One of the most fascinating sheep behaviors is that of jumping. Sometimes, a sheep will suddenly raise its feet and jump in the air: often rising to remarkable heights. It is not uncommon for one sheep to start jumping, before others join in a manner that seems to be nicely choreographed. Witnessing the whole thing can leave you wondering what purpose this jumping behavior in sheep serves. Read on, for explanations.
Why do sheep jump in the air? Mostly they do it for fun. Leaping, along with running around and head butting are some of things that sheep seem to draw a great deal of pleasure from. Sometimes, the jumping may be a signal for other flock members to start engaging in fun activities – especially where it entails kicking legs in the air. In all this, it is important to keep it in mind that sheep can recognize faces (up to 50), and remember them for years.
In most cases, you will tend to find that there is something which excites the sheep. And they respond to the excitement by jumping. But there are also cases where the sheep may jump as a way of escaping from something they perceive as a threat. Further, there are those who theorize that the jumping also serves the purpose of strengthening the sheep’s feet. And the jumping also seems to strengthen social bonds within sheep flocks.
Do Sheep Jump In The Air?
Before proceeding to find out why do sheep jump in the air, it is important to first find out whether jumping (in the air) is something that sheep are actually able to do. So, do sheep jump in the air? The answer is yes. Sheep do jump in the air from time to time.
The jumping behavior is commoner in young sheep. But even adult sheep do jump in the air on occasion. Some sheep are actually able to jump several feet in the air.
Why Do Sheep Jump In The Air?
Firstly, jumping in the air seems to help sheep in strengthening their social bonds within flocks. For the social bonds within the sheep flocks to remain strong, there has to be shared activities that the sheep take part in together. And jumping happens to be one of those activities. It is also one of the ways in which the flock leaders seem to be able to exert control. Once a flock leader starts jumping, and other members respond by also jumping, the flock bond is strengthened.
Secondly, jumping in the air is an activity that the sheep derive pleasure from. So it is something they do for fun.
Thirdly, sheep may jump in the air when confronted with what they perceive as a threat. For instance, if the sheep are in the fields grazing, and they encounter a dog they are unfamiliar with, they may respond by jumping in the air. Perhaps the jumping serves the purpose of making it clear (to the perceived threat) that the sheep are not as docile as they appear…
Fourthly, sheep may jump in the air for the purpose of strengthening their legs.
Fifthly, sheep may jump in the air just because they are excited. We do notice, for instance, that this jumping behavior seems to increase when the sheep sense that it is about to rain.
So there is really no single answer to the question on why do sheep jump in the air? It can be for fun. It can be out of excitement. Further, it can be in escaping from a perceived threat. Or it can be for the purpose of strengthening social bonds in the flock. Or it may simply be for the purpose of strengthening their legs.
Do Sheep Jump In The Air When They Are Happy?
Yes, being happy (or rather excited) is one of the things that can make sheep to jump in the air. It can also be the other way round: where the sheep jump in order to be happy. So to them, the jumping is a fun activity, which ultimately makes them to be happy. Indeed, you will tend to notice that following a jumping session, the sheep’s mood seems to improve greatly.
How To Train My Sheep To Jump In The Air?
You will first have to figure out why do sheep jump in the air? Then once you identify the conditions that make sheep jump in the air, all you need to do is make those conditions available. Chances are that the sheep will respond by jumping. In most cases, it is important to identify the flock leader, and get him to initiate the jumping motion.
Once the flock leader starts jumping, the other flock members will respond by also jumping, and you will end up with a spectacular show.
You may consider using a reward mechanism in this endeavor. This is where you give the sheep some sort of reward, whenever they jump on cue. Perhaps they may come to link the reward to the jumping behavior. If that happens, your training would have been successful.
Is Sheep Jumping In The Air Funny?
Yes, sheep jumping in the air can be very funny. Noticing how they raise their legs, leap forward, then rise upwards can be very enjoyable. So can the aspect of seeing how they manage to get back down in a graceful manner be enjoyable.
Of course, the fact that sheep have the ability to jump means that they can jump over fences. And once it becomes a matter of them jumping over fences (then ending up in places they shouldn’t be), it is no longer funny. Most of the people who pose the why do sheep jump in the air question are folks who have only seen sheep jumping in the air in grazing grounds. But once the sheep leverage on this ability to jump over fences, it can fast become an intolerable behavior.
Thankfully, the cases of sheep using their jumping ability to go over fences are usually rare. In most cases, the sheep will only jump playfully in the fields: which can be very funny.
Another scenario where sheep jumping in the air may not be funny is where they happen to be doing it due to a perceived threat. Remember, while answering the why do sheep jump in the air question, we said that the presence of a perceived threat can cause the sheep to jump. Where it is clear that the sheep are jumping because of something they perceive as a threat, it is no longer funny. It is a sign of distress.
Final Verdict – Why Do Sheep Jump In The Air
Why do sheep jump in the air? Sheep mostly jump in the air for fun. It is also one of the shared activities through which they are able to strengthen their social bonds within flocks. And it seems to help a bit in strengthening their feet. Sheep jumping in the air can also be an indication that they are excited. We also have scenarios where sheep jump in the air because they have encountered things they perceive as threats.
Ultimately, if you see your sheep jumping in the air, it is one of the indications that you have a healthy, properly functioning flock. The only time when the jumping behavior may be a source of concern is where it happens to be due to the presence of a perceived threat.
In that case, you may need to identify what the sheep perceive as a threat. Then, if possible, remove it from their midst, so that they stop being distressed.