Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Bachelor Pad

Every fall we get to the point of deciding where exactly are we going to put each group of breeding animals. Always the conundrum since each ram's group has to have a gap between the other group(s). Why? Because rams will fight through fences even if they can't see each other. They will bash down fences, gates and anything in between them to establish who is top dog and to "get the girls". If one ram is older and obviously the dominate ram---they will still fight until the dominate ram can "gather" all the girls from the other side. Needless to say the girls stay well out of this battle and are not that interested in being gathered (most of the time). However during all this the poor shepherd ends up constantly trying to repair all the damaged things and keep everyone apart and in their correct place--not always that easy with rams in the grip of rut. Though they are usually fine with the shepherd ---they can be much harder at this time to control and to get their attention. Bull headed would be the description that comes to mind here---and annoying.
Now fortunately---we have always been successful BUT we have at times had gates accosted when another group did not have an "appropriate" distance. So, as I mentioned--with each year comes the new decision of who goes where.
This year to help us with that---we made a new pen. It is a small area and will technically be the official "bachelor" pen for the rams after breeding and until they go back in with the girls after lambing. Until that period of time however--one breeding group will go into this pen which will make it easier on us as far as keeping a good distance between the other group. Also, as fate would have it we will end up with only two rams. So, with this new pen it actually will work out well for us by allowing more of our pasture to rest during the winter (especially after this hard drought year) and possibly even re seed more of it if it ever rains regularly again.
Ike---who is pictured above with the chicken on him will come in this pen with his three girls. All the rest of the girls will go into the back pasture with our new ram "Tex" (yes, kind of a silly name---but there you have it).
My point of posting this was to show how we are allowing this pen to overflow into the chicken area. Ike as you can see is taking full advantage of it by laying in front of the chicken coop door. This morning I had to change the hinges on the door since Ike kept knocking it close by laying against it. No sooner had I done that then two of the rams (both soon to move to new places) squooshed their selves through the door and hung around inside the coop. The chickens as you can see are fine with this---they just climb over the rams to get in or out.
The "long view" picture up there is the beginning of the attachment to the back of the coop that will be the new shelter for whatever animals end up in this pen over time. A place to keep their hay dry and for them to get out of the worst that winter dishes out (if winter ever comes!). The tarp is a temporary side to help with sun control right now but the roof and posts only took a couple of days to get done. Eventually it will be finished---we are much quicker with animal shelters than our own :-D and a group of sheep will move in for a few months. The girls would be glad to know they are just going to be temporarily ensconced---but since they can't understand me I am sure they will fuss at me all the while they are there.

1 comment:

Robbyn said...

lol love that pic with the ram sticking his head out of the coop :) Filing your info about keeping the fencelines separate, for future reference. I noticed on a Soay site they have to block their fences off with tarp materials so the rams can't see through them, maybe for the same reasons.