It’s that time of year again. Time for a tender young lad to visit his girlfriends and make some babies!!
The day did not start out quite the way we thought it would. Went out to do chores and my son found one of our rams, Tally of the pus-y lip, had managed to get himself wedged into the trough bottom of their hay feeder. We are not sure how long he had been stuck there, but it had been quite a while at least. Got him fished out and let him lay in a more natural position for a while. I have no doubt that his back legs were pretty numb. After a bit he did get up with some help by my son and me supporting his back end. Got him walking and he perked up when I brought out the grain. He did his job of leading the other ram to the barn, although at a slower pace than is his normal. I gave him a dose of anti-inflammatory medicine to help him with any lingering pain or inflammation that may have developed from being stuck.
He is up and moving well now, eating and drinking with gusto. I left him to relax in the barn for the day, and we will move him back to his pen later this afternoon. He also got a mani/pedi today.
Poor bugger is having a rough fall!
This year I decided on a smaller breeding program than I usually do. I picked out 5 ewes and am using only Douglas the ram, with the intent of adding more color to the flock. Two ewes are moorit’s, one is back and two are white. Four of them are experienced moms, and one is a first timer. All the ewes are in excellent body condition and should not have much problem getting pregnant.
Part of this is an experiment. Color genetics can be pretty strange in sheep. Take Douglas for instance, his father is moorit, his twin brother is moorit, and his mother is white, and he is jet black. So far every baby from him has come out jet black from moorit mothers. This will be the first time to see what will come from Douglas and a white ewe. I’ve tried in the past and had one ewe that did not get pregnant, the second time, the ewe passed away from pregnancy toxemia, which created a metabolic cascade that we could not get her to recover from.
Our crew of helpers arrived about 8am, and off to work we went.
First thing we did was move Douglas up into the barn. One of the wonderful things about Tally is that he is a huge puppy dog of a ram. He will walk along with you on a leash as long as you have some tasty grain to shake under his nose. So we use Tally to move the other, less cooperative rams, around. They follow him as he walks with me! It’s a excellent system!
Since we are only using Douglas, we left Angus in the ram pen.
Once we got the two boys into a pen in the barn, Douglas was already anticipating what was going to happen. We got 3 of the ewes into the other pen yesterday and Douglas was quite eager to go say hello and show off all his ramly charms.
First things first, we had to make Douglas look presentable for his haram! So, he got a mani/pedi, a new bigger clean coat, and his marking harness on. Then over to see the ladies!
Major smelling of each other started right away. Douglas is all for it, but the ladies are not quite ready yet for his affections.
I suspect they are not currently in heat, but the great thing about putting a ram in, it will trip them into it pretty quickly. I know that a few of my other girls were cycling about a week ago, based on my ram-turned-wether out there trying to get himself some good lovin’!
After we got Doug all settled in, it was time to turn our attentions to the rest of the flock. I took advantage of the extra help to trim toes, change out smaller or torn coats, and catch the other two ewe’s we missed yesterday and move them into the breeding pen.
The ground on our farm is much rougher (shale ground) than the ground on our pervious farm. This does good things in keeping their toes much more worn down on their own. Instead of trimming toes every 8-10 weeks we only have to trim 2-3 times a year. The only exception is the ram pen which has softer ground.
We also decided to tackle the horn on one of the wethers, which grows in wonkey and starts to push against his head right above his left eye. We trim it back once or twice a year just to keep him from piercing his own brain. I use a wire tree limb saw and can take off an inch in short order. He seemed quite pleased afterwards and came over to give my hand a smoochie.
Got everyone taken care of, all pretty, ready to breed, fleece trimmed around a few of the ewe’s eyes, toes trimmed, horn trimmed, coats changed, and everything picked up.
I did have to rib one of the city boys by asking if he was ready to express anal glands now! Oh, the look on his face was priceless!!!
I am grateful to the crew for coming to help!
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So great to hear you have helpers! That makes short work of many chores on a farm.
OMG! You wrote it like a preparation for a wedding. Simply loved reading it and imagining as if all the animals were humans. The best!