Kaylen is one of our CVM ewes who isn’t particularly friendly with me. Oh, she is perfectly happy to take a graham cracker from my fingers or nibble a carrot that I hold in my hand; but generally, she would rather be far away from me as I go about my chores.
So I was a bit surprised the other day when I was feeding Hope a bucket of grain and Kaylen came over to say hello. Now, realize that I was holding a bucket of grain, so it wasn’t as if she just came to see me—but when I made it clear that she would get none of the grain, I was surprised that she stayed at my side. Normally, she would have moved quickly away.
Imagine then my additional surprise when she began to rub the top of her head on my arm. A bit puzzled by this behavior, I reached out my hand toward her, thinking that perhaps she wanted me to pet her, as I often do to January or Kali. That was not her intent, however. She did not want me petting her or rubbing her. No. What she really wanted was a good head scratch, and it was obvious that I wasn’t doing it right. She was much happier if I simply held my hand aloft with fingers bent and nails ready for scratching. This way, she could move her head around to get the exact spot that itched!
Keep in mind that I was still feeding Hope with one hand while letting Kaylen use me as a head-scratcher with the other. Over and over Kaylen aggressively pushed her head against my hand. She had no patience for the camera I eventually pulled out to record the event—while I held the camera in my left hand, I was obviously failing at head-scratching with my right, and she let me know! What was I thinking, anyhow? She had an itch and it needed scratching. Photos could wait!
So there I sat, Hope long finished with her grain, but Kaylen scratching away until, suddenly, it was over. Kaylen had no more use for me. She took one good look at my hand, then at me, and made her way quickly to the other side of the pen where she could once again suspiciously keep an eye on me. Obviously, not much had changed.