Saturday, 25 September 2010

Rampant Roger and pal Romeo

Today has been one of those days. Lots of things going right, lots of things going wrong.
Last night, Roger, he of the escapee tendencies, decided even earlier than before that it was high time he be let at the girls. He was thrumming with testosterone, even if the ewes weren't yet in heat. The musty pong at the gate of his field was overpowering and I could smell potent ram on my hands even though I hadn't touched him.
So I wasn't entirely surprised when I opened the front door for some long forgotten reason or other and blinked as Roger tippytoed in excitement across the yard. How the hell had he got out of his field? The gate is practically deer-proof height. He headed for his old ram's paddock, now inhabited by Dahlia and her piglets and stamped in confusion as the sow grunted deeply and then ignored him.
We got him back into his field and he appeared to settle, but by morning he'd gone and joined the mule ewes a couple of fields away, having grown wings or something overnight. Pegasus should have been his name by rights. Four of us herded the flock together, he was caught and stuffed into a trailer and taken up to the barn. There we shoved him into a pen and using hurdles vertically, created a holding area more like a lion's circus cage than anything else. With the pig's weigh crate acting as ballast he was imprisoned for sure.
Behind the barn in the small paddock used to quarantine incoming livestock, is Romeo, the dashing new black Torwen ram, bought from the National Ram Sales in Builth Wells on Monday. Quarantined, and also kept separate from Roger to make sure they don't injure or kill each other just before they become essential to our livelihood. Sorted, I thought.
A couple of hours later I can hear banging from the barn; one or other of the rams is belting seven bells out of the metal gate, so I go up to check. There in the paddock is Roger, where once was Romeo. And safe inside the barn in the lion's cage is Romeo, where once was Roger. Either they have swapped skins or magic has been at work.
I'm stunned. It takes me five minutes to work out what has happened. Roger had pushed the weigh crate and hurdles til he could get at the gate, buggered the tin and skipped through what is a pretty small gap for a rather large ram. And then the new black chap had done the reverse. I go and get the OH to discuss what to do next, and when we get back up there, both rams are now outside munching grass. Next thing, Roger sees us, bounds towards us through the hole in the gate and goes back into the lion’s cage. We strengthen the pen, fix the gate, and they are, for the moment, back in the right places.
In the morning we'll pen them in tightly together whilst we bring in all the ewes and decide who's staying for breeding and what's off to market, but I really don't want to put the rams with the ewes for another three weeks or we'll be lambing in bloody February! No spring grass, freezing nights, snow more than likely and all together a crappy idea. If Roger's still in his lion's cage in the morning I'll try and take a snap, but for now here's a not very good image of what is a rather handsome Romeo.