Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: East

Who says animals can’t talk?

heebyj/iStock/Thinkstock lambs and sheep
NEITHER DUMB NOR STUPID: These animals are neither dumb nor stupid if they’re on my farm. Saying they are has cost me way too much — everything but washing my mouth out with soap.
Front Porch: Thank goodness God doesn’t let them use words!

Our youngest daughter, Kayla, was giddy when it was her turn to pass out Christmas presents. She couldn’t wait for me to open mine. We have a tradition: We open presents from youngest to oldest. I held mine for a while.

The suspense was killing both Kayla and me. The gift was a flat package and soft, like a shirt. Man, don’t my kids know they should buy Pop toy tractors for Christmas?

Surely it wasn’t just an ordinary shirt.

It wasn’t.

When it was finally my turn, I tore off the paper like our 5-year-old granddaughter. By golly, it was a shirt! But not just any shirt. I held it up. There was a picture of a mama sheep in the middle with a lamb nearby. Above mama sheep were the words: “Sorry for the things I said …”

And below the pair, it continued: “while we were working sheep!”

Carla, my wife, broke out laughing. The rest of the family joined in.

“Where did you get that made?” I asked.

“Oh, I found it on the rack,” Kayla said.

She was kidding, right? No, she was serious. Well, at least I’m not the only person who has a loose tongue when working around God’s creatures.

They are his creatures. Sheep are mentioned more times in the Bible than many human characters. It’s just … why did he make them so stupid?

Who is stupid?
I tell my wife that sheep are stupid, but not dumb. They can figure out how to open a gate, but they’re too stupid to go anywhere, at least alone. She doesn’t buy my argument, and she gets on me when I call them either stupid or dumb.

The old ewe wasn’t stupid last fall when we were trying to get her on the shearing stand and she went backward instead of forward? I tripped and fell on top of her. Both of us scrambled to get up. 

“Were you stupid when you dumped feed for the yearlings in the hay feeder instead of the feed trough because you weren’t paying attention?” my wife asks.

I was paying attention; I was just thinking about something else.

“You weren’t stupid when you dumped feed into the ewe’s water bucket?” she continues.

Yeah, I did that. Textured feed makes a mess in a water bucket. I had a few choice words that day, but not for the sheep. I had to own that one — it was a bonehead move. OK, it was stupid!

“You weren’t stupid when you left the chain off the gate and the yearlings got out?” she goes on.

OK, that wasn’t too bright. But at least they didn’t go anywhere. They just nibbled grass.

I get the point. It’s likely why Kayla giggled for days thinking about my Christmas present. It’s probably why the sheep look at me funny when I pour feed in the hay bunk or in the water bucket, or when I leave the gate unchained.

Can you imagine what they’re thinking? “Man, this guy is stupid — and he’s dumb, too!”

That’s when I’m real glad God gave them ways to express themselves, but he didn’t let them speak.

Maybe Kayla should get blankets made for the show lambs this summer that say: “Yeah, we know it’s hot!” above a picture of me, with: “It’s our master who is stupid!” underneath.


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.