bits and pieces
Two things to mention today....aha er...tonight.
There have been some scattered posts about rams and their desire to ram.
Yes, I agree, they are called rams for a reason. I just want to remind all you breeders that an adult ram is a potential killer. Yes, even the ones who come up for a pet through the fence wagging their tails.
I have found the time around breeding season changes the normally easy-going shetland rams into possible problems. Now....do as I say...not as I do.
Do not enter a breeding pen without having hold of your ram before you go in....and if you are going in with an adult ram....you should use common sense and have someone available to help you in case you slip, or are hit. May I remind you again....your adult ram could kill.
I have a problem ram....hopefully only one. He has always taken an opportunity to hit me....usually not an angry hit...just a big tap as if to say he is bigger than I am. I moved this ram into the back pastures at breeding time on a halter....he walked like a gentleman...and when we reached the creek, I allowed him to lag behind. Yup, that's where he hit me ...in the behind.
Fortunately, I did not fall. So I left him for a month without breeding him....then finally brought him up to a breeding pen. Now, when I open a breeding pen, I let girls choose their rams. If they have no relationship, and I consider their mating a good one for other reasons....I open the gate and let them in with their lover-boy. This ram was doing pretty well attracting girls, and I held his horn and pulled him aside several times as another girl walked in his open gate.
OK....I got careless.....he still had a couple of ripe girls who were still happy with him the day I needed to move him into bachelor quarters again. My husband stood at the gate as I walked in with my halter and reached forward for his horn. The ram never even moved to warn me.....just leaped forward, off the ground, and hit me in the middle. Higher or lower, and there could have been a serious problem with vital organs. Let me say again....there was no warning, he didn't even blink. Just hit. OK, maybe a little extra tummy saved me from an injury. That's no excuse. I made a mistake....I was careless.....I could have been seriously injured...or if I had fallen he might have finished the job. It wasn't his fault...it was mine....I should have waited to catch his horn before I went into his pen. At least I did have another person there...but the ram was so fast that my helper was shocked too. I will say that I watched with a little satisfaction while that ram was getting his bell rung in the ram pen. Now don't say, I didn't warn you.
We here in Missouri are in a winter type storm mode. We spent a couple of days getting people food...pet food...cutting wood, and running extra water....no electricity...no well. At dusk we had over 3 inches of rain, but it wasn't yet freezing. This morning, when I saw the water running, I broke up a few breeding pens to get the girls into the barn....I caught a couple of ram lambs and threw them into a pen in the barn too. I do have one ram lamb who will not come close enough to catch him...he has plenty of tarp over head....and will just have to stay outside. The old rams have an over head roof...but no walls....their pen has a flood-control dam and pond area...which has been overflowing all day. I brought them a little hay tonight, they sure don't need any water.
I have used more meds the last week than I have all year. With the cold wet weather, everytime I turn around someone is coughing. During the day, lots of girls stood out in the cold rain looking for grass, and eating from a hay bale in the close pasture. I fed hay inside twice....and finally at dusk, I closed the girls' gate....they have plenty of cold air blowing through the barn....but I would prefer to keep them from becoming frozen popsicles over night. You just know some of them are stubborn enough to lay there in the rain all night.
After I came in and changed into dry wear....I looked out and saw a couple of ewe lambs running in the rain. I had missed them under the tarps...so I had to go out and get them into the barn too...so much for being dry. It is still pouring.
We built a cattle panel and tarp shelter across the creek yeaterday for the rams and ram lambs to gain some dry shelter. Today, I could see through the trees that some of them stood out of the pouring rain. There is no way to get across the creek when it is running here. We had no mail....and no car went by all day either....I guess the low water crossing must be running pretty high down stream from here. North of us, there is already freezing sleet.....I assume when the heavy rains go through here we will get some freezing weather too. Hoping you are warm and dry....and your sheep are all fat and happy.