I separated the breeding groups Sunday, so everybody is (mostly) back to their normal lives now. Duke is still in solitary, but he doesn’t play well with others unless he’s had time to get pretty desperate for company first. Textbook procedure for reintroducing rams is to cram them all together as tightly as possible for 48 hours or so until they all smell alike, but that won’t work here for three reasons, first: Duke is too big, second: Neo is too small, and third: I don’t have the facilities to pack them in tightly enough in the first place.
“It’s not faaaair! I want my girlfriends back!”
I keep telling him he wouldn’t end up by himself so much if he didn’t look (and act) like something off of a wildlife documentary, but he says I’m unfairly persecuting him. All he wants to do is be the sole surviving male on the premises, is that so much to ask?
“Duke’s welcome to babysit any time he wants! *Grumble grumble*”
Since Barney’s the only adult in their pen, the lambs keep following him around like ducklings. I think he preferred it when they were tagging along after Princess. Barney wants to go with Duke instead of watching the little guys. I think it’d be better to wait until he doesn’t have the girls’ scent on him.
Neo feels that since his mother is a girl, and his aunties are all girls, and his (awesome) half-sister is a girl, he should be counted as an honorary girl and stay in the Girls’ Clubhouse. Princess may have taken him under her wing somewhat, but I’d really rather he buddy up with the other guys. Four is a much more stable number in a ram pen than three, even if the fourth one is a shrimp.
“That power hungry tyrant and her spoiled brat are hogging all the hay!”
“Lady, I thought you said you missed them?”
“Well… Maybe a little. Very deep down.”
Lady and Princess fought for ages when I put them back together, with Nova occasionally becoming overexcited and getting in a few hits of her own. Princess is still the boss, of course. Apparently Princess also indulges in nepotism (or hereditary titles?) and prefers Nova as 2IC instead of Lady. Poor Lady. Usually dominance issues in animals are worked out one-on-one; I’ve never seen or heard of an animal defending someone else’s standing in the pecking order before, but maybe protecting the rank of one’s firstborn lamb is an exception?
Duchess is still on the bottom rung, but she doesn’t seem to mind. The others don’t really pick on her, she just never tries to push herself to the front. She and Nova were delighted to be reunited. I’m not sure why they’re so close, unless it’s because they’re the same color? Or because Duchess didn’t have a lamb of her own?
I hope she has a live, healthy lamb this year. I never did see her come in heat, so I’m assuming it just happened on a day when I wasn’t home. Princess and Nova only cycled once as far as I could tell, so I’m also assuming Liam got the job done. I suppose I’ll find out for sure who settled in four or five months when I see who lambs. They were together long enough for everyone to cycle three times, so if they didn’t conceive it wasn’t for lack of opportunity.
I just hope Lady isn’t the only one to lamb; considering how she was with Neo this year she’ll be too smug to live with if she has the only lamb(s).