Sunday, May 29, 2011

Farewell big guy

It’s goodbye to our ram.  They’re funny things rams.  They are only useful for a couple of months during the year.  The rest of the time they’re a pain in the ass.

We’ve come to a good arrangement with one of our neighbours.  It has worked well over the last few years.  Dave borrows an end-of-the-line ram from a real farmer around March.  We pick up his ewes and they run around on our place with our flock.  We let the ram loose for a couple of months them give him back.

Back in law school who knew I would find out so much about sheep mating habits?  Most real farmers aim to get their lambs slaughtered in time for the lucrative European Christmas market.  This means having them ready by the end of November.  They are normally around 4-5 months old when they get sent off.  So that means having them born around June.  The gestation period is around 5 months.  So that means putting the ram in around February.

I’m trying to be a patent attorney as well as a farmer, so I’m on a different schedule.  We like to have our lambs born around September.  It’s spring by then here in New Zealand.  Not too cold.  Still light when I get home so I can check on them.  Early enough so lambing is over by the time I head over to Washington DC for the AIPLA annual meeting.  And it means we have fresh lamb chops for the barbeque in our summer through February and March.

Our guy was a bit stringy when he arrived.  He had run himself ragged in the foothills of Mount Holdsworth.  He had a flock of 4,000 ewes that he had to keep happy.  He loved it our place.  Lots of grass.  A small manageable harem of 11 ewes.  Our little Silvio Berlusconi was pretty corpulent when we sent him back.

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