A one-lane bridge packed with 3000 sheep created a quintessentially Kiwi traffic jam in Central Hawke's Bay on Monday afternoon.
In Patangata there's few motorists in a hurry anyway, but speedy work meant there was no need for ewe-turns as the flock was shifted across Tukituki River bridge on Elsthorpe Rd.
Waipawa Butchery and Patangata Station owner Duncan Smith said the sheep were part of his flock and were being transported to the shearing part of the farm.
"We try to keep the movement of that many sheep to an absolute minimum," he said. "But in total, it only took seven minutes to get the 3000 across."
Smith said the sheep were moved at about 1.45pm, to coincide with the least busy part of the day.
A pilot vehicle at the front of the flock and Bob Bertram and a few canine friends helped guide the sheep across the bridge.
He said the team aims for a swift and safe operation, causing as little disruption as possible.
"We've found over the few years that earlier in the morning you get a lot of people going to work and school buses, so we aim not to disrupt that," he said.
"Often around 2pm is a good time to move as it's the quietest, so we focus on times on the day when it's at its quietest to go across that bridge."
Smith said some of the lambs in the large group will be going to both the Waipawa and Havelock branches of the butchery.
Waipawa Butchery employs five butchers, two sausage specialists, four production staff and several shop assistants across their two sites.
The Smith family, who have been in Central Hawke's Bay since before World War II, still conduct hands-on work, with Duncan working behind the butchery counter two afternoons a week.