Dear Curiosity Journal,
Passing by the pasture, I caught a glimpse of Betty and her twins cuddling up against a tree trunk. Upon second glance, I see the entire flock has found a tree to lean on, a pattern I’ve noticed before. They seem to love the trees, and I was curious about their connection beyond gravitating toward shade. My research led me to an article by the Woodland Trust and National Sheep Association (UK) titled, “The Role of Trees in Sheep Farming”. The publication discusses farming and forestry as mutually inclusive and points to some of the benefits of agroforestry. They have documented case studies of farmers incorporating hedgerows and shelterbelts (shrubs and trees) into their pasture designs, citing extensive benefits including, reduced animal mortality (especially during lambing), increased weight gain, elevated production, reduced management costs, improved nutrition, reduced stress, and improved immune function. That’s a solid list of logic for sheep (and farmers) to love flocking under the trees. Also, trees are just cool. Sheep know that.