Lord, I’m not sure I can update the sheep drama in one blog. So I wont. This will surely end up a three parter. Those creatures… And it’s not just mine. There are so many great stories Shepherds from across the globe can tell. I have a Shepherd friend who blogs her craziness in drawings. https://www.facebook.com/farmeroutcomics Just to give you an idea of what we deal with.
The rams are the toughest. They keep you on your toes, or on your butt if you forget your toes. They cause trouble for everyone, including the donkeys. This crazy looking creature is Mercutio. He was the first ram we brought home (along with Romeo-who is away at freezer camp). He is a lovely boy, despite this photo. Life was pretty peaceful around here….
Then my husband decided he wanted to breed an exotic sheep, not to freezer, but to sell to help fund our endeavor. He decides on the American Blackbelly. Absolutely beautiful animals. A bit on the wild side, but very hardy and they almost always twin and triplet. Since they are hair sheep, they fit right in here at ‘please nothing more than I can handle’ ranch.
Isn’t he amazing? He’s also amazing because he’s still alive and not mounted on my sewing room wall. Yes, those horns are painful. When this guy is in “rut”, for lack of better word here, he can be quite aggressive. He once hit me so hard into a gate, my sunglasses flew about 10 feet to the backside of me. Messed my back up for weeks. From my experience here with him, I’m assuming he’s trying to establish his dominance over me. I control the food, I control it all. So when a ewe is in heat, he sees me as a threat. He’s busted a hole in our barn, broken all the fences and gates, and destroyed our sheep shed by knocking off a wall to get into the other pasture. I have wanted so bad to either sell him or make sausage of him. However, when he’s calm, like this week and especially today, he’s a tender boy who walks around with his nose up instead of his head down with an aim. I have also been grabbing his horns and pulling him to the side until he stops struggling, to show MY dominance. I’ve tried several times to ‘take him down’, but I can only get his head twisted back and to the side. Even though I don’t get him to the ground, he still knows he’s been beat. I do it every single time I feel he’s getting comfortable. Sometimes I do it for practice. But I’ve been gored in the leg by those horn tips. It’s not a game, that’s for sure. I wish I could have videoed myself trying to take down Merc. He’s a big ol’ boy. I huffed, puffed, pulled, strained, heaved, hoed, grunted and groaned until I FINALLY got him down on the ground. If rams could stand and file their nails looking bored, he would have been doing it. I love that guy. He tolerates my crazy.
There’s my sweet boy Neo and his twin.
I believe I’ve come to terms with Rambo. I’ve learned his behaviors and will continue to show my dominance over him. It’s incredibly hard not to love on him when he’s being so sweet, but I’ve learned to do it in moderation and to never ever pet his head or touch his horns unless he’s going down. I’m very much looking forward to the day we have so many acres of land that we can have our ram pasture out of sight and smell of the ewes and lambs. It’ll make life so much easier. But for now, I take delight in knowing there isn’t much that’ll come into the barn yard with two asses and that big horned ram with the chip on his shoulder.
Mercutio is a katahdin and isn’t supposed to have horns really. It’s not a disqualifying trait, but it’s preferred to have it out of the breed. Merc is always breaking his horns off.