Crookwell High School's 21 sheep have broken a school record, enjoying a three-day vacation in town after their paddock gate was left open some time between Monday and Wednesday.
Agriculture teacher Jacqui McIntosh said they'd never escaped before in her 30-year school history, after mustering the sheep home from a nearby paddock where they were happily grazing on Thursday morning.
"Being crossbred sheep, they are a bit more curious and decided to investigate the wider world, but they reckon there's no place like home," she said with a laugh.
The high school had reported its 19 crossbred ewes, white Suffolk ram and crossbred lamb as missing to police when they noticed on Wednesday afternoon and police had launched an investigation.
The sheep valued at more than $5000 are used for the school's agricultural studies and were donated by local farmers.
Ms McIntosh was relieved to have them back with all 19 of the ewes due to lamb in about a month's time.
"They literally ran back into the paddock they were being held in because there was a heap of feed at the school farm and familiar drinking points," she said.
Some people use the sheep's paddock behind the NSW Rural Fire Service building in Crookwell to access their properties.
"So we don't know who or why the gate was left open," Ms McIntosh said.
"Someone had put them in another paddock after they spotted them out on the street. Unfortunately, they thought they belonged to someone else because we usually have everything all padlocked at the school," Ms McIntosh said.
A NSW RFS employee noticed the paddock gate was open on Tuesday and kindly closed it, however, it meant the runaway sheep couldn't get back in.
The school is going to create a gate sign that says, 'please keep closed at all times', so it looks like the sheep won't be going away again anytime soon.
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