Last weekend I was in NC for the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival and Lynn from Rare Find Farms met me there with a ram for me to borrow for the season.
After the show I loaded up my car with left over yarn, booth supplies and a dog crate full of sheep! Imp, worn out from the weekend at the show, munched his hay contentedly for the 6 hour drive home. Once we got home he was a perfect gentleman and jumped right out of the car and happily walked across the yard on his leash.
We discovered that introducing a ram to the flock is much different than introducing a new ewe or wether. While they were very hesitant about Jeb, the girls welcomed Imp with enthusiasm! Even though none of the girls are in heat right now (they are only actually in heat for one day in a 17 day cycle), they still recognize that Imp is a ram and that its breeding season.
Jeb wasn’t as welcoming as the girls. He only saw Imp as a stranger and an intruder, not as a love interest. Thankfully Jeb is still small and his rams don’t carry much force, so for the most part Imp just ignored his complaints. A few times, Imp has even seemed to think that Jeb was one of the girls until a quick check showed him otherwise!
So far Imp has been with us for four days and while he is very interested in getting to work, none of the girls have gone into heat yet. We’ll know when they are in heat because they will show more interest in Imp, go off with him alone apart from the flock, and allow him to mount them. So far they won’t stand still for mounting but tolerate his butt sniffing, belly nibbling and ear licking.
The girls should go into heat aprox every 17 day; since we are keeping Imp until we go back to NC for Christmas they will be exposed to the ram for 3-4 cycles. This should guarantee that they will all get pregnant this time. This is Imp’s second year being used as a breeding ram so even though he is young, he has proven that he knows what to do!
Now we just wait and watch for signs that the girls are going into heat. I will try to make note of when they go into heat. If they do not go into heat about 17 days later I’ll know that they are pregnant. If they do go into heat again then thankfully they will have another chance (or two) for it to take!