I feel like the motto of sheep keeping in general should be “Well, that didn’t go the way I’d pictured it!”
I don’t usually post four days in a row, but I had my plans changed for me again on a noteworthy scale. Duchess will now be Mom #2 this year, not Mira. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but apparently no obstacle can stand in the way of
total infatuation true love.
While trying to separate Nova and Mira back out of the main flock this morning, I happened to look over and think to myself “Hey, looks like Duchess is in heat. Haha, it’s always the ones not in with the ram that cycle first.” And then suddenly BB is barrelling through the gate and in my head there’s flashing alarm lights, a loudspeaker blaring “CONTAINMENT BREACH,” and Jurassic Park music.
There is no way on earth I’m dumb enough to try to get between BB and Duchess at this point, so I chased everyone else back up to the barn and somehow got Duchess and BB into the pen with the butting board before
the T-Rex Duke managed to smash his way out and murder BB. It was a very difficult getting them to move, because Duchess and her new paramour were in a dreamland of hearts and roses, and paid no attention to my pleading, my half-hearted threats, or even my bribe offers.
If your sheep are completely ignoring the sound of a whole bag of crunchies being rattled, you’re in big trouble.
“ShepherdPerson? What ShepherdPerson? You are like the buzzing of so many flies around our ears!”
Just like that, except on the other side of the fence. I wasn’t about to try taking pictures while actively messing with a ram in rut guarding his lady-love. Especially when his lady-love is Duchess. And Duke and BB (when he can take a moment from flirting) are doing their dead-level best to concuss themselves through the fence. And the main flock is crying because I just let them out, and now I’ve locked them up again, and it’s not fair! Suffice it to say that pictures were at the bottom of the priority list until I got things sorted out.
With much blood sweat and tears, I did eventually get everyone sorted out. Nova, Bran, BB, and (sigh) Duchess are in the ram pen, and Mira is back with the main flock. I could have left Mira with the breeding group and let her be bred anyway, but I was only planning to breed two this year, and last year when an extra ewe got bred I ended up with six lambs instead of the two or three I’d planned for. Mira’s OK with not having a baby, anyway.
“It’s ok, Mommy, I don’t need a baby! If I had a baby, it would probably want to share my cuddles and crunchies! And I’m just now making progress reminding Nina and Holly who’s boss, I don’t want to be cooped up in that breeding pen again!”
So it seems the whole matter has been settled to the satisfaction of both ewes, even if their ShepherdPerson isn’t totally thrilled. I’m just hoping the third time will be the charm and Duchess will a) have a lamb that doesn’t die, and b) feed and raise said lamb herself.
Once all the re-shuffling was taken care of, I set to work calming down the very upset sheep that had been rudely shut back up in the barn before breakfast, serving breakfast, checking that the fences hadn’t sustained any
additional damage, and finishing my morning head-count and visual health check ritual that had been so rudely interrupted by BB’s escape.
On the way back through the ram pen towards the house, I stopped to take a few pictures with my phone. Perfectly safe, I thought, since Duchess and BB were ignoring me anyway. Duchess, predictably, decided this was the perfect time to come out of her romantic haze and come complaining to me that she hadn’t gotten any crunchies. Because rams just love someone else getting their girlfriend’s attention. Because it’s not like I was begging her to follow the bag of crunchies ten minutes earlier or anything.
I guess she hadn’t caused enough trouble for one morning, so she just had to finish it out by sending me scooting out the gate fleeing her jealous boyfriend. Sigh. Duchess is so quiet and shy most of the time, but when she decides to throw a monkey wrench into the works, it’s always a major monkey wrench.
I feel like a troublesome sheep sticking her purple tongue out and blowing raspberries should be the logo of sheep keeping in general.