Thursday, 18 August 2016

So Many Firsts

Yesterday we finally separated the rams from the ewes. We've seen the ram lambs make their first advances towards the older ewes and as we've heard many a story about unwanted pregnancies by new rams, we decided it was time (on a side note, Deirdre does seem to be a bit fat around the middle, so we are wondering whether we were a bit late... time will tell).

As with all animal rearing, there seems to be as many ways of doing things as there are people owning animals. Mr B who has hundreds of sheep was adamant we transport the rams away by horse box, as there is now way of keeping them separate if they are within earshot of each other. Others - who own smaller flocks - claimed that as long as you have a good fence, you'll be just fine.

We decided to just try the second (and free!) option. While switching fields, we grabbed the young rams and led/ dragged them into another field. There was an awful lot of heart wrenching baa-baa-ing, but they didn't run through the fence. The ewes didn't seem to even notice that they were gone (until later, that is).

Then Cat and I had to drag the grown ram over to the smaller rams, which was a bit of a chore as he seems to have grown a lot over the summer. Good thing he's got massive horns so that we could gently force him to walk (at a snail's pace) back to the little rams. They will now form a men's only club until it is time to send the lambs to slaughter (gulp!) and reintroduce the ram to the older ewes again.  
Papa ram looking after the kids
The night proved to be a slightly less pleasant affair. The now lambless ewes (Deirdre, Elsa and Ingrid) could be found by the gate, calling out to their lambs throughout the night. You'd have to be made of stone not to be touched by the back and forth baa-baa-ing between the fields. After breakfast, we quickly gathered the troops and sent the ewes packing to Gårdshult, a few kilometers down the road. It took some cajoling to keep them all running in the same direction...

Calm and tired after keeping his owners awake 
Anyhow, both flocks are now very calm and we have hopefully avoided any inbreeding (please please please Deirdre, just be fat). And we have taken the first of steps towards "producing" our own meat, as unpleasant this process sometimes may be.

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