Monday, July 30, 2012

Rules for Rams

My first Icelandic ram was a movie star ram.  Churchill would have been famous if he had made it to Hollywood.  He would have been more popular than Lassie Come Home.

His behavior was astounding, especially during breeding season.  I had him in a corral with a tall physical fence of field wire and metal T posts, then a dead space, then another physical fence with another dead space; and around all of this was electric netting that was charged all the time, at 6,000 volts.  Most of the time, Churchill took out his energy on Rainier, one of his sons, who was penned with him.  But his patience was thin and he finally calmly walked up to the first fence, clamped his teeth on the metal clip that supports the field fence on the metal T posts, snapped off the clip.  He proceeded methodically down the T post.  Clamp teeth, snap off clip, and so on until he decided he had gone far enough.  It was a cinch for him to pull down the wire after it was loosened from the clips.  And so he stepped over the wire and walked purposely toward the next physical fence.  He did the same to this.  In a matter of minutes he had gone over the second fence, and then he tackled the electric fence.

To a real sheep like Churchill, a 6,000 volt charge was nothing.  He kept his eyes on the prize.  I had barricaded the ewes in a pen near the house.  Unfortunately, Churchill used his horns to tear out a hole in the back, just large enough for him to daintily step in and wreck my breeding program.

He was a gorgeous ram with a deep moor it fleece and his lambs were also beautiful.  His disposition was sweet toward people.  When I went out in the early morning to feed them before I, myself,  had breakfasted, or washed, or brushed my teeth, Churchill was all kisses when I showed up with flakes of alfalfa hay.  I certainly didn't have to dress for daddy.

Since then,  I have had a number of rams.  But now I have rules.  They must have gorgeous fleeces, have sweet tempers, never charge me, have a minimal impact on fencing, and not break into my orchard or rose garden.

And if I get one that breaks the rules?

Let's hope he's penetent.

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