Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No more Setanta

Setanta went to his new home with  in September.
He was biddable enough by then and behaved well - moving where we wanted him to go but not behaving so familiarly with us that he posed a threat (overly familiar rams can sometimes take liberties as they treat us like other rams - and that can involve head-butts !).

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 13 th - Friday!

Well nothing untoward has happened so far today :). However, formal ram training is at a standstill. Informal training i.e. the daily contack that has an effect, intended or otherwise continues as I give my littl flock a supplement of sheep kibble every day. This is easier for me with this small number than mixing grainsor saving haylege as it contains stuff that I have no information about when it comes to the grass in the fields ... selenium etc. The whole flock, including ram, is addicted to it - probably due to a suger rush - so ram arrives along with the others (yeah, he's still in with them - thaat's another story) and gets his share. So he's definitely trained to see me as a food source and has lost a lot of his timidity around me - well when surrounded by the ladies anyway.
I'm interested to see how much of this remains when he's split off from the others again and I resume "formal" training in the spring.

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 6 2012

So what next? Well the little devil got in with the rest of the flock - probably worked his way through the hedge. I was away for a couple of days, broke my routine with him and so he set his mind full time to getting in with the ewes - and figured it out. The wether was left on his own bleeting pathetically. That makes training him a little bit difficult - not that I'd have been able to much in this foul weather anyway. I suppose he may get a little less anxious around me when amidst his harum - the older ewes are very pushy and try to know me of the supplement bucket to the ground all the time - but they move in straight lines so I hust have to weave a bit while walking to shake them off or failing this, get Huddie to keep them off me.
Tow young ewes from the neighboring field got in with mide which is a pain as I wasnt a closed flock as I don't use wormers unless I see scouting - a thing I haven't see since I changed to Easycare sheep - and I'll be real p'd off if I get a present of some frug resistant worms from elsewhere. Despite phoning and going to houses etc, I've had no help to remove them. Really annoying as it would take 2 people about 10 minutes to put them back where they belong.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Progress to December 11th - not?

Day 2 showed some movement of the horny little subject towards the threat (me) and some interest in the feed - he tongued up a few pieces of of feed.
Day 3 - as day 2 - plus he has lost his fear/flight reaction to when I throw the feed towards him.

But then, day 4 - well that was December 8th - feast of the Immaculate Conception for so-called Christians - but day of no more conception for my little flock. I took ram and wether out of the field to prevent any more tupping - if not tupped by now, then hard luck ewe as I don't want a drawn out lambing next spring. But of course this was not popular with the ram- had to chase him out of the lower pasture to the upper pasture. He has stood at the gate between his field and the ewes field staring in hopefully at the ewes for the past 3 days. My appearance with the "treats" are no treat for him. He does take some from the grass where I throw it after I have departed but he's no very interested especially as the ewes congregated round the gate, driving him nuts. Fortunately he has not managed to smash the gate for the  fence.
Today, I drew the ewes well away from his position before leaving a plastic bowl with feed in for the pining ram.
Despite this, I don't think my initial efforts were were in vain. The tup attraction will fade and the food memory will not - and he will associate me with it more and more.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Training Setanta - first day

Setanta ram at 6 months

The plan is to train my young EasycareXWiltshire Horn ram, Setanta, so he will walk by me with a halter on.
He was born in April this year (2011) so hopefully he's still young enough to respond to training.
A fairly laid back fellow, he gave me no grief when I collared him to give him an oral dose of medicine (his breeder in Kilkenny had given him the first dose against fluke earlier).
So PHASE ONE : get him accustomed to receiving treats.

The treats I'll use are sheep nuggets which are a mix of grains and pulps used to supplement the pregnant ewes diet. It's probably the molasses they contain that makes them a treat. Nontheless, only my oldest ewes and one younger one will come greedily for these at present and of these, only some will take from the hand. Others want some but seem to smell the hand of a carnivore and shy away. Thes egals have experience of feed before as some were handraised by children, being triplets and the owner not wanting to overburden their dames.
The other, including Setanta, stand alert and aloof though some will take it from the ground.
So my objective today is to let the flock see the greedy ones having their share, leave some on the ground and let them at it. That way, they'll get the message.

So I donned lots of woolens and went down in the cold afternoon to do lady bountiful. Setanta at first reacted with mild possessiveness of some of his ewes but he soon became intrigued by what he saw the older ones doing. I spent just 5 minutes with them and as I left, I saw him sniffing around the feed spot which is all I expected from the first forray.

Huddie, the former ASBOdog (now a milder character in his older years) lay obediently at a distance so he didn't stress them at all. He looked a bit sniffy that he didnt get a treat for good behavior as we returned home but accepted a pat on the head instead.