'll give her a bit of fuss rather than shamelessly throwing herself at you like Ginger does. But once you start giving her attention she'll keep you there all day, tapping you with a hoof should you try to stop giving her fuss.
|A happy and relaxed Ewenity|
|Chilling in the field|
Shaggysheep is one of two Jacobs sheep in the flock. The Jacobs came from a flock that was being dispersed when its owners moved away from the area - I brought a couple of them to live here rather than end up in some less happy place. That was quite some years ago now and the two Jacobs are old ladies now, a bit arthritic and doddering but still happy enough. We call them the grannies.
|Coming close for skritchies|
Shaggysheep has been the tamest of the two - neither of them have ever been as flat-out tarty as Ginger and Ewenity, since when they arrived here they were just normal sheep, not hand reared or anything, and just as nervous as normal sheep can be. Over the years though they have got to know and trust us and enjoy biccies and skritchies with the rest.
Shysheep, not so shy
|Happiness is sun and lot of grass|
Shysheep is the other of the two Jacobs. She was always the most shy of the two (and always the hardest to catch for shearing in the summer!) but in recent years she has become almost as tame as Shaggysheep. In winter we make sure that the two old girls get a little bit of extra food and Shaggysheep at those times becomes my best friend, following me round and nuzzling my hand expectantly until I feed her some extra grain.
|Shy on a frosty morning|
She also has to have the last word in conversations (yes, we do talk to our sheep, and they talk back to us). Of course, the last word is always 'baa'.
Butterbean, 'Chilling Magazine' sheep
|It's always time for a nap|
Butterbean is the sheep you could imagine sitting on a sofa reading 'Chilling Magazine' - he always seems so relaxed and is usually to be found sitting down, chilling out, chewing the cud and being content. He is a sheep who was rejected and nearly killed by his mother, and rescued and bottle fed by someone from a few miles away. This guy had job commitments which meant he couldn't keep the little lamb, so he was passed on to some people down in the village. They kept him for a while and then when it came time for their flock to go to market, asked me if I wanted to take Butterbean - so of course he came to stay with us.
|You smell funny|
Butterbean is the biggest sheep we have, but he is just very chilled out and good natured and gentle. For all his size we are sure that he still thinks of himself as a little lamb. He is very affectionate and when he sees you he will walk over and then simply lean on you - given his size you have to be careful he doesn't push you right over!
|Nice hat madam!|
Katamari, the big nose
|I have something to say ...|
When I first saw Katamari he was living on his own in a shed on the farm where he was born, kept there because he was troublesome in the flock, with a habit of escaping. He was 'in solitary' on 'Death Row', only being kept alive until he was big enough to be worth putting in the freezer.
Of course we couldn't let that happen, so in due course the farmer came over to our place towing a small, entirely closed trailer from which loud and indignant baaing could be heard. From this baaing box a confused ram was extracted and let loose in our field. He spent his first couple of weeks chasing the other sheep and looking very confused.
He must have known what he was doing after a while though, because shortly after he arrived Ginger and Ewenity fell pregnant!
It's true that he is a bit of an escapologist, and he is forbidden to go in the bottom field after he escaped from there and was missing for two months. But instead of being shut in a shed and sentenced to death, at least here he has his own field and a harem of laydeez to look after.
|Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough|
He likes to 'act the ram' and your behind is in peril of being butted if you turn your back on him, but really he's a big softie and loves a bit of fuss and skritchies.
Fuwafuwa, our special sheep
|The sun lover|
Fuwafuwa is our special sheep. He had a very difficult start - there were complications in the birth of him and his brother which led us to believe he might be dead before even coming out. But when he was delivered by the vet much to our amazement and relief he coughed and baaed and came to life.
|Fuwafuwa and his brother Jerry|
His troubles weren't over, though - he was born with slightly misformed tendons on his front legs, which made it difficult for him to walk. Consequently he could not follow his mum to reach her nipple. We tried to bottle feed him but he would not take the bottle. He grew weaker and weaker and for a while it looked like he would surely die.
But he had one thing that made us think that we had to try all we could to save him - he had incredibly bright eyes, shining and full of life even when he seemed to be fading away. The vet suggested we try one last thing - feeding him through a tube directly into his stomach.
The procedure to do that was fiddly and scary for us and for him - but it surely saved his life. He began to get stronger and after a week was strong enough to finally be able to follow his mum and reach her milk. We made tiny splints for his legs which helped him to walk properly and which over time corrected the fault with his tendons. Once he was able to walk and to feed himself his recovery was quick - and today he is a big and healthy young sheepie.
|Fuwafuwa today is a strong and happy young sheepie|
Jerry, the living plushie
|Cuddle me, hug me, squeeze me.|
Jerry was, by contrast, your classically healthy lamb when he was born (his name came because he was bouncy in the way only newborn lambs can be - 'Jerry Springer'). He is quite possibly the most tame and trusting sheep in the entire universe. We were there when he took his first breath, and I truly think he sees us as being his bigger brothers. His first action upon seeing you in the morning is to let out a very loud baa by way of greeting. Go in the field and he will come running over and cheerfully push you over and then climb in your lap. He loves nothing more than to be cuddled and to be close to you - he really is a living plushie. Sit down on the grass and before too long he will come and curl up next to you. I think the only mystery in his life is why we can't spend all day out in the field with him and his other brother.
|As you can see he is so stressed and unhappy.|
One thing that is certain is that he is very much his mother's son. If Ginger is tarty then Jerry is tarty squared.
Shaun, the gentle sheep
|It's nice to skritch the tail|
Shaun is Ewenity's son, and like her he is quiet and gentle but very affectionate. It is interesting to see how in each lamb we can see the characteristics of the parents - Shaun definitely has Ewenity's gentle nature and Katamari's somewhat hoarse sounding baa.
Like his mum Shaun can be a bit quiet and shy about seeking attention, but when you give him some fuss he is obviously very happy, and will curl himself around you and snuggle up contentedly. He particularly loves it if you pick up his tail and skritch the very end of it.
|Shaun is a gentle sheep|
He is always quick to baa when he sees you in the morning, sometimes baaing even before Jerry.
Sheep forever in our memories
Life comes and goes, we are not made to last forever, neither humans nor sheep.
Sometimes old age or misfortune takes away a sheep that you wish could be there forever. At the end of the day the most important thing we can hope and strive for is that any beastie at Llamasoft will have the best possible life and support we can provide, and so it will always be.
We must mention here 3 sheep that are gone but will never be forgotten.
Flossie, the prettiest sheep in the world
Flossie was 'the one', the first sheep I ever really got close to. I loved that old girl more than anything, and I was gutted when her time came to go. She was over sixteen years old by then, a pretty good age for a sheep. She also appeared in several videogames - her baaa was in several games, and she was even included as an unlockable player spacesheep in 'Defender 2000' on the Atari Jaguar. She also appeared in one of the Sunday newspaper colour magazines - I don't remember which one it was, but I do remember it took two days for the photographer to get a picture of me and the sheep, who were quite freaked out by the whole experience.
|Floss in the top field on a nice spring day|
Although she is gone she will never be forgotten; and really the existence of the current flock is down to her, because she taught me how excellent a sheep can be as a companion animal, and it is that knowledge that made me want to gather more sheep here and give them a safe place to live out their lives.
Shaun's sister, the white lamb
|A little lamb we never knew|
Shaun had a sister who was born an hour before he was. She was perfect and healthy and was soon up and suckling from her mother. By the time both lambs were born it was getting on for night, and given that the weather was good and the rest of the beasties were all around we left mum and the two newborns to rest and recover in the middle field.
The next morning we got up and went to check on them and Shaun was there but his sister was gone without a trace. We searched and found no evidence to indicate what happened to her - there really aren't that many predators around here that could take a lamb entire, leaving no trace. Even a fox would be more inclined to take one of the many rabbits around here. To this day we do not know what took her; some of the locals think maybe it was a hawk.
It still makes me sad to think of how we lost her. She was so perfect, and I am sure little Shaun would have appreciated having a sister around when he was growing up.
Tempest, the most beautiful lamb
|Tempest loved his bottle|
We did not choose Tempest, he chose us ... Tempest was a lamb initially nicknamed 'lambchop' who came from the farm where the dog boarding kennels are. He was a lamb who had been rejected by his mother, who had tried to kill him. The people at the kennels rescued him and started bottle feeding him, but only with an eye to putting him in the freezer.
He used to run around with the dogs at the kennels, and one day when we were there collecting our own dog the little lamb started following us everywhere and eventually went to sleep under our car. Seeing that we couldn't leave him to that fate, and so he was given to us. We had to finish off his bottle feeding - which was quite an experience.
|Tempest was like a fluffy teddy bear|
He was always a very quiet little lamb, and one winter morning we found him lying by the gate as if sleeping... we still don't know why he passed away, since he'd seemed healthy just the day before; we suspect he must have had some defect we never knew about.
He may be gone but he's certainly not forgotten, and in fact his presence is strong in the flock even today - his half-brother was Katamari, who ended up coming here and tupping Ginger and Ewenity, ensuring that although Tempest may be gone some of his genes live on in Jerry, Fuwafuwa and Shaun.
It is always sad to lose a sheep, especially when one is taken far too soon. But in the end we know that we must be thankful for such time as we have with them, even if that time is short; and to honour the memory of those that are gone by providing a safe and comfortable place for those who come to be with us to live out their lives in comfort and peace.
|Sheep may safely graze|