On Sunday four Farm Club members met here to help me sort out rams and ewes. We sorted all the ewes and then went to get the rams.
Zeus is a challenge. I brought him home from Oregon in July and he hadn’t been handled as much as my homegrown rams. He is difficult to catch and not used to being tied up. Dan helped catch him and then I was able to trim his feet and get a marking harness on him.
Axle, the 2-horn yearling, and Jasper, the 4-horn lamb, have both been to shows and are easy to handle on the halter. Farm Club members figured out how to get the marking harnesses on and adjusted while I trimmed feet.
Marina saw that this ewe had a torn eyelid. This is almost the same as one that I found about a month ago and took to the vet. In that case after sedation and cleaning and stitching the lower lid, the stitch came out the next day. I cleaned this one and applied some ointment and hopefully it will heal up on its own.
Peyton is the BFL ram. He weighed in at 275 pounds the last time I checked.
After getting the rams ready we turned their groups of ewes out with them. All the groups have separate areas and there is only one place where two rams have fenceline contact. It is best if there is none. This is Axle checking for scents. One of the FC members told us that she had read about this Flehmen response. I had never known that there was a name for this. From Wikipedia: “The flehmen response, (from German flehmen, to bare the upper teeth), … is a behavior in which an animal curls back its upper lip exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed, and then often holds this position for several seconds. It may be performed over a site or substance of particular interest to the animal, or may be performed with the neck stretched and the head held high in the air. Flehmen is performed by a wide range of mammals including ungulates and felids. The behavior facilitates the transfer of pheremones and other scents into the vomeronasel organ (VNO, or Jacobson's organ) located above the roof of the mouth via a duct which exits just behind the front teeth of the animal.” You never know what you’ll learn by reading this blog.
Here is Peyton showing the same response.
The ewes were not ready to settle down immediately after we moved the groups around, but by later that afternoon Zeus had marked two ewes.
Jasper marked one ewe immediately after we turned them all out and had another marked by the next day. The ewes won’t allow themselves to be mounted and marked unless they are in standing heat. That happens about every 17 days.
A sure sign of a good standing heat.
How can you not take a photo of the BFL face?
Peyton is definitely working through his red marking crayon.
Just to break up the red a bit, isn’t this a striking flower that is growing on the fence walking out to the pasture where Jasper is?
Jasper and Dilly, the first ewe he marked.
This morning’s photo of ewes in the pasture. That is dallisgrass that is almost covering the sheep.
Two well marked ewes and another who did not cooperate with the ram.
These are the ewe lambs who are not in the pasture with a ram. They aren’t happy about being locked up right now.