Out of the frying pan, into the fire 😬

As we’ve spent more time here on the ranch, we are starting to learn our animal’s behavior. We are learning which livestock we really enjoy (sheep), which we don’t care for (goats), and which animals provide food for us (chickens-eggs only, not meat!). That being said, we were not prepared for a fully grown, male ram sheep to go into rut. We had heard stories of males ramming through gates, jumping fences and injuring themselves just to get to a female in heat. We had Dodger for months by this point, and never seen any of this behavior so we figured it wasn’t something we needed to worry about. I know… naïve, indeed.

The beginning of October, we started noticing that Dodger was getting increasingly aggressive to the other sheep. At first, it was just during feeding. Then, it started happening more frequently. We decided we needed to separate him from the herd for their safety.

We moved Dodger to his own section of the back pasture. He had just under an acre all to himself, but could still see the other sheep through the fence. That lasted about two days until he rammed through our gate to get back with the other sheep. He completely bent the gate in half.

We had to move him to a smaller corral. We hoped we could keep him in there for only a week or so before he was out of rut. When Josh’s Dad and Debbie were here, Josh and Debbie went out to his corral to feed him and he tried to escape and rammed into Debbie’s hip. That was kind of the last straw for us. Once an animal hurts another on this ranch, they don’t get to stay. Josh started reaching out to see if someone wanted to trade him for a female ewe.

It only took a few days before we found someone who was interested. There was a man in Corpus who had several other Black Hawaiian rams and only one female. He wanted to focus only on the males and was willing to trade her. He told us there was a chance she is pregnant, but wasn’t sure. We agreed to the trade. We named her ‘Pickles’, as she got us out of a pickle with Dodger 😊

Pickles is a very pretty sheep. She has short hair like a deer and the most beautiful coloring. We think she is a Muflon sheep. We moved her in with Sadee and Jemima. She was so very skittish around us and Frostee. We worked very hard over the next few weeks to gain her trust. It was a joyous day when she took a treat from my hand for the first time! As time moved on, it became apparent that she was pregnant. We worried that the baby might not make it. Moving animals to a new ranch is not only stressful for the animal, but it exposes them to new parasites and bacteria that they are not used to. We vaccinated her right away, but we prepared ourselves for the pregnancy to not end well.

She had only been here about a month when she gave birth. Early one morning, we looked out and saw a little tiny lamb walking around the birthing area ❤. We ran out to make sure everyone was okay. There was one lamb who didn’t make it, but one who was very much alive and thriving! She was the cutest lamb I had ever seen! She had a little overbite, and a tiny, round head. She was much smaller than Jemima had been, probably because Pickles had been carrying two.

Pickles was a wonderful Mother! She already had her baby cleaned up when we got there, and was encouraging her to nurse right away. We were so happy. After the first 72 hours passed, we decided to name her Gherkins, a small Pickle 😁

Gherkins quickly made her way into our hearts. She is unlike any of our other animals. She is so beautiful and cute! And her baaaa, it will melt your heart. Once she hit the 12 week mark, it was time to wean her. We brought Jemima back in with her, and moved Pickles back to the pasture. Jemima and Gherkins are best friends. We decided that would be the last time we have a pregnant ewe for a very long time! Stay tuned to see how long that vow lasted…

Jemima and Gherkins

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