Mourning Australian farmer pays tribute to late aunt with sheep

Ben Jackson arranged his flock in the shape of a heart because lockdown prevented him from attending aunt's funeral

An Australian farmer who could not attend his aunt’s funeral because of pandemic restrictions came up with a novel way to pay his respects: hundreds of sheep arranged in the shape of a love heart.

Video shot by a drone of pregnant ewes munching barley in a paddock while unwittingly expressing Ben Jackson’s affection for his beloved Auntie Deb was viewed by mourners at her funeral in the city of Brisbane in Queensland state this week.

Mr Jackson was under lockdown across the state border at his farm in Guyra in New South Wales, 430 kilometres away.

Mr Jackson said he started experimenting with making shapes with sheep to relieve the monotonous stress of hand-feeding livestock during a devastating drought across most of Australia that broke in the early months of the pandemic.

He discovered that if he spelt the names of his favourite musical bands with grain dropped from the back of a vehicle, the flock would roughly adopt the same shape for several minutes.

“It was one way to keep me motivated, keep the serotonin levels up,” Mr Jackson said.

He said he was lucky to have any grain left on his property after a mouse plague this year that followed the drought.

He continues to supplement the pregnant ewes’ diet with grain to improve their condition before they give birth.

Updated: August 27th 2021, 11:31 AM
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