A Riot of Rams

You’ve heard of a Flock of Sheep, a Herd of Horses, a Gaggle of Geese. How about a Riot of Rams as a subset of the Flock?

Larry came home yesterday. He is a ram born last February (still called a lamb up to his first birthday) and was with a nearby flock of ewes. Whenever rams that have reached sexual maturity (and that could be 5 to 6 months) are to be reunited there are apt to be fights until they have figured out the pecking order. The shepherd’s job is to prevent injury, death, and property damage. Most of the time that means putting all the rams together in a pen that is small enough that they can’t back up and put their whole body force into the inevitable ramming that occurs.

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This is Larry. He is a nice looking ram lamb. Since I was going to be moving all the rams I took the opportunity to trim all their feet.

12085This is one of the ram lambs born at the State Fair in July.

12085 wool He has nice wool, doesn’t he?

DSC_7009Here is Sullivan, a yearling ram. He was shorn along with the rest of the flock last month. Larry missed shearing so I’ll have to shear him by hand, and I didn’t shear those lambs that are going to be sold. Do you notice a swelling just under and behind the two spots on his shoulders?

DSC_7012 Here is what it is like close-up. I noticed it a few days ago and I think it is a hematoma, probably a result of rams tussling.

How do I put the rams in close quarters? I don’t want them near the ewes because that would be asking for trouble. I particularly don’t want any of these rams trying to get over or through the fence to get in with the ewes. So I use one of the stalls, but a 12′ x 12′ stall is way too big. I use panels to make a pen in the corner of a stall.

DSC_7024There is a feeder just out of this photo at the bottom of this photo. The two shorn rams at the feeder are the February lambs. The two rams with wool at the feeder and the one in the top corner are the July lambs. Sullivan is the 2-horn ram in the center and Larry is the 4-horn ram next to Sullivan. Small enough pen?

DSC_7035Evidently not. I tried to take video so I could share the real impact (pun intended) of this, but it was too dark in here. In this photo Larry goes for Sullivan.

DSC_7036Now it’s Sullivan’s turn. You can’t tell in these photos but there is real power behind these hits.

DSC_7039Larry’s turn again.

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DSC_7044Another view. They are still fighting.

 

DSC_7048I collapsed the pen a bit more and they gave it up. Or maybe it took the fun out of the fight when they couldn’t back up to bash each other.

This morning all the rams were behaving so I gave them more space. Tomorrow they will go out to the ram pen and live happily ever after…

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