Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rams and cows

Well this evening (Sunday) our oldest Icelandic ram got through the gate and into the cow pasture. We actually didn't have to chase him down as much as we thought we would when we first noticed he was in there. We caught him without much problem. Put his halter on and led him out of the pasture. He was a bit tired but no damage was done to anyone. I know you are wondering what problem there could possibly be with an Icelandic ram in a pasture with cows. In this case: big problems--for us anyways.
It all started last fall as rut approached. If you have never seen Irish Dexter cows---they are short. So short in fact that when a female is young she might not be much bigger than an average ram. Heavier but not much taller. Well, last year I made the mistake of bringing the ram into the barn to shear him as he went into rut. I wanted him to be cool as he started well....getting physical. I chose to do said shearing in the back stall of the barn. What I forgot when deciding this was that Rose--the cow---loved that stall and considered it hers and hers alone. She practically dances when she gets to go in it. Perception is everything when you are a cow and as far as she was concerned I "ruined" it when I took the ram into it--made it all stinky or something. She stared at us the whole time but I never gave it a thought. I just figured she was interested in what was happening. When I let the ram out though, she immediately started harassing him. Since he was coming into rut he felt inclined to defend himself against this supposed encroacher of his territory and so, of course, at that point war was declared by all involved. Butting, chasing and bashing ensued--with us running around trying to stop it--yelling the whole time. Up and down the hills of the back pasture, never quite able to get close to one or the other to catch them. They were so evenly matched that no one true winner could be declared. Finally the cow decided she was tired and wanted to give up, but the ram---well he is a ram and victory could not be declared until there was a true winner and the looser was no longer around. It was quite funny now that I think of it---My husband standing with the cow hiding behind him with his arms out, Rose keeping my husband between her and "guy" --peering (literally) out around my husband to watch were the ram was so she could keep my husband between them, Guy circling them both like a shark and me running in circles after him and just never quite able to catch hold of the brat. It took about 45 minutes all told but seemed like hours.
Since that time---we have always had to keep those two separate. They (or at least he) will fight every time. He picks at no other cow but her. She is his arch nemesis. Raminski vs Dexter Rose.
During the summer it seemed to have settled down and we didn't have too much of a problem--though we made sure to always keep them separate. But now that rut has started again, Guy sees his competition on the other side of the gate and is sure that Rose (the female cow) is going to steal his "harem" from him and purportedly breed them :-O. I am about 100% sure she is not interested--but he is not so confident no matter what I tell him. He spends quite a bit of time along the fence line protecting all from Rose. Pacing, making threatening "nickering" noises and guarding the fence line.
We have been told by friends "oh you should get a picture of that" when the two get together and fight. But to this day---we are so surprised and thrown out of whack by this dilemma when it infrequently happens, that we forget to get a picture. Next post I will try and get a picture of each one individually so that they can flaunt their mug shots here for all to see.

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