10 April 2009

Lambs Keep Coming

The lambing season continues at full tilt; this morning, Licorice gave us the surprise of two beautiful black twins (one male and one female).
Notice that one of the twins has a white spot on the top of his head. It's more clearly visible in this photo:

Licorice's sire, Buddy, had the same little white spot. Buddy was by far our most dangerous ram, and tried on several occasions to kill me. Whenever I was out in the pasture alone, and particularly if I was downhill from him or working with one of the other members of the flock, he'd run right at me at full speed. If I didn't get out of the way, he'd lower his head and launch himself into my body. A couple of times, I didn't see him coming and he managed to slam into me at full force; had the impact been slightly different, he easily could've broken my leg. He was the only animal I was tempted to personally kill with my own hands, right there in the pasture --- but I managed to summon the self-control that Buddy himself lacked. Taking him to the butcher, and then enjoying those fifty pounds of ground mutton, was a deeply satisfying experience.

After one of Buddy's male progeny, Coco Puff, proved equally destructive (and also had to be butchered), we concluded once and for all that we wouldn't keep any other males from his line. We now joke that the white spot on a ram lamb's head is the "Mark of Buddy," analogous to the "Mark of Cain." All ram lambs start out and sweet and innocent as the one Licorice delivered this morning, and we enjoy them while they remain so. But given our history with his particular genetic line, he will eventually do much better service to us in the freezer than as a breeder.

Hard to believe that it's April 10th and we've already had six ewes deliver ten lambs. Just two more ewes to go! (And one of them, Licorice's sister, Nera, is acting like she's preparing for labor --- so stay tuned.)


Zach said...

Are you thinking of keeping the ewe lamb, or is she destined to be lamburger too?

Just academic curiosity at this point, since I don't have any flock genetics of my own to maintain yet...

TYF said...

Her fate is uncertain. Once all the lambs grow up, we will be picking one or two females to keep as breeders; it will depend on which ones have the nicest size, horns, etc --- what they call "breed conformation." All else equal, though, we'd likely choose either Dot's female or Maybelle's female --- those two ewes are the least related to the rest of the flock.