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Breeding Season Begins

Balrog breeding Pasture ram sheep Shetland Uncategorized

Balrog, up for year 2 of being a papa
Balrog the ram

Happy October!

Time for a quick update on the farm’s latest.  This farmer/writer/mom is so busy with life lately, that there hasn’t been time for much writing and so I think it will have to be small doses until the days have a little more space in them.  I’m enjoying the time with my youngest daughter very much.  But she doesn’t drive.  And she needs to go to places which require driving.  So, now you know!

Yesterday I grabbed ole Balrog out of his solitary confinement and put him with 3 lovely ladies:  Nikki, Pansy & Ruva.  They are all going to be wonderful mothers, I hope, and so far things are going swimmingly.  Balrog was in a special stall because he’d had some escaping in the summer which made it difficult to manage having a ram with all of the other ewes around here.  His “special stall” included steel bars which were tied with hay-string to the metal bars and wooden framing of the stall he was in.  He bashed and bashed and bashed whenever he felt like it, and the stall stayed together.  It is incredible having a ram throw himself, headfirst, into the stall wall, the stall doors and see/hear the barn shudder.  It frightened me in the beginning, but after awhile I got used to it and so I’d respond “I’m coming, Balrog, I’m coming!”  And bring him a bit of hay or a bit of grain.  Needless to say, he’s huge now.

I opened his pen cautiously yesterday after I’d sanctioned the other rams/wethers into the farthest pasture, the non-breeding ewes to the middle pasture and the mamas-to-be in the first pasture.  I closed the big barn doors, then opened the stall door which leads outside to the first pasture.  I unfastened the steel panels attached to the interior wall of his stall.  I climbed up onto the ledge outside of his stall after unlocking the latch and then pulled the sliding door toward me to give him access to the aisle-way.  Well, there are no cameras in the barn and you can imagine how ridiculous I must’ve looked up on the sill of the stall, looking down on him, looking down the aisleway.  He looked up at me as if to say “What are you doing up there?”  He walked out the door, looked at me again, and then turned exactly toward the entry of the other opened stall as I’d hoped.  I, as lightfooted and nimbly as I could, managed to balance beam my way over to sliding the stall door shut on him.  Aha! Trapped!

He looked up at me, still wondering what my deal was.  Now I ran around through the big back doors and over to the side where there is another gate.  I climbed over the metal meshed fencing and reached where the outdoor door of the stall was.  I quick-as-a-bunny slid the latch on that door and then promptly spun and climbed up over the fencing.  Phew!  Safe again!  I then grabbed a tool(hoe) to reach across and grab that door and slowly open it.  Ta-da!  Out trotted Balrog!

By now the breeding ewes had made their way up the chute to see what the heck I was up to.  They greeted Balrog with a “hey, you got out of the slammer!” and then went back to grazing.  Balrog followed with much curiosity.  This was the part I was even more anxious about than my actually releasing him without being butted.  I worried he might be “rough” on my girls.  But no such thing happened as he very gentlemanly went about his release into the pasture with all of the appropriate behaviors a ram should have when being introduced to a flock of ewes.

Balrog, Pansy and Nikki
Balrog with his girls

Everyone is content and within the confines of the fences they are supposed to be.  Hallelujah!  Something went right for a change…at least for now!

bored already!

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