Thursday, 19 July 2012

On the subject of rams.

As you can see our flock ram, Boof, is getting a little grey around the muzzle. He's six and a half years old now and handicapped to boot. Although that hasn't stopped him being the father of the lambs due in the next month.

As Boof ages, I start to wonder about a replacement. The old guy has a home for life here, but he's related to too many of the ewes, and is slowing down. It's hard work for him to keep up with the girls in the larger paddocks. It's probably time he was retired to a small paddock with a small harem of the unrelated ewes.

So... how to fill his very large and beloved boots ?

The bad experience with Spot (too tame and turned aggressive) has made me wary of young rams. I could advertise for an older ram. A mature, laid back, relaxed old gent who has long ago realised that testosterone does not bring you scratches or slices of bread.

"Small flock of sociable ladies looking for a cheerful and polite ram for friendship and fraternising. 

Must be a good babysitter, like being the hill for lamb-king of the hill, know all the right courtship moves and take being rejected in good spirits. Willing to give us first go at the feed tub wins extra points.

We don't like pina coladas (we're all under 18 and not allowed to drink), we think getting caught in the rain is something only cows do, we are definitely not into yoga as we can scratch our ears with our hind feet already, and being sheep we only have half a brain.

So, if like the song says you are the one we are looking for, drop us a line."

Or I could buy a ram lamb, keep him til 10 months old since they can breed quite young (4 1/2 months in Bandit's case...) and then put him in the freezer before he becomes old enough to be obnoxious.

Or I could borrow a ram, which does raise the issue of quarantine and disease risk.
AI is not a simple job with sheep. They have a crimped up cervix so AI is done by laproscopy and only used for valuable breeding stock.

I guess I have been spoiled by Boof's wonderful temperament. I wish they gave rams a grade for mellowness as well as the other breeding scores such as low lamb birthweight, twinning and growth rates !