Could a sheep turn on a tap on a water bowser?

Just how clever are farm animals is the unusual question that has been posed in the discussion forums of Farmers Weekly Interactive?

One of the users Peter  – albeit slightly tongue in cheek – reckons that some animals might be cleverer than we give them credit for.

“Last year I bought a water bowser to take around to outlying sheep. It is most useful and has taps which could be securely fastened but I never locked, and until recently all went well,” he said.

“However one of my polled Dorset ewes must have discovered how to turn the tap on and, amazingly how to turn it off again.

“I say this tongue in cheek, but really am at a loss to explain how, in an isolated spot, the tap could be turned on, the bowser drained, and the tap turned off again.

“When I discovered the empty bowser this ewe was hanging around and gave me a knowing look whilst appearing somewhat sheepish.

“I’m pretty sure it was not children and I have now remedied the problem with baler twine through the locking holes.

“Does anyone else have tales of animal intelligence beyond the expected?”

A reply from Ally R suggests there may be something in the theory.

“A few years ago now, a member of a shooting party shot a bird which fell on the other side of a river. He invited his dog to go and fetch the bird. His dog hesitated at the bank of the flowing river and would not go into the water.

“My father, who was also on the shoot, had an exceptionally good Lab, Mike, at the time and sent him to fetch the bird back. Mike also hesitated at the bank of the flowing water, then he turned and trotted twenty or thirty yards upstream and plunged in.

“As he swam across the current took him downstream so that he reached the other bank opposite the point at which he had been sent from. He then found and retrieved the bird. Again he trotted upstream with the bird and plunged in so that the current brought him down to the point where the shooters were.”

Have you got any more tales of clever creatures? Share them on the intelligent animal thread of the forum.