My apologies that ye Old Blogge has been silent; my laptop hard drive got really sick and had to go to the hard drive hospital. I’m typing this with fingers crossed (and believe me, that’s not easy!) because the hard drive was patched up but not really fixed. The new one won’t be in until the 29th. So if it gets quiet again, you’ll know why… Now, on to the delayed post.
Because they’re relatively small and look cuddly, people often think of sheep as being “nice.” This may be true with ewes who have been well-socialized to people, but rams are sheep of a different color, to mix a metaphor or two. And older rams tend to be more irascible, especially during breeding season.
No matter how well-trained or docile a male animal is, you must ALWAYS operate on the principle that he can be potentially lethal, particularly if there is a female in heat anywhere in the vicinity. So we keep an eye on the boys at all times. Pogo — so named because in his lamb days he would jump on anything and anyone — has been particularly difficult this year, continuing his aggressive behavior months past the breeding season. He has also become increasingly sneaky, waiting until someone’s back is turned and then coming at them as hard as he could run from some distance away.
We grain our cows twice a day. In the morning, we leave the sheep penned, as they don’t need the grain. In the evening, the sheep get a little grain to encourage them back into their night-time pen. Pogo is always first in line and will try to shove you away from the gate (even though you are carrying the grain bucket) so he can be the first one in the pen. We had an unexpected lambing a few days back, and had to shut the new mama and her twins in the night pen by themselves, which meant Pogo and the rest of the girls were out when we were graining the cows, stallion and mares. Pogo proceeded to intimidate the cows, chasing Maybelle, butting her in the flanks and shoulders and crashing into her head-on to drive her away from the grain. Then he started in on the other cows and calves and intimidated the mares. He hit my husband — who has had three back surgeries — from behind on two different occasions.
The only animal he hasn’t been able to buffalo is the stallion. When Pogo tried to shove him away from his grain bucket, the stud shoved back. Pogo, who is brave but not very bright, came back harder. The stallion pinned back his ears, bared his teeth and clamped his teeth in the middle of the ram’s back. He then picked him up, shook him as a dog shakes a rat, and flung him away from the grain bucket. Pogo got the message. Unfortunately, as so often happens when a bully is trounced, he took it out on more vulnerable victims and started beating up the ewes.