Monday, November 03, 2008

"How do you solve a problem like Maria?"

"Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand
Oh, how do you solve a problem like . . .BUTTER?!?

Yesterday morning during chores, I put the breeding group in their lot, Braveheart in his, and went back to lead Butter and Browning to theirs. There Butter was, standing in the main fold, with Browning still in their shared pen! Since there is no gate between the lamb pen and the main fold (I have to lead them through Braveheart's area and down the feeding aisle), the only way she could have gotten there was to jump the 4' chain link kennel panel that separates their pen from the main fold. It immediately occurred to me that if she could do it once, she could do it again when the breeding group - including Franjean - was IN the fold. She is not in the breeding group now by intent (even though I think the cross with Franjean could produce magic); I don't need that many lambs next spring and I don't think babies should have babies! I don't think she did it because she's in heat; I figured she just wanted to follow the other girls out to pasture and get away from Browning, who is still beating up on her. But IF she should take matters into her pretty little hooves and end up getting bred by Franjean, well, I'd still love her and accept any resulting lambs. :-)

This morning as I headed to the barn, I heard banging in the usually quiet sheep quarters. Hurrying there first, I saw Butter in with BRAVEHEART, both of them racing in circles, one the pursuer, one the pursued! Worried more about an unplanned breeding than the behavior of a frustrated ram, I dashed in, opened the gate, and shoved Butter back in with Browning. If there is going to be an unplanned pregnancy, I would prefer the father to be Franjean; Braveheart will get many opportunities in coming years!

By the time I got back from putting the breeding group in their lot, Butter was in with Braveheart AGAIN. As frightened as she seemed to be by his amorous pursuit both times, I can't imagine why she did it TWICE, but I'm going to have to figure out some way to keep it from happening again. If I don't, I might as well put her in Franjean's breeding group. She will, after all, be a year old in February. The idea IS tempting. But if she lambs in five months, I would have to have any offspring DNA-tested to see who the sire is - unless a gulmoget pops out. Oh dear, what to do with this little beauty?
That's it for now from . . .

11 comments:

Tammy said...

Yikes...it sounds like she is going to be determined to 'expose' herself. Unless you can come up with some much higher panels, it might be better to toss her in to the ram of your choice! This year I've held out about half the flock (all mature ewes who've lambed before) from the ram and it has been chaos. Blue (the merino) is about ready to keel over from a heart attack, from pacing the fence, the in season girls mercilessly torment the rams and Rain even attacked the fence to try and get in with Sprat. Geez... plus the screeching and yelling all night long. Can you be any more obvious, girls???
Tammy

Nancy K. said...

..."How do you hold a Moonbeam in your hand?"

;-)

It sounds like you've got one!

Garrett808 said...

wow. I'm glad I didn't get that fence jumper! HA HA

But if she WOULD lamb...and it was precious..I may be inclined to get it........

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

After a phone consultation with my dear friend and mentor Lois, we came up with a solution to the problem -- and the problem isn't Butter! When I'm moving sheep in and out is when Browning really starts ramming Butter, and we both think she is just trying to escape the battering. Since Inky has a history of settling fast and I've seen her bred by Franjean, I put Inky in with Butter, and the wether went into the breeding group. When I left the sheepfold tonight, Butter and Inky were peacefully eating, and Browning was getting chased round and round by an amorous Franjean. Serves the little bully right! BUT. If Butter jumps the fence one more time, she's going in Franjean's breeding group, and I'll deal with paternity issues if I have to.

Kathleen said...

Wow, I never thought of sheep as jumpers before. Goats, yes, but sheep have always been round, fuzzy ground dwellers in my mind. It's amazing to me that Butter would have jumped rather than defended herself. I suppose that's what happens when youre the new kid and at the bottom of the totem pole.

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Its possible she is trying to get away, but this time of year, someone is telling them its time to... well do something! Sorry to say, I have culled every jumper I've ever had. Can't afford to replace the fencing.

Jenny Holden said...

My Rebecca is a jumper. She drives me mad because she is the hardest to pen and once in will simply leap the hurdles to get out again if you're not very quick... she'd better produce some cracking lambs... or else!

Kathy said...

Tammy said it all! ;)

I vote for the name"Boulderneigh Houdini" for the ram lamb she may have. ROFLMAO!!!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

But Kathy, it HAS to be a "B" name! Boudini, perhaps? Those in the know would get it. :-)

So what are you all saying? Should I go ahead and breed her? If I do, some of you better be lined up to buy lambs come next summer!!!

Franna said...

...and I found one of the Gotland/Finnsheep in the Scottish Blackface breeding pen! No fences were skewed, no holes, and there are a barn wall and at least 2 fences between the groups. Plus she still had her sponge in. I didn't figure it out, and they've been moved to the holding pen ready for AI tomorrow!
- Franna
(put her in with Franjean ;-)

susan said...

I vote for putting her with franjean.
My Elora, Franjeans triplet sister is being bred by a ram very closely related to Butter. Unicorn I call him because he only has one horn. His sire is the same as butter and his mother is a half sister to butter(out of the same ewe). I'm crossing my fingers for polled gulmogets.

Hopefully she gives me a single or twins instead of triplets like her mom. Elora and Franjeans mother has given triplets two years in a row I think.

I'm just about ready to take the ram out for the year at my place. I don't like to have lambs later than mid-april if I can help it.

-Susan