Jonathan: This morning, getting ‘Fossy-Scotty and the Three Little Maids’ (as Denise has christened them!) on to proper grazing was top priority. Last night I’d let the three ewes out of the back section of the trailer and put them in a holding pen. Sometime during the night they’d upset the big rubber tubs of feed and water, and what with overnight rain the pen was a bit of a mess. I checked them over, trimmed their feet, dosed them against worms and ticks and let them out into Near Park – which has been resting for a few weeks and has grown green and lush.
Fossy-Scotty had spent the night in the comfort of the trailer – with the divider removed, a layer of fresh straw put down, and with food and water ad lib. He was lying down and looking very pleased with himself. I think he was expecting to stay in there all day, as he was reluctant to come out – but showed a bit more interest when I tempted him with some sheep nuts! I led him up to the gate into Home Park, and by now ‘our boys’ (the six rams and wedders from last year) were lined up at the gate eager to meet the newcomer. Noses were pushed through the bars from either side, and it looked so promising that I opened the side gate and led Scott through.
I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures for you of what happened next, as the values of this website are such that we don’t do depictions of violence. However what I can tell you is that what I saw has led me to believe that the modern word ‘ram’ could just possibly be an truncation of an earlier form ‘battering ram’.
I reluctantly accepted that they would have to go through a period of challenging and defending, and left them to it, hoping that the hierarchy could be sorted out without loss of life! But when Denise and I returned a few hours later to check the newcomers were okay, we found … well we found it necessary to remove Scott – immediately – from Home Park. The problem was – where to put him? He couldn’t be left on his own, and right now we had only two fields that were fully fenced and secure, and the other was already occupied by the Three Little Maids!
After discussion, Denise and I agreed we couldn’t put Scott up on the common grazings with the others – he’d simply wander off and cause havoc, so he’d simply have to go in with the Three Little Maids …
My answer to the obvious problem with that was to start preparing a strong soft rope to hobble him: tie together diagonally opposite legs such that he could walk and run, but not jump a fence, and above all not get overly intimate with the girls! Denise took a different view entirely. We’d probably get lambs in February, which is two months earlier than usual, and a cold wet and windy month, with March not much better. But, with the ewes in milk and feeding lambs, they could safely share Home Park with this year’s ram lambs, and would have the benefit of the old shed – which this winter past we started using as a ‘field shelter’ One way or another we’d manage.
Well, that’s Fossy-Scotty in with the Three Little Maids! Problem solved, or problem deferred? We’ll find out in due course!
Back to the croft this evening to check up on Fossy-Scotty. His left eye now looks normal, and the blood on his ear has dried up. He looks chirpy, taking feed from the hand, and the Three Little Maids seem quite happy to have his company. All’s well that ends well?