Off to the National Ram Sale on Monday to buy a ram (obviously), but also some ewes.
The aptly named Toyboy is now too closely related to the breeding flock so has gone off to bonk his way across Exmoor leaving me to head to Wales on the hunt for his replacement.
Those auction palpitations never fail to get you. The females aren't so much of a problem as you can buy as many or as few as you have room for in the trailer, so an extra one here or there doesn't matter. But a ram? I only want one Torddu ram, and there are several possibilities in the various pens, so when do I bid, and when not? I can't afford NOT to come home with one as it'll mean yet more expensive traipsing around the country, what with the majority being in Wales and very few if any in Devon, but I can't come home with two. That really puts the pressure on. I mark my catalogue with those I don't want - too fat (loads of them are wobbly with fat rather than muscle and I want a working not a show ram), too young (I need a proven sire), too ugly (personal bias), problematic horns and so on. I bid for one that comes before my preferred choice but the auctioneer doesn't see me wave my catalogue even though I am sat right in front of him and by now have had several sheep knocked down to me, so I am a real bidder, parting with genuine dosh. Ah well. My fave then comes into the ring and I get all excited - he is a really big chap, sound, strong, muscular, great horns, with a fabulously endowed set of bollocks. Just what I need. No. Rewind. Just what my ewes need.
Just a couple of other bidders are interested as they are mostly showing folk at this Badger Face Society annual show and sale, and he has the attributes of a worker. He's knocked down to me at a decent price.
Wormed and vaccinated he is now in the ram's paddock, looking a little lost, stamping his feet, snorting through his nostrils, every ounce trembling with testosterone. If he breathed fire I wouldn't be surprised, so I'm not going to introduce him to Samson until tupping is finished. If the two rams get into a fight and something happens, that's zero lamb next year.