Grooping Sheep

It was one of those days that is supposed to be rather benign and boring, simply move two rams from out of the upper pasture, to a separate lower pasture since the days are getting shorter and colder, and the the ewes are entering breeding season. I don't want lambs on the ground again in February you know...

So my plan was simple, encircle the flock with electronet since I have neither a herding dog nor a chute on the upper pasture, put a bridle around the rams and lead them home. Needless to say, that plan failed miserably since I could not get the fence moved, and held in place to get the sheep to crowd up so they could no longer have enough room to jump.

So my next try was much more traditional; get a bucket of grain and entice the sheep. This worked, except they had decided to huddle in a big thicket in the middle of this upper pasture. So I went in and got the sheep close to me, but then I had a huge problem...with their noses facing me, how was I to determine which sheep was the ram??? I knew it had a red ear tag, but hey so did most of my flock. I am sure it looked pretty funny at this point, me holding the grain out by their noses, while I reached under them to grab their male/female parts to determine which sheep was the ram. Naturally it required me to fondle about 8 sheep before I found the ram which did make me slightly did it the ram.

With Ram found, and a forever mental note that he is #63 so I NEVER have to do said sheep fondling again, I proceeded to get the halter around him as he lunched on grain. And then the fun began.

The plan was to take him the 1/4 mile to the next pasture on halter at a leisurely walk down the country lane. What the heck was I thinking? After about 50 feet of tugging, being rammed, bucking and a lot of "great oaths" towards this darned sheep, and even more promises of meeting the big Shepard in the sky, and the most definitely the slaughterhouse, I was completely worn out. It took me several more tries and a half hour of work to get him to the pasture gate...a distance of 300 feet.

Now I had come to far to give up, and way too far to go to consider taking him to the next pasture by halter, so spying my vehicle I knew that was the answer. Somehow I held him, got the gate unlatched and re-latched and close to the vehicle.

Now my vehicle is a Ford Focus and this is a 200 pound Coradale Ram, so you have to sort of picture all this with perspective. Naturally he did not want to go inside the backseat of the car, so this required me to force him. After ten minutes of struggling, 3 near escapes, and some slips near his docked tail, he collapsed with me on top of him.

Then the mail lady came by delivering the mail.

So here I am sitting on top of this sheep, car door open, me panting like a steam locomotive, in what looks like the most compromising of positions. She stops and asks what is happening so I tell her that I am just completely exhausted almost to the point of puking. Yeah I was that exhausted. Anyway off she goes down the road, but its a dead end road so I know in 15 minutes she will be back. Not wanting to be caught in that position again, I know I must get the sheep in the back seat.

It takes pushing, prodding and finally me folding his front feet into the backseat and pushing him to get him inside. I slam the door shut just in time to watch the ram let loose with high protein poo, which for those of you without livestock, is very runny poo to say the least...yep covering the inside of my door...and thanks to the lovely clover on this pasture...its bright green to boot. Yeah I can't wait to clean that up!!

So down over the hill we go, a 200 pound ram taking all of the backseat and grunting out this nasty sounding baa. Anyone with sheep has heard it, not a happy baa sound, but that deep, baa that comes from the pit of their rumens and straight from hades of the sheep itself.

Finally I drove into the paddock area of the pasture I wanted him to be separated into, and open the back door and out he comes with a leap. For some reason he did not want to be there. (LOL)

So now it is Tuesday morning after a long vacation weekend and I will head into work and someone will inevitably ask me what I did over the weekend and I will simply say, "oh I moved my rams to a new pasture", them not having any idea what that entailed! (LOL)
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Bart Leetch

Clinton, Washington on Whidbey Island
About 48 years ago my Dad broke to calves to lead at the same time.

Dad had this homemade 4 cylinder tractor with 2 transmissions & with both transmissions in reverse it gave you very very slow speed just creaping along very very slow. So these very stubborn calves were tied to the back of the tractor & the steering wheel tied to go straight & set in motion. There the calves were with their front feet planted siding along on the took less than 1/2 hour & they were just following along behind the tractor then he untied them & lead them around & practiced leading them around several times a day for both Saturday & Sunday.
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Drew Watson

Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
Oh Travis I am sure that people in your area all know what to expect from you by now and you probably made the mail ladies day with that spectical. You would fit right in on Salt Spring Island. Sheep are a big thing there enough that the local general store owner in Fulford harbour has his own logo for fuel. Here is a pic.


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Brent Dowell

Staff member
Reno NV
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Frank Fusco

Mountain Home, Arkansas
Bart, most of my breaking was done by tieing to a tree and dragging around by hand. I have done it with calves up to mature cattle. How I survived is a mystery. Never an injury worth noting. Now living a soft life stuff starts going bad.