Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Off to Work

We bring our sheep in off the pasture every night.  We have sufficient floor space for them to spread out and be comfortable between the actual barn, the concrete barn yard and the long feed bunk where we used to feed the dairy cattle.  They are happy with this routine and come inside at the proper time even if we're late for evening chores.  I'm sure they consider themselves civilized individuals who sleep 'in the house' at night, not outside like livestock. 

Every morning when we turn them out they trudge out in a business-like manner and get down to the work of grazing.  I always think of the LooneyTunes cartoon dog Ralph and the coyote carrying lunchpails and clocking in and out in the mornings.

I'm sure there are some older sheep who are the actual leaders of the flock but in the mornings the lambs usually get out front and lead the way.

Some sheep head to the north side of the pasture and some veer off to the south.  A few head straight out and go over the bank.
In just a very few minutes they've all dispersed.

What looks like a pale lake between the hills is actually moring fog lying down in the valley.  I'm awfully glad I live on a hill where we usually start the day with some degree of sunshine instead of cold dampness.

After letting the girls out we go up behind the house and yard to let the rams and ram lambs out of the 'bachelor pad'.  They also are brought into the barn for the night although they do have a larger fenced outside area to hang out in than the ewe flock.  In wet weather they come sleep inside but if it's a dry night and especially if it's warm they like to sleep outside.  This time of year they spend a lot of time testing each other, pushing, posturing, growling and grunting.  If someone didn't know what the noise was it would be pretty unsettling to hear coming from the backyard at night.

Again, it's the younger animals who lead the way.  All that peppy youthful energy......

The faded brown lamb in the middle with the letter "A" on his face is Brick.  I really like the way he's growing and his fleece and temper are great so he will be staying here.

BB has grown into a nice sized ram and is still super sweet and loves attention.  Although I have no plans to use him as a breeding ram there was no reason to have him castrated since the boys are housed securely away from the girls.  Of course you should never trust a ram completely but our guys are about as close to fool proof as one can get.

This Cotswold lamb was very suspicious of me walking along the fenceline where he doesn't usually see people.

Then it was off to the farther corners of their pasture to graze under a warm autumn sun.

Have a good day!


  1. You keep your rams together even the older ones? So I guess they don't go at each other unless there are some ewes nearby?

    I only ask cause I have never had our two rams together and never left any male lambs uncut. I always thought they would hurt each other.

    1. We have a band of 12 rams and they have a pecking order which is tested occasionally mostly by the younger adults. The ram lambs tussle among themselves but the big guys never bother them - they know there is no real challenge there. Right after breeding season we have to tightly confine all the adult rams so they can re-establish their status without doing each other serious harm but they quiet down in a few days without any ewes around. For 90% of the year they all live comfortably together.

  2. Oh, that was wonderful. Kind of like Wisconsin, but with sheep instead of cows. Love the shagginess of them -- which I am sure just looks like work, when you know what you're looking at. I've never really known any sheep...

    Loved the reference to the cartoon dog.

    "Morning, Ralph."
    "Morning, Sam."


    Greetings from Minneapolis!


  3. Pastures are beautiful, and love the fall colors starting to show, I have a little brown mutt (1/4 Border Collie, 3/4Heinz) that sits out in the pastures with the sheep,and just stares off in the distance, reminds me of Ralph