Counting Sheep

As our long-time followers will know, getting suitable beaux for our sheep ladies has been a bit hit and miss for us.

When we set up the fledgling flock back in 2018, we were assured the five ladies we bought in to keep our lone sheep, Sapphire, company were with child thus negating the need for the immediate addition of a ram. As it turned out, three of the five of them were with something else – something that had us burying three sheep in 24 hours. Not an experience we’re keen to repeat!

Of the remaining flock, we knew (some kind of biblical-type miracle aside) Sapphire was carrying only her own weight and Froda, who was already showing her independent-thinking-woman true colours, ended up having no lamb on board either, so it was only Eleanor that delivered that year. Still, with the addition of a couple of orphan lambs (our current flockqueen Ivy being one of them), we managed to get a bit of lambage into the freeze and one big lesson well learnt: always do a bit of research of your own. To be fair, back then we wouldn’t have known what to look for, anyway.

As autumn approached the following year, we started to look around for a suitable ram to join our ladies and thus Mathias the Arapawa joined our throng. Oh he was a handsome, good tempered, sweet lad and he did as he was bid (only Sapphire eluded him) but one morning he wasn’t clamouring at the fence with the rest of the flock and timorous investigation confirmed he had succumbed to one of those unexplained overnight grim reaper visits. Thus, Neville, one of that year’s orphan lambs, was asked to step up to the plate… and he did.

For the next two years, Neville was our ram. He was reliable, determined, and funny but the time came, in the interests of clean bloodlines and unpleasant behaviour, for him to move on to greener pastures and we decided to give the whole lambing thing a rest for a year. Under Nev’s reign, the flock had grown to 14 – four more than we feel best for our paddocks – and we all agreed we needed time to reduce the flock and put a bit of research and planning into his replacement.

Of course, our plans came to naught as you will remember. The three that went into our freezer (planned to be followed by another at the beginning of winter) were replaced by three unplanned arrivals after next doors cute little Gotland ram paid a fleeting visit.

Our raggle taggle, over-indulged flock as it is today

As 1 March once again approaches, so does the question of a prospective lamb-daddy but this time we’re a bit more prepared. You see, we’ve identified a breed we were keen to integrate into the Homestead bloodlines: Corriedale. It’s a hardy dual breed and well suited to our conditions; also, the original Homestead sheep, Sapphire, was a corriedale but we never managed to convince her the blokes we provided were good enough for her.

On Tuesday we picked up the newest homesteaders;

Yep, two of them

We went with two to hedge our bets a little and also to give them company in the front paddock as they wait out their introduction to the flock on 1 March. They’re very people-shy having been raised on a proper, real-deal farm; that’s a definite bonus in rams (as we learned from Neville the bottle-raised, over familiar, don’t-turn-your-back-on-him ratbag) and one that I’m keen to continue.

They’re also currently unnamed, mainly because we haven’t had a full turn-out at the Homestead dining table since their arrival, but we’re up to F in the naming list. I’m quite keen on Frederick and Gregory; Fred and Greg sound like they’re no-nonsense blokes well up to the job.

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