January 17, 2012

Why Junior Scares Me

Junior is the nicest ram ever! He is a mix of Tunis, Suffolk and Katadhin and he loves to be loved. When people go on walks they all stop to say 'hi' to Junior and he will coming running from the furthest end of the pasture if he sees he has visitors. Sometimes when we give Junior oats, if he is feeling particularly lonely, he will skip devouring the feed and opt for pets instead.

This is all well and good as long as there is a fence separating you from Junior. But if you go on the other side of the fence, it is a totally different story.

Rams don't come by there name accidentally. They actually do ram, hard. When we first got Junior he came with is brother Buddy. As they started growing up and going through sheep puberty they started a game of back up and ram each other as hard as is possible. After coming home one day to both bloody we decided it was time to choose one ram for keeps and one to eat. Junior had a better temperament, so we kept him.

Without his playmate, Junior has to invent other things to ram the hell out of. We learn the hard way that if the hay trough isn't secure you'll find it broken to a few dozen pieces and laying in the middle of the pasture. Sometimes he gets so desperate he'll be out there attacking the vine maple. So you can imagine that if anything as big and interactive as a person goes in with him, you become the play thing.

One afternoon there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find Lola, our neighbor, standing there with her arm in a cast. "What happened?!" I blurted out. She said "Well, I'm embarrassed to say because I know better, but I have to tell you." Ok, that's a weird intro to a story. Here's what followed ...

"The neighbors on the other side of Junior's pasture - Ryan's aunt and uncle - hired a landscaper to come trim their laurel bushes along the fence. Lots of the branches fell into Junior's side. They thought of going in to get the branches, but decided not to because of Junior. They came to ask you if you could move him but you weren't home so they asked me. I said sure. I could just move him through the gate onto our upper pasture." Long pause while I shook my head. "So I grabbed a scoop of oats to entice him and opened the gate to our pasture. Well, he charged. The oats went flying and knocking me over. As I got up he charged again hitting my arm. At that point I ran backwards and slammed the gate before anymore damage could be done. I told the landscapers to leave the branches and you'd take care of them when you got home. Then I asked Eric (her husband) to drive me to the hospital."

"I'm so sorry Lola!" Was all I could think to say. "No, it's not your fault. I feel so stupid. I know better than to go in with a ram. I shouldn't have even tried it. I should have just told them to leave the branches."

Since that day I only going in with Junior when Jeremy has grabbed him around the neck and I can halter him and chain him to the fence post to do work. Even then, Junior has almost crushed my hand by pinching it between his jam and the fence.

Moral of the story - rams are called rams for a reason and you'd do well to give them space to do what they will do, lest you end up with a broken arm and bruised pride.

No comments: