These sheeps are on-message

Writes Maggie C.: "Sheepdogs are trained to obey their master’s every word. So when farmer David Kennard decided one of those words would be "Spring", his dogs did not hesitate.They rounded up the flock on the hills of Mr Kennard’s north Devon farm and, with a little help from their master, created a picture that reminds us that, whatever the weather, this is officially the first weekend of Spring.The scene did call for a careful scattering of feed to make the sheep form themselves in the shapes of the six letters…"

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"…However, it was down to the team of Collies—who everyone knows border on the brilliant—to have the last word. They circled the 200-strong flock and kept them from wandering off-message.

Three of David’s five working dogs – Mist, Fern and Jake – were employed to help create the perfect lettering, which took three hours to achieve."

Comments

  1. It’s Sheep-tastic! Sheep-a-rific!

  2. Oh, and also, blllleeeeennn! :)

  3. This is nothing less than incredible if it’s true. Border collies are actually little geniuses (geni?)but this, this defies all…everything. Three hours? I can’t stick to any job for three hours. Just, like, wow.

    That is all.

  4. Oh, and also, blllleeeeennn! :)

  5. omg, are you kidding? this is for real?????!!!! i knew sheepdogs were amazing, but to accomplish herding at this degree is incredible!

    extra kibble all around!

    and as to the sheep – may i have some yarn pleeez?

  6. I think they did this by putting food down in the shape of the letters. I watch a goodly amount of detective shows, so I’m an expert!

  7. Wool you get a load of that!

  8. Wow! this is like the movie Babe on crack!!

  9. katiedid says:

    Emerson… it says they put down food in the text…

  10. BAA RAM EWE!! BAA RAM EWE!!

  11. Mary (the first) says:

    I think this has to be my new wallpaper if I can figure out how to get it there.. hmmm ..

  12. I love how there’s one random sheep attempting to dot the “r” – it’s like he was supposed to be part of the dot of the “i” and got distracted.

    Can this farmer come to my house and convince my beagle not to jump at the door like a ping pong ball every time I pick up the leash? Now *that* would be impressive.

  13. lurkingsmirk says:

    Awww I bet the dogs were really excited with their job. I love watching collies try to herd people instinctually.

  14. Baaahhh-ram-U

  15. oaklandcat says:

    This is totally and completely redonkulously awesome.

  16. Mary – right click and choose – “set as background” but I’d do it after you actually opened the picture up larger in another window.

    And OMG! This is why I loved my 2 border collies – Jake and KittyKatt. And I adore sheeps too, even though they aren’t too smart…. neither am I so I hope someone loves me too.

  17. Border collies are so smart. I knew they could count – but spelling? I’m sooo impressed.

  18. brinnann says:

    I ♥ the little deviant that dotted the “i.” LOL

    And Carrie, a dog named KittyKatt? That’s so awesome!

  19. brinnann says:

    Ahem, I meant to say dotted the “r.”

  20. Kiragirl says:

    I want to see Mist, Fern, and Jake!

  21. Brilliant!

  22. riolinda says:

    wow .. this is amazing!

  23. http://www.mistthemovie.co.uk/index.php/meet_the_dogs/

    Roll over for a link to each dog’s page. They are amazing!

    [fixed URL... - Ed.]

  24. Furbabies says:

    Spring has sprung.
    The grass has riz.
    The little bird is on the wing.
    The little bird is on the wing?
    Ain’t that absoid, I thot the wing was on the boid?

  25. tracyFlick says:

    Are you kidding me? This made my day. Thank you sheepies. And collies. And Farmer.

  26. Baasome! That took some work, man.

  27. berthaslave says:

    Psh. This isn’t hard. Sheep are like sheep, they’ll do whatever. :-P

    And it’s just like some bleating heart liberal to go all nature-boy on us.

    (kidding — by the way, the cream products from Devon are the best in the world)

  28. RumTumTigger says:

    Furbabies – did you make that up??? I love it!! as i have said before – i come to co more for the comments than for the photos – which are no less amazing tho …

  29. Furbabies says:

    No, I didn’t make that up. I heard it many years ago at a friends house. Her dad said it and it has stuck in my mind ever since. So, every spring I say it to my kids, who still groan, to celebrate spring. Glad you enjoyed it. Pass it on.

  30. Furbabies’ poem is a combination of two I’ve heard:

    Spring has sprung
    The grass has riz
    I wonder where the flowers is?

    And:

    Spring, spring,
    Beautiful spring!
    All the birds are on the wing.
    My, my,
    How absurd –
    I thought the wings were on the bird!

  31. Hey, you two stray sheep, back in line!

    This is so redonkulously brilliant. Who cares about what crop circles have to say, when you can read sheep formations.

  32. Catsquatch says:

    OH MY GAWD!!!!

    THAT IS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!!!!

    wow….

  33. Furbabies says:

    Pheas: Neat! I didn’t know that. Thanks, I love both those poems too!

  34. Sweet Pea says:

    ***
    I made this pic into my pc wallpaper. The image just makes me so happy. I can almost smell the fresh country air!
    P.S. To make the image into your pc wallpaper just right click on the image and select “set as background image”.
    ***

  35. I’m sorry – I smell Photoshop…

  36. thelibrarianne says:

    Bahh ram ewe. Bahh ram ewe. To your sheep, your breed, your clan be true. Bahh rammm ewwwweee!

    This is probably the best picture, EVER.

  37. sunnymum says:

    OMG peeps check out the link to their website, it is sooooooooo great! They have a little movie called “Puppy Film.” Too cute, it even has a duckling yawning – gah! I’m now a puddle of goo! Those dogs are AMAZING!!

  38. Mary (the first) says:

    I also set it as wallpaper, it just cracks me up. I can’t wait for the first time one of my coworkers sees it .. bwwwahhha hahaaaa

  39. Mary (the first) says:

    although .. where are the dogglets in the photo? I don’t see them.. I see a couple of very small black dots but they seem too small ..is that them??

  40. Oh people, please: that picture is clearly Photo-sheeped.

  41. Here’s a link to the original article from The Telegraph, which includes some history about the doggers:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/03/21/easpring121.xml

  42. Ahem…

    “Its springtime for Hitler and Germany!
    Winter for Poland and France!”

    Or, if you like

    Spring is here, Spring is here.
    Life is skittles. Life is beer.
    I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring.
    I do, don’t you? ‘Course you do.”

  43. I sense Photoshop at work. Still… a lovely image.

  44. This is such a fun idea!

    And it’s perfectly framed. I hope it’s not photoshopped. Just because.

  45. That is completely brilliant and awesome! Hooray for sheep, sheepdogs, and smart shepherds!

  46. Xenobiologista says:

    Spring is sprung,
    De grass is riz,
    I wonder where de boidies iz?
    De boid’s on de wing,
    But dat’s absoid,
    I always thot de wing was on de boid.
    – I saw it in a book by Quentin Blake (the guy who did the illustrations for a lot of Roald Dahl’s books), but don’t remember who it was attributed to. It’s supposed to be Cockney, but “New Joisey” works too.

    Oh, and Tom Lehrer is good too =) But readers on this blog might not take well to poisoning pigeons in the park, unless they’re deemed uncute.

  47. AuntieMame says:

    OMG! The dogs have a TV series with the voice of Derek Jacobi! And Brian Blessed!

    DO WANT!

  48. Mary (the first) says:

    omg RosieLB now I will have the “pigeons” song earworm all day.. I will not give the full title in fear of harshing the qte of the peeps here.. lol (of course he was tewtally tongue in cheek.. wasn’t he?)

  49. Natch ;D

  50. ShinyHappyGoth says:

    rosieLB and Mary – I get that CONSTANTLY and reliably stuck in my head during spring. The opening, as you have it, is entirely appropriate. Of course, then my brain gets to the main song…

  51. NO!

    WAY!

  52. Hm, I wonder if I could train my shelty to do this someday. This is AWESOME!

  53. Must be photoshopped…
    Very cute, but… come on!

  54. Julia (the one in B.C.) says:

    WHERE in North Devon?

    My hubby is from Ilfracombe. I’d love to know if this was in the neighbourhood…

  55. This is really cool! What a perfect way to start off the spring season.

  56. I’m with PW, the first naysayer, and with Click Here and Giana: Photoshop! Altho I likes PHOTO-ShEEP much better.

    still, it’s cool. Maybe a smart collie did the photoshopping?

  57. R. Moore says:

    NO FREAKING WAY.

    Awesome.

  58. OMG this is fantastic! I love those crazy Border Collies!!!

  59. It’s impossible to tell, but it really doesn’t look Photoshopped to me (and I work with that program all day, and can spot bad cloning easily.) They probably would have fixed the errant “dot” on the R if that’d been the case. If you know the nature of sheep and border collies, this seems totally plausible (and very awesome)!!

  60. Hon Glad says:

    Oh. the barnyard is busy in a regular tizzy,
    and the obvious reason is because of the season,
    Ma natures lyrical with her yearly miracle.
    Spring, Spring, Spring.

  61. Wait, wait, wait… I’m confused! This is real!?!? BRILL, I say, BRILL!

  62. I have some really cool sheep and animal pics but I don’t know how to submit them. Can anyone help? I’ve written to the site but no one ever replies.

  63. Yitzysmommie says:

    Oh! Oh! Count me amongst the folks who now have this as their desktop. It’s SO wonderful!
    BAA RAM EWE
    Must watch Babe again tonight, I’m thinkin’.

  64. Not ‘shopped. There actually are still peeps with imagination and know-how to pull off something like this. And primo working dogs. And sheeplike sheep.

  65. Very VERY Cool. One of my Border Collie friends sent this to me. (I’m a Cattle Dog person) hhmm. This looks like a fun(?) challenge to try at the farm where we take lessons. Maybe as a fund raiser with a shorter word or even to try & form just a letter. We had fun last summer during a County Farm Tour showing families that herding sheep is not as easy as they thought. If we could do something like this farmer did, we would be the most popular stop on the tour!

  66. I love this with all my heart!!!
    What a wonderful man to come up with this idea!!!

    Hooray!

    Big LOL @ DKN “Babe on Crack”!!! Bahahaaaaa…er, baaaaaa….

  67. Love the poemlet, Hon.Glad! :D

  68. I worked with Photoshop for 8 years, 8 hours a day building logos and faking things up and rebuilding graphics for use in print. Unless, they took random pictures of each sheep in different positions, and carefully sat and dropped each sheep into a hillside picture, then it would be photoshopped, and done very well, and it took a long time to do.

    I blew it up as big as I can for the resolution it is in, and I can say that I doubt that this picture is a fake. Given enough time I could reproduce it. I’d love to see a much higher resolution image though to really check it out. Can anyone find one?

  69. I’m having trouble with the permalink, whenever I cut and paste it into my browser this is the message I get. What the heck am I doing wrong, I’ve never had problems with such a simple task before?!

    This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.

    1
    Trackback pings must use HTTP POST

  70. I live there! Yay for the ingenuity of Devon farmers (and the cuteness of sheep)!

  71. Hon Glad says:

    Lauri: Thank Johnny Mercer, he wrote it not I.

  72. For all you people who think this is photoshopped, go to the Telegraph url posted above. It shows the letters in the process of being formed. Not everything that requires talent and work is done by photoshop even now.

  73. Ayame — actually I think you’re trying to use the “trackback” URL (useless) instead of the “permalink” URL. Easy mistake to make. Here’s the permalink:
    http://mfrost.typepad.com/cute_overload/2008/03/these-sheeps-ar.html

  74. …and, um, if that doesn’t help, then I has teh stoopy.
    hurr da dur durrrrr

  75. can that be real?? THATS JUST PLAIN AMAZING!

  76. It’s more believable that Mr Sheep Man laid down feed in that pattern.

  77. bill fosher says:

    The dogs had a little assist in the form of grain spread on the ground in the form of the letters.

    The daily mail ran this photo with the real story.

  78. Oh my gosh those must be trained sheep!!

  79. They put feed down, in the shape of the letters.
    It’s been done before :)

  80. Wow, good job you hard working little doggies!

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