She’s had her nails done, and now she wants a man. Sorry, a ram. Yes, it’s finally time to take the plunge from animal husbandry to finding our animals a husband. I’m aware the move from just keeping and killing, to breeding animals is a big step (and you can read Tim Tyne’s excellent article on the subject here). That’s why it’s taken us 2 years of careful deliberating to get to this point.
When the sheep arrived, they comprised 2 ewes and three lambs. We killed two of the lambs once they got to about 20 months old – reckoning it was worth the wait for the deeper flavour of hogget. The third lamb turned into a lovely sheep so she gets to stay in the flock. So, that’s three girls looking for love.
Last year we left it too late to find a willing ram that’s wasn’t busy doing a proper job for a professional farmer. Time is running out again, unless we want to be lambing in mid-summer, (we don’t), and my enquiries at butchers’ shops and village gatherings have proved fruitless so far. Today a friend produced a phone number to try; initial enquiries seem positive, so fingers crossed we’ll be able to sort something out.
At least the delay has given me time to do a lambing course at the local vets . This was quite useful but my lasting memory is of an afternoon pulling dead baby goats through a sheep’s pelvis wedged in a barrel. My takeaway learning was that if things get hairy, it’s probably best to call a vet. At which point we can stop being so smug about how cost-effective it is to grow our own meat. Next step: start making friends with local vets.