I had definitely put some pressure on the rams, Channing Tatum and Maurice Chevalier, to get their work done in half the normal time I allow.
So how did Channing Tatum do with his 29 opportunities? A picture is worth, well, 29 words.
Maurice on the other hand....
With my shortened breeding season, brought about by the news that my red-headed daughter is expecting a human lamb during lambing season I had frankly hoped for more from this rookie ram. Maurice did not show interest in getting on with the job 2 weeks into the 3 weeks allowed for work. Was it the ram or the ewes? Almost everyone involved was new to the adventure.
I choose mates based on careful review of geneology of the ewes each season. Maurice's ewe choices resulted in a most of them being young ladies that have never had such a relationship as I was proposing take place. A ewe needs to feel the time is right or she does not put off the hormonal vibes to say "come hither" to a ram. So maybe the ewes did not read the agenda I had made for their fall 2018. Maybe Maurice was just a bit shy.
Regardless, here I was, heading into the third week of my allowed breeding season. Channing Tatum was finishing up his work and Maurice had not started. What was a Shepherd to do? Did I have to give up on Maurice for this season, forgoing that gorgeous Iles de France fleece and nice looking loins in 2019 lambs? I considered calling up to the major leagues, BB King, the baby ram who is supposed to stay in maturing mode this season. Everytime I went in the barn during those 3 weeks that BB King was kept with the remaining 2018 ram lambs, BB King was quite vocal about telling me that he would be happy to give it a go. He, however, was not my first choice to match with these 7 ewes.
Finally, one evening when the small group came into the barn for their nightly protection from coyotes, there was a large red dot on the back of one of the ewes.
That seemed to be all it took. Each day for the next few days Maurice's red dot inventory grew until all but the experienced, and very tall, beautifully fleeced Blue Leicester ewe were sporting this fall fashion of dots.
I had wanted to match the two lovely fleeces: Iles de France and Blue Leicester because I do have a few folks pining for lovely wool for spinning and this match could definitely deliver. But, the day came when I needed to remove the rams or risk the possibility of having to say to my daughter in spring 2019, "Gee honey, I would like to come sit in the waiting room while you deliver however I have to deliver some lambs first."
I did invite Channing Tatum for a one day date with that lovely fleeced, tall, Blue Leicester ewe however she did not find Channing Tatum attractive either, so, I guess we'll wait 'til later for the fleece match made in heaven to happen.
Even this Shepherd knows her place... that she has to be available mid-May for a human baby spring 2019. So, one late November evening, 3 weeks short of the usual breeding season, I fluffed up some straw, drew some clean water, added a new block of minerals and vitamins to a stall at the end of the barn far away from ewes. Channing Tatum and Maurice Chevalier willingly said good-bye to their ewes and trit-trotted off to rejoin BB King in the Ram Pad.
Do you see the look of accomplishment on Maurice Chevalier's face?
Now we play the waiting game to see how Channing and Maurice did working under pressure. First due date is March 30, 2019.