Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Maximum security

Today's main objective was the second attempt at separating our Merino ram, Wilberforce, from his new harem. Poor chap had just begun to get to know them. In the ramly manner this occurs after the intimate relations, not as a prelude. Three weeks after his move to our place he'd begun to get comfortable, to know who was whom and to mingle with the flock at all times, not just feeding time.

Then we stole them all away. This was no mean feat and involved a tactical plan mapped out and repeated to ensure it covered all contingencies. Stage one involved separating Wil into the raceway adjacent the home paddock serving as the ewe's current residence. This is usually done by bribing everyone with food into the raceway then closing in on the sheep with a portable fence made by each of us wielding a hurdle - sometimes even as a team. Then in the resultant confined space we can grab the required sheep and shunt them back through the drafting gate  where they are directed to the appropriate paddock, yard or enclosure. This needs to be conducted in the correct order as the remainder of the sheep then have to go to whatever other paddock, yard or enclosure they have been allocated. If you're not careful you can snooker yourself. Sheep in the wrong place or the right place too early can block other sheep from moving to their allocated position and so on.

From the raceway we got Wil to the Pine paddock where Gimli and Elrond were wildly excited to see him. They met him a few days ago before he left them to get back to the ladies. Their greeting him like a long lost friend now was met with indifference but at least he didn't try to jump back.

Then all the other sheep and the two alpacas along for the ride were put back into the home paddock by way of simply breaking the temporary hurdle fence and getting it out of the way stat before they injured themselves on it trying to rush past in a frenzy to get to the very exciting new place being the paddock they were in five minutes before.

The raceway now empty and acting as a buffer zone should anyone try showjumping over their respective fences, the separation of the sexes was completed. Then we simply bribed the ram and pet wethers into what was formerly known as the lamb yard - now to become the ram yard - with sheep nuts. Their favourite! Well, Gimli and Elrond were bribed, Wilberforce followed them for moral support.

Everybody else looked on from the hills above, yelling encouragement. Or yelling for their own sheep nuts. Difficult to tell which.