Saturday, September 19, 2009

Did She Say What I Think She Said?

Sven: "What did she say, Ole? Did she say we have to go?"
Ole: "Yup. That's what she said. She said that because I've been 'feisty' with the other wethers, I have to go. Well, OK...I guess I did try to take over when Skittles left, but Colin didn't push back, so I just took over. I think that was a mistake, Sven."
Sven: "Well, duh! Ya think? Geez, thanks for nothin', Bro! I sure hope I go to a fiber flock. I have the most wonderful black fleece."

Yes, it's been a hard decision, but the time has come for both Sven and Ole to find new homes. While Sven has stayed sweet and does have incredible fleece (may have to re-think him), Ole has become a little devil at times for unknown reasons. I should have tossed him in the trailer with Skit when he left to keep him company to Colorado, but I didn't think of it then. Naturally.
For some reason, Ole became very pushy for attention which slowly turned into bashing other sheep out of the way to get attention, to finally throwing his head into the Shepherdess when she didn't move fast enough to suit him during feeding. Mistake. Lethal mistake. He's got to go - one way or another. As my friend, Lois, states, "Life is too short to waste time and affection on bad wethers." She's right. Ole has to go.
Sven may be another matter, but he may go also. I got to thinking after advertising the boys on Craig's List that if I do sell both these boys, I won't have any black fleeces left in the flock. Both Colin and his sister, Loretta, are iset with more of a frosted black to their fleeces. Sven's is almost totally black. Ole, on the other hand, is turning iset as well, so why keep him?
Wethers usually have just one job on a sheep farm - to make fleece. Or to make meat. Since they aren't capable of breeding their lives tend to be shorter than those of breeding quality animals. If their fleeces go coarse for some reason, or they develop bad attitudes, they need to go elsewhere. Sometimes that "elsewhere" is the freezer. So, with limited space hard decisions must be made at times. One leaves that a better one might take his place.
Ole was wethered for being an "assertive" lamb. He would have made a very dangerous ram with that attitude. No matter what we did discipline-wise to him as a lamb, Ole insisted on being in the middle of everything. And if you had cookies in your pocket you better come forth with them or get butted. Wethering (the removal of testes in male sheep to render them sterile, for the non-shepherd readers) usually changes the personality to where that sheep can become a sedate, friendly, productive member of the flock. Wethers usually make great pets. And it has worked for these past years, but for some unknown reason, Ole started developing more aggressive behavior - way more aggressive behavior. He went over to the Dark Side.
This change might be due to different things, but I'm hoping that a change in location (i.e. different flcok or becoming a fiber pet) might be just what he needs. It's that or the freezer. "Life is too short to waste time and affection on bad wethers." And all manner of discipline has not been effective. (sigh)
So, if anyone reading this wants a wether...just contact me. ;)

And below, you see just a sampling of what happens to me when I try to just relax to watch tv...that's L'il Rascal on my lap. "L'il" because he has a hero, an inspiration in his young life - "Uncle Rascal" of Rascal's World, for whom he was named. And some of you wonder why my laptop can't fit on my lap sometimes. ;-)

Just blame Rascal...and Daisy, and Pixel, and Mooch, and Shadow, and Ziggy, and Europa! (When my DH snapped this photo, three other cats had been in the chair with me just before he came in the room with the camera.) ...No wonder I can hardly move when I get up.
Maybe it's time to finally install that Ejector Button.

11 comments:

Tammy said...

Wow...Kathy..Skittles sure made cookie cutter ram lambs, didn't he? They look like mini-Skittles. Sorry to hear about Ole. That is bizarre as wethers tend to be pretty mellow. However I have noticed that the horned sheep (ewes and wethers) know that they have the upper hand, and if their personalities are aggressive to start with.....I hope it works out that you can see him off to a new home. If not, at least you tried. Sounds like he needs to be a ram companion or something... Rascal is so pretty. I wanted him so bad when you rescued him, and was even trying to figure out ways to accomplish it. ha . But it looks like he is exactly where he is suppose to be and loving every minute of it. It also looks like I'll be having two little black kitties moving into the house in a month or so... Oh dear... I've been having some back problems, and sometimes I swear it's just because i have to convolute myself around the kitties on the bed! Take care,
Tammy

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Putting Ole in with an alpha ram would calm him down, but short of that, or a shepherd who doesn't care if the wether is aggressive... well you can't save them all. If he was mine, I would be doing the same thing. I wont keep aggressive sheep, or sheep that jump for that matter. My pens aren't very tall, so once they go over, they are on their way out.
Aren't pets great! lol No matter where I go in my house, I have three dogs around my feet; apparently, Im the boss :)

Sharon said...

Since you're talking wethers, I wonder what the heck you're thinking. Every other year, I have to find me another black fleece and I can tell you that it's not easy to get a good one.

Theresa said...

Is it that the alpha ram has left and they are vying for higher positions? Horses do that as do dogs and I'm sure most other pack animals. Nature abhors a vacuum. Makes no difference though. Aggressive is aggressive, regardless of reason. Beautiful fleeces though. Hope they find the right home and it works out.
LOL, that comfy chair works out to be comfy for everyone! ;-)

Claire said...

Oh bother, why do you have to be in Arizona? I would take Sven in a heartbeat. We already have an Icelandic ram from this year named Sven, but your Sven is just gorgeous and I have no black fleeces in my fiber flock. Drat. Where's that pocket teleportation device when you need it?

Juliann said...

Kathy I'm not a fan of wethers. They are as pesky as goats to me. They seem to combine the ram's boldness, with just enough lack of hormones to make them tolerable pets for a while.
And a horned ram or horned wether does know they have horns. We have a scurred wether who beats his scurs on things. I dislike him and would love to see him go, but DH likes him, so he stays.
They are useful as ram companions, but I have so many rams it isn't an issue for me.

Leigh said...

Great photos and an interesting post. I hope you find good homes for them.

Tina T-P said...

It's always these decisions that are the hardest for the Shepherd(ess) - hope you can find good homes for them. T.

Kim said...

If only I had a yard! I don't suppose you have any Sven fleece to sell do you? He looks edibly scrumptious!

Kathy said...

Kim, Sven's fleece is usually the very first one to sell each shearing. In fact, this year, the person wanting it came while the shearer was working on him to collect it right off of him. I don't think it even had a chance to hit the floor.

Rascal said...

Way to go L'il Rascal!