Keeping up with the Badger faced sheep that is. Toy-boy the tup has had his fill, or at least I have dictated that he has. He is young, this is his first time as sole ram, and he is feisty. In his exuberance he has rammed the side of the field shelter and broken several planks, and has now taken to slamming his head against the hay feeder. In this state of tormented testosterone he needs to be removed before he starts to butt the ewes he has so keenly impregnated in case he triggers an abortion.
He has had his annual couple of months with the girls and will now sulk for the next ten in splendid isolation. His paddock gives him views of all the comings and goings in the yard, the dogs go up to his gate and strut their freedom and visitors stop and admire him.
All the ewes were brought into the barn for a good once-over before being sent back out into the fields. One was hopping on three legs after having been fine the day before. Not able to turn over a pregnant ewe without causing potential harm, I picked up her foot as if she was a horse. It was clean, if slightly warmer than it should be. It seemed fine until I poke my fingers a little higher. A twig the width of a pencil and a good two inches long was wedged high in the claw. I removed the twig, sprayed her foot to deal with any minor infection and there she was, a four legged beast once more.
Lambing doesn't start until the very end of March, but the countdown begins now, with fresh hay every day, the feeding of concentrates starting mid February and generally hanging over the gate to observe for longer periods and being more alert than usual to coughs, sneezes and odd behaviour.