This week is all about the boys, for once, on the farm! Usually boys play a bit part and the girls have a starring role on farms, but there are times when the men get their due. We do need them!
Yesterday was the start of breeding week for the sheep, so Tuesday, the rams got fitted with their breeding harnesses.
They each carry a colored crayon on their chest. I’ll be able to tell when they mount each ewe, so I can note her projected due date. In seventeen days, I’ll change their crayon colors, and if I see marks on a ewe’s back after that, I’ll take note that her first breeding must not have taken and that she went into heat again.
I am hoping this will make lambing slightly more sane, if lambing can ever be sane. I don’t know if I’ll be working again by then or not, but if I am, it’ll be nice to have a reasonable idea of when the ewes are due to lamb, so I can watch them better. Last winter, I felt like I was on a three-month vigil, because I had no idea when most of them were due, and it’s not always obvious when they get close. Some that I thought looked imminent were weeks away, and others surprised me with lambs when I’d noticed no signs.
The rams were very anxious to meet the womenfolk and got right down to business when I sorted them into the “green team” and the “blue team.” I have them separated into two sections of hotwire, and I’m hoping that the rams don’t get the idea to crash through the hotwire to try to expand their harems! So far, so good. These sheep are pretty mellow and respectful of fencing, so I don’t really anticipate any problems from them.