Please help me! My five year old son won’t eat his vegetables; in fact he doesn’t really like eating anything apart from pasta and sweets. How can I persuade him to eat his greens?
Dear Anxious Mum,
My first thought was that at five years of age, your son is pretty old and should be able to know what’s good for him to eat (after all, I am six, and I know this), but then my humans reminded me that this is still very young for a human – I had forgotten about that. Anyway. This is a problem which we have occasionally with lambs, and I have spoken to Magda, who is the oldest ewe in the flock and the most experienced mum, to find out what she thinks. Lambs start eating solid food very early on, when they are about three or four days old, and the humans have a superb and delicious food especially for them, known as lamb creep. It is so delicious that all we adult sheep love to eat it also, and so the humans have devised a Low Trick to keep us from it. They put it in a special feeder which only allows the lambs to get at it; once you have grown up a bit, you’re too big to fit into it and you can’t get to the food. You could try this; make your son’s favourite food harder for him to get to, and then make sure that there are lots of yummy vegetables within easy reach. But we all know how mean this is, and how we hate it when we can’t get to the lovely lamb creep food, so I don’t actually recommend it.
What I think you should do is to introduce your son to the joys of eating grass. It is the most delicious and complete food, and we never, ever tire of it. It comes in different flavours – rye, fescue, etc. – and you can eat it in different forms, too – hay, haylage, silage, even grass nuts (which are little pellets made of compressed dried grass) as well as fresh. It is plentiful, and I really don’t understand why you humans don’t eat more of it yourselves. During the spring and summer, there is lots to go round, and I hear that you even mow it and throw the cuttings away! Make sure, though, that you do not feed your son those lawn cuttings – they will make him ill because they are too short and too mashed up (nobody should eat those, especially not sheep and horses, because it will make us very sick).
You must make sure, though, that you introduce the grass to your son gradually, otherwise you could upset his digestion. Perhaps turn him out for half an hour at first, and slowly increase the time over the course of a few days. I’m sure he’ll love it.