We thought perhaps they were lying undetected in the long grass, but no, the grass relinquished no sign of them ... They had completely vanished! And apart from a slight depression in the wire net fence (a possible point of escape), there were no clues of their whereabouts. None of the tell-tale signs of trampled grass or ravaged plants or trees.
Was this the work of some dastardly cattle rustler, monitoring our every movement for their opportunity to carry out their fiendish deed?
We hoped not, but our sense of foreboding was growing every moment, as we continued our search.
We split up so we could cover more ground: I went around to the front of the house to search for them in the paddocks there. Feeling resigned to their loss, I turned the corner to find ...
... them lying in a very relaxed fashion on our front deck. Clearly they had found the paddock too hot and not to their taste, and had sought out more shady environs, which happened to be our deck. Eminently sensible, really.
We got the message. They were promptly relocated to a paddock with the girls (sheep that is) where there is plenty of shade offered by the poplars.