Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Too many irons in the fire

Sorry I haven’t posted lately. It seems as though I’m going a dozen different directions at once these days and apart from ongoing leading lessons for Mopple and all the young goats, none of it has to do with training animals.

I did something stupid this week. With the economy so slow, I decided I’d breed only two of my little ewes this year rather than be overrun with lambs. I noticed old Rebaa (Coates Farm’s Rosy Lolita) in heat and lounging by Ramsgate 2 (that’s our rams’ pasture; Ramsgate is the pen they had when we had just three rams). So, on a whim, I asked John to help me round up Rebaa, Shebaa (Rebaa’s daughter, Wolf Moon Findabar, one of my best ewes), and Maxx (Wolf Moon Fin Bheara [pictured above], our young paint Miniature/Classic Cheviot ram) and put them in a breeding pen.

I hadn’t planned to breed Rebaa again since I thought she would be ten in March (I didn’t breed her due to her age last year either), but she’s such a wonderful producer that I thought why not? We’ll baby her a bit and she’ll be just fine. I asked her to please have two nice ewe lambs and Maxx bred her right away.

Later that evening I dug out her papers to check her age. I thought perhaps she was going to be nine instead of ten. But she’ll be eleven on March 22! I’ve really lost track of passing time. She’s in great shape but we’ll take her directly from the breeding pen to the elder sheep paddock so she gets extra TLC from start to finish.

Rebaa always has twins or triplets and for her past three lambings she’s picked out one for me to raise (the white sheep is Baa Baa Louie, the wethered son I raised in 2008). She looks them over for about an hour, decides which one is mine, then starts gently nudging it away. If I don’t take the hint and remove that lamb (which I didn’t, the first time this happened), she gets tougher until baby is bouncing off the sides of the lambing jug. Why does she do it? I honestly think she knows I love bottle lambs and wants to share. Sheep are amazingly astute!

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