Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Never Try to Sneak Past a Ram

I had kind of a fright yesterday evening. One of our young goats, Emerald (also known as Emmy), looks like she might be close to...I guess it's called "kidding"? When sheep have lambs, it's called "lambing," and a baby goat is called a "kid"... Anyway, you get the idea. She's not very big, and I wanted to get her separated from the other goats and sheep in case she did have one. And also we're having a cold spell here, around 10 degrees or below this morning and maybe colder tomorrow morning. Goats have a tendency to go wherever they want to, especially if they can find any kind of hole or space in the fence. Remember Max, our Rambouillet ram? Kind of a tall fellow, weighing maybe 250 pounds?

Well, somehow Emmy had gotten in the little lot with him, along with another of the older goats. They did pretty well together most of the time, but most sheep and goats, when you put out the food, will ram into (no pun intended) each other trying to get to it. Most of them seem to have no manners at all. So I thought that with the difference in their size, I should get Emmy away from Max. I poured some of their evening corn over the fence, and still having some in the bucket, thought I would lure Emmy with it into the little enclosed pen inside the sheep barn. "Max will be all involved with eating and won't pay any attention to us," I thought. "We'll go around behind him and be inside before he's any the wiser." It started out just fine. Emmy stuck her head in the bucket and followed as I began backing toward the pen. We were getting close when Max noticed my bucket. Of course to a sheep, anything other than what you're eating must certainly be better than what you have in front of you, so here came Max. Emmy was used to dodging him and left. So here I am, backing into this little bitty space with nowhere to go. I tried to pull the wire panel in between us, but it had so much hay down on the bottom of it that I couldn't move it. I can't say that he was really charging at me, but I didn't want to stay there and ponder about it. Trying to sound fierce I shouted, "Get back!", but for some reason he didn't seem too intimidated. He was close enough that I gave him a whack with my too-small, light-weight plastic bucket. He backed up just a little, but came toward me again, so this time I yelled, "Get back!", threw the bucket at him, and jumped up on the fence. The bucket somehow landed right-side up and still had corn in it, so having gotten what he wanted all along, Max stuck his head in and began eating. As I perched there on the fence, I could feel my heart pounding. Needless to say, I climbed on out over the fence and didn't go back the way I came in.

My husband had just gotten home from work about the time I came up with this nutty idea, but had gone in the house for something before coming back out to do his chores. So, yes, it was a pretty dumb stunt on my part. After he came out, he helped get everybody sorted out. I tried to keep Max's attention (from outside the fence) while he got Emmy safely into her pen.

After I fed some hay this morning, Max's water was frozen in his pan, so I got some and poured through the fence. He had his back to me at the time, and I did take some fiendish pleasure in the fact that when I poured the water in, it startled him enough that he jumped. :)

Anyway, the moral of the story is: Never try to sneak past a ram.


Knitted Gems said...

OMG, thank goodness you weren't hurt. I don't think I would have handled it so well. My story would have involved some high pitched shrieking.

Prairie Daisy Handspun said...

Yes, even when an animal that big seems gentle (especially males), you should always treat them like they might come after you at any moment. I guess I learned my lesson. :)

My name is Bonny said...

That would have given me a fright also - I'm glad it all worked out and you're OK. My uncle used to have sheep and I'll never forget one running after me ... I was only about twelve and it scared the life out of me!

Prairie Daisy Handspun said...

It was a scary sight for sure. I'm thinking that miniature sheep are looking better and better all the time!


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