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Blocked by sheep

Sitting at home with plenty of time to overthink every possible situation of future trips. Next trip is supposed to be Scotland in June 202?. I'll be driving on Mull which appears to have plenty of single track roads. I've read some articles and watched a couple of videos but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do if my path is blocked by a cow or some sheep. Honk politely and wait? Get out and chase them away? Pack my dog in case I need her to herd them?

Posted by
5644 posts

Honking once or twice can help. Personally I’ve honked once then been patient as the sheep slowly moved across the road. They have the right of way.

Posted by
3139 posts

We had the sheep-block problem several times in Ireland. My conclusion was that sheep are rather stupid. Honking just made them run around looking frightened, but it didn’t get them to move to the side. Patience was the solution. Also, if on a twisty road where you can’t see far ahead, drive slowly. A herd of sheep may be just around the curve.

Posted by
2936 posts

We've had that happen in both New Zealand and England. Since they were moving, albeit taking their own sweet time, we just waited. They weren't unattended- their humans brought up the rear and cleared the lane for us.

I think if it was only one or 2 standing in the road, I'd be tempted to get out and shoo them out if the way.

Posted by
4998 posts

What if the sheep have bigger horns than your car ? LOL

We’ve had the occasional encounter with sheep, but usually just pulling up to them in a car has resulted in them moving out of the way of the dar ... eventually.

The most recent time, on Crete, it was actually a herd trotting across the narrow dirt road, but enough of them that it took a while before they started dwindling towards the end of the bunch. Along with those last few sheep was the shepherd, es prying a ewe and her newborn, still with blood on its coat, and a dangling umbilical cord. But they were all heading to the other side of the road, and kept moving. it just took a couple of minutes, including the shepherd stopping for a photo with his newest baby.

On Skye, Scotland, leaving the restaurant after dinner, in the dark at 10:30 pm or so, we came around a sharp curve (at maybe 15mph?) and at a small bridge, there were sheep on lying on either embankment, and one lying in the middle of the paved road. Maybe that was a nice, warm bed. A couple toots of the horn, and the sheep slowly got up, and moved off the road, but just barely. it wasn’t moving more than half an inch off the pavement. We creeped past the sheep, to ensure no one got spooked and darted into the road, and went back to our B&B.

Patience and moving slowly, that does the trick, along with maybe a little gentle noise.

Posted by
4998 posts

Hey, Allen, if you’ve got herd immunity by that time, you’ll have nothing to worry about!

Posted by
1942 posts

Herd immunity might work for cows, but what about sheep ... is there a separate vaccine for flock immunity?

Posted by
1293 posts

Basically, if your way is blocked by livestock, do not get out of the car. You are going to have to wait for the animal(s) to get out of the way. Sheep may have the IQ of a root vegetable but they are aggressive if threatened, such as when they have lambs. If you have a dog, keep it in the car. If a farmer considers that your dog is worrying the sheep, he can shoot it.

Don't get too close, if needed you can flash your headlights. You do not want to spook the sheep as they can damage the car, and you do not want 100 kg of mutton to come through the windscreen.

Most of the time, though, they will get out of your way.

Posted by
4998 posts

I wonder if, in certain locales, rental car companies look for traces of wool when the rental is returned?

Posted by
12514 posts

Sheep may have the IQ of a root vegetable

🤣 Right up there with geese. Dang Canadian geese here (MN) have a special fondness for standing stupidly in the middle of the road.

We've run into free-range sheep and cattle on our many trips to the U.S. Southwest. As has already been said, you pretty much just have to stop and let them amble though. If there are not so many of them to contend with, creeping very slowly forward sometimes works too, and/or some short taps on the horn.

Posted by
445 posts

Photo op! One of my favorites is of Stewart at the wheel, profile-to-profile with a Swiss cow, other heads&flanks&tails filling the view. Another time, in Crete, the sheep had a shepherd straight from a fairytale, ancient, stooped, caped, hatted, & crooked, & we could tell he was about toothless because he beamed at us & talked&talked (inscrutably). This was up in the back of beyond, we hadn't seen a car or even a habitation for ages. Make lemonade.

Posted by
1293 posts

They have excellent memories which helps them establish their
territory in the hills and is passed on from ewe to lamb. The
technical term in English is “hefting”, no idea what is in Welsh but
my Taid ( welsh grandad) used to say “Sheep are only as stupid as they
need to be”

Some very interesting facts here, who knew 8% of sheep were
homosexual?

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170418-sheep-are-not-stupid-and-they-are-not-helpless-either

Now cows, that another story... bad tempered and evil! Avoid!

Similar figures for other mammals!

As for your Taid's line, yup, same for most domesticated livestock. Most of the time they don't need to be anything more.
To stand up for the cattle, from a dairy area, they can be warm and affectionate to those who they know.

What you have with both cattle and sheep, is that ewes with lambs and cows with calves, normally peaceful will go on the defence it they think they or the lamb/calf is in danger. For sheep this is where the sheep worrying comes in is they recognise dogs as their predator from the old days.

Most people hurt by livestock are done when there are calves or lambs around. Bulls on the other hand are cantankerous and evil.

Posted by
3226 posts

We got blocked in by cattle by Dunnottar castle back in 2008. We sat and waited for them to move on. Fortunately, the wait wasn’t more than about 10 minutes. Different trip and country, but were visiting the Alcazar in Segovia, Spain and laughed as the cars below had to wait for a herd of sheep to get herded along the main and only road through that part of town.

Posted by
4998 posts

You know, as far as the education and intelligence of sheep, they’ve earned their Sheepskin at birth!

Posted by
2888 posts

If we’re talking about what to do when wildlife blocks the road, last weekend on our drive on 10 lane I-80 we were shocked to see a flock of 5-6 wild turkeys step into the 1st (slow) lane of traffic. This was a couple of miles from where our son lives near Berkeley and we happened to have both granddaughters, who just got their learner’s permits, in the car with us. It was a very teachable moment. I’ll take a country road with slow moving livestock over turkeys challenging 70mph cars on a multi lane freeway any day 😬!

Posted by
292 posts

When I took my first written driving test in 1984 there was a question:

What should you do if a road is block by a flock of sheep?
The correct answer was follow the instructions of the pastor. (I got it correct)

Being a 16 yo in a small surfing community in San Diego my only thought was when I going to see a sheep let alone a flock.

Posted by
1879 posts

This topic is more popular than I imagined and now it's got me killing a lunch hour watching videos of sheep blocking traffic. There's one I won't post because of the language but if you google Scottish guy swearing at sheep you may get a chuckle but be warned about the language.

I was thinking more of a couple of sheep sunning themselves in the kiddle of the row and I'd have to wait a couple of minutes, but this video is great. https://www.newsflare.com/video/119737/animals/sheep-refuse-to-get-out-of-road-for-ten-minutes and a good heads up for us would be drivers.

Posted by
2936 posts

Emma, that was brilliant! Best laugh I've had all week.

Posted by
25786 posts

It is not only sheep and cattle (and the occasional bull) you have to watch out for in these beautiful isles.

There are plenty of deer around.

Many are the times I have had to wait near Woburn Abbey for a herd of deer to cross the road, and that is in Bedfordshire, between Milton Keynes and London.

And then there is Richmond Park and a very famous black lab. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GRSbr0EYYU

Posted by
4998 posts

As long as we’re considering motoring hazards, always look out for a Fork in the road!

And then take it!

Posted by
718 posts

Ah, the legendary Fenton!

My friend who keeps sheep on his small holding offers this: Every day, every sheep wakes up and thinks “what new and interesting way can I find to die today?”.

Maybe more wilful than stupid!

Posted by
513 posts

No need to honk. Just edge slowly forwards. They will move.

Posted by
1014 posts

When driving in the Highlands, our way has been blocked by sheep, cows, goats, swans, tractors, buses, large trucks, ducks, deer, horses, and people walking in the road. It is part of the charm of the Highlands. They will leave eventually and you can continue on your way.

Posted by
1250 posts

Reminds me of our 2013 trip to Scotland. We saw wee lambs everywhere, and I thought they were so adorable. But I kept ordering lamb for supper, especially if in a curry.

I decided I wanted to buy a little stuffy of a lamb for a souvenir. Finally, I found just the right one. The sales clerk says, in her Scottish brogue, "ah you are taking wee Morag home, as we call her". I said "well I'll call her Dinner.".

Dinner sits at my work cubicle even now, a great reminder of our perfect trip to Scotland!

PS - a stuffy is a stuffed animal or teddy.