Today I drove down to All One Farm outside of Elizabethtown, KY to pick up Lincoln. Lincoln is the stud ram that we are using to breed Elizabeth, Etta and Francine this year. He is black, 5 years old and registered as Nuss Rivers Lincoln. Alan and Luna showed me around the farm and their beautiful, old farm house. I got to say hi to their ewes and their other ram- Hansel- and see Luna’s fiber studio where she prepares her fleeces for spinning or selling at her shop Blue Mountain Spindle and Needlework.
It started raining on my drive to the farm and rained the whole time we were wandering around the farm and getting Lincoln loaded into my car with the result being that we were both pretty damp by the time we headed home. I’m not sure my car will ever recover from having a damp ram in it- with the heat on- for 2.5 hours! Speaking of my car, remember how I transported the girls in dog crates in the back of my car when we brought them to KY from NC? The same trick works for rams. Lincoln didn’t seem too bothered by the accommodations except for when I went around curves or had to stop quickly. Then, it sounded like I had a caged monster in the back of my car as he tried to burst out of the crate!
I got lost, as usual, on my way home but we eventually found our way back and unloaded. Thankfully I can drive into our pasture so unloading was a breeze. I’m not sure what I expected to happen once Lincoln was free but I warned Chris to stay far away in case he was angry about being stolen away from his home. He didn’t seem too upset; after nibbling a sample of grass he wandered off to explore the new tastes and smells. The girls didn’t seem to know what to do with him. While we were in the pasture they stayed near to us but not too close to the strange creature we had brought with us. Once we left they quickly headed to the back of the pasture and the relative safety of the oncoming night.
Several hours later I grabbed a flashlight and went to check on our guest. He met me at the fence, pushing gently against the wire for some attention. He let me know how pleased he was to be visiting by sniffing at the air and curling his lips back– called the “flehmen response” this is a sign that the ram is very interested in the nearby ewes. Unfortunately the ewes need a bit more time to warm up to him. At the back of the pasture my flashlight caught the glint of 3 sets of eyes. It isn’t surprising the the girls are keeping their distance right now. Female sheep go into heat about every 17days and are only in heat for about 24hrs. They often don’t exhibit any signs that they are in heat unless there is a ram present, so I haven’t been able to track their cycles and don’t know when they will next go into heat. Hopefully it’ll be soon so that poor Lincoln doesn’t have to wait too long!
During Lincoln’s visit Ivy, the goat, is being kept separate from her friends. We are not breeding Ivy this year because she is still fairly young and we feel it will be healthier for her to be a year older before getting pregnant for the first time. Sheep and goats can mate, though the pregnancy often isn’t a success and the resulting offspring, if it survives, is a strange, sterile creature called a Geep. We don’t want to risk Ivy’s health or life by having her accidentally bred by Lincoln so we are keeping her separated. She doesn’t like being away from her “sisters” but thankfully she has been reunited with her good friend in the mirror and when I last checked she was curled up beside the mirror sleeping- just like when she was weanling.
p.s. You may notice in the photos that one of Lincoln’s horns is damaged. It was broken off in a head butting competition with his son, Hansel, whom he lives with at All One Farm.
p.p.s Sorry about the terrible photos. By the time I got home and unloaded it was dark out and the only light in the photos is from the camera flash. These are actually the best that I got, most of them looked more like this.