February 6, 2011

Chasing Tail

Yesterday was a good day for Junior. We put the ladies with him for some baby-making.

The timing of breeding is based on when we want to have lambs born. We learned the first year that having lambs born in the rain is a bad, bad thing. We decided that from then on lambs should be born in June, then the grass is growing, the days are warm(er) and the chance of rain is much lower. Since the gestation time for a sheep is 5 months that means February is a happy month for Junior.

First, Junior had to be moved over to Eric and Lola's pasture (our neighbors) so we could open the gate on the driveway where the ewes would walk through. Then we had to move the girls over. Simple, right?

Of the lambs born last year, two didn't sell. They are Juniors off-spring, which put a wrinkle in the plan. Usually we just bring Junior over to the ladies' pasture and call it good. This time we had to separate Notag and Lilly from the lambs. I went into the pasture and closed the gate so that all four were confined to the pole barn. Then Jeremy opened the gate that leads to the driveway. Notag and Lilly came right over to Jeremy (humans equal oats) but so did the lambs. Jeremy let Notag and Lilly pass then attempted to close the gate and physically block the lambs. One lamb ran by his leg and he grabbed her. The other lamb attempted to jump over Jeremy and he caught her, one handed, in mid air. I ran over, took the jumper and put her back in the pole barn at the same time Jeremy pushed the other one in. I hopped out and slammed the gate.
At this point Notag and Lilly were just milling about. Jeremy walked over to Junior's gate and they followed obediently right onto the pasture. Next Jeremy crossed the pasture and opened the gate between Eric and Lola's and our's. In came Junior.

He promptly when to Notag and gave her a good sniff. Notag was not thrilled about this and started walking away. Junior followed, still sniffing. Notag started to run and so did Junior. He chased her all around the pasture. At one point they circled a tree about 15 times. Finally both where exhausted and Junior gave up on Notag for a bit. Lilly's turn. Below is a short video of the courtship between Junior and Lilly. Don't worry, it is not graphic. Now we just wait and in a about 2 weeks both ladies should be pregnant.

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