Sunday, January 13, 2008


Yes, the witch-hazel is blooming. The rams are must be spring.
Does anyone else have this happen? Breeding has been over for maybe a month. The ram pen is away from the ewes. No one can touch noses....rub fences....or be seen wagging tails. Why in the world do the rams suddenly decide to fight?
I looked at January's blog from last year....and quickly turned it off again. Yes, it still hurts to know my head ram was killed in an afternoon in January. If I was forced to choose just one would have been Minwawe Pan. But he is gone, and I have to deal with the rams I have now.
My husband brought the water to the ram pen....and all was was maybe a half an hour before he brought them grain. In that half hour, three of the grown rams were in a fight.
Yes, in that half hour they were a mess. Two were head getting both of them from the side and rear. It was the scene of a playground brawl. Grain didn't stop them. Pat went to get his gun. I stood and passed judgement. It was number three, taking on number two. Hopalong, who had been put into number two position after breeding this year, was getting hurt. Getting pretty wobbly, he would not last the night. But Hopalong would not come to me at the gate. Finally I got a hold of the other main fighter....and pulled him out. Covered with the results of his fight.....he trotted past me to the ewes pasture. Surprising my husband who was ready to drop them all.
Perhaps they had gotten wind of a ewe who was not bred. There were a whole flock of ewes gathering around the loose ram at the girl's gate. A couple of the girls should have been bred, by the very ram they now coveted. Oh's least if he has some willing girls, he won't break out into the girls pasture. So I let my newly-multi-colored ram in with those girls. Luckily, the butcher will take him tomorrow. My husband didn't want to eliminate him. The main shepherd....that's me....decided if he was let back in, he would again go after Hopalong....and then the head ram in that pen, Cinder. I happen to like Cinder. As head- shepherd of this flock, I get to make the call. If they need to be culled...they are culled. They have to fit in my flock. Sorry, ambition is not an excuse.
After we pay for this one....the "dirty fighter" is going to go too. Bless butchers. They can remove the condemmed from our sight....and make these decisions, and results easier.
Don't think that I take these culls with no emotion. Anytime we have to drop an animal....or lead them to slaughter....we retain that picture. I know it is my decision. In another time, and another place....that creature would be safe and live out a happy life. Playing chief judge and jury is part of the whole life cycle. It is a price I pay for the joys of birth. And those joys are very powerful. Don't let the downs of raising livestock, the culling, the predator deaths, the timely or un-timely deaths inside the flock....don't let those take top place in your mind. It is the joys of seeing births and watching growing lambs that brings joys to the shepherd.
Right now, the girls are showing, I'm making judgement calls about uping rations. Timing worming...when to shear....setting up jugs. Good's that time again.
Yes, it's spring. The witch-hazel is blooming.


At 6:01 AM, Blogger Nancy K. said...

I sympathize with you, Mary Ellen! I hate it when the rams fight. I sold all of my adult rams last year and just have three ram lambs now. I may just keep using ram lambs ~ they're so much nicer! But then again, I know what you mean about having that one special ram that you bred and using him to carry on your farm name. I long for another "Paco". But I don't want to have to deal with the big boys fighting....



Post a Comment

<< Home