At 48 I Participated in My First 3-Way Tonight…


I got no pleasure from it, but immense satisfaction.

In the photo is Bear, one of my favorite sheep. When I first started helping with the sheep they all looked alike to me. I didn’t know them, they didn’t know me and they were all very skittish around me. Bear was my very first sheep friend. She came to me long before any of the others. I learned her face when I couldn’t recognize any of the others. She has been my cuddle buddy for years, now. She even ran interference for me when our last ram was trying to kill me. When he was backing up to make a charge at me she would stand between us and slow his momentum. She is sometimes a pain right in the ass begging for scratches.

She has not lambed for 2 years now. I am firmly convinced it’s because she refused to breed with Riley because she didn’t like how mean he was to me. Sissy keeps threatening to send her to auction because she hasn’t bred. I am fighting her on it, and she is probably only joking. But when opportunity presented tonight, I didn’t want to take any chances.

I noticed Spaulding showing a lot of interest in Bear when I let the sheep out today. A few visits to the barnyard during chore time showed Spaulding wanting desperately to  get close to her with Bear trying desperately to keep away from him. Every time I checked Spaulding was curling his lip and chasing Bear. Bear was giving him mixed signals, occasionally squatting to pee in front of him so he could smell the hormones but then running away. She was definitely in heat, but would not stand for him.

I want Bear to lamb this year. Very much. Not just so Sissy won’t have an excuse to sell her. I also want more Bear offspring. Her lambs, grand lambs, and great grand lamps are (in my opinion) some of the nicest sheep we have.

I texted Sissy that Bear wouldn’t stand for Spaulding, while clearly in heat. Sissy texted back that maybe she is a lesbian. It could happen, but in Bear’s case I have never observed homosexual activity on her part. What I have observed is what I believe could be called humaniality. Every day she drives me nuts, begging for lovin’. Like beastiality in reverse.

So, when she ran over for scratches after eating her supper tonight I knelt down and put my arms around her neck to scratch her back. She rested her head on my shoulder and just enjoyed the scratching. Spaulding was right behind her, sniffing and looking frustrated. When he realized Bear was not running from him it was clear he did not want to waste the opportunity, but was hesitant because I was right there. I found just the right spot on Bear’s back to make her start swaying back and forth and chomp her lips. That was too much for Spaulding. He literally jumped into action. Bear stiffened as if to run for a second, but I just scratched a little harder and she decided to stay put. It was a new perspective for me, looking a ram right in the face from inches away while he did his job. Twice more before I left the barn for the night Bear asked for scratches and I held her while Spaulding made sperm deposits. I don’t know about the sheep, but I feel kinda dirty. But if those 3-ways got enough sperm into Bear to make a lamb or two, it was totally worth it!

Better Late Than Never

This is our ram, Dustin…


He is not the ram we intended to get. Sissy had lined up a pedigree ram from half a state away. But plans for transport fell through and it just didn’t happen. We were already late in beginning breeding season after a quick, desperate search we settled on this guy. Yeah, he is cute, but he is stunted. We wormed him and tried to feed him up, but he hasn’t grown. What’s worse is he has not been doing his job. We should be seeing lambs by now and the girls aren’t even bred. In the months since we got him I haven’t observed any rutting behavior or mounting on his part. Dustin, or Dudley as I have been calling him, has been a complete dud.

It is late in the season, but the girls are still cycling. So today the girls got to meet Spaulding.


He is on loan from friends. When Mary and Robert dropped him off this morning the girls were outside. While he was still in the barn, before he even saw a single ewe, he started stomping his foot and sniffing the air. We let him out to pasture and within minutes he was sniffing butts and showing his masculine interest. The girls were definitely interested in him. Spaulding is a fully mature 3 year old male. He is a smaller breed than we prefer to use, but at this point, any functional sheep penis will do. We need lambs to sell or we are out of business.

With the introduction of Spauldin I believe the girls will all start cycling within the next week or two. We won’t have lambs until May, but it beats having no lambs at all and having to sell the herd. It will be interesting to see what these lambs look like. We may not keep any of them. Our girls are a mixed lot, strong on Tunis, combined with other larger breeds. Sissy doesn’t really want this smaller breed in the blood line, but I say wait and see what we get.

In the mean time Dudley, the Dud, Do-Nothing has been a real disappointment. When a ewe doesn’t breed it sucks, but we are only down one or two lambs. When a ram doesn’t breed it hurts the entire herd and the future of the farm. Extra special thanks to Mary for the loan of a sperm machine!

Keeping them a little bit hungry

My sister has been on my case for a long time, telling me the sheep are too fat. They get very little grain, but we also give them bread and cull vegetables, apples, corn husks, whatever is available seasonally. They do like their treats. And they yell at me when they don’t think they have had enough treats. I don’t want them to be obese, but it is hard for me to say no to them. I don’t want them to feel deprived. Karen calls it “spoiling them”. OK, so I am guilty. And, until recently, unrepentant.

However, the past two years, approximately 1/3 of the flock did not breed. The same 10 sheep two years in a row. The vet cannot find anything wrong. These girls did not even come into heat, although they are all healthy. The only other possibility we can think of is their weight. And Karen is talking about culling them. A perfectly logical response when animals are unproductive. We aren’t making money at this, but the girls at least have to pay for themselves. Without lambs to sell we are losing money, buying food for them with no return. (At $.09 per pound for wool, it really isn’t worth shearing them except to make them more comfortable in the heat.)

Well, some of these 10 non-producers are my favorites. So, I have been on a major campaign to make them lose weight. I have put them on a strict diet these past few months. Less grain, less bread, less veggies, less treats, even less hay. They look to me like they are slimmer. I did it gradually so they wouldn’t feel deprived. To my eyes they are being fed very little. They have gotten used to it and don’t make too much of a fuss.

But, when they go out to graze they try to compensate for what they don’t get in the barn. They STUFF themselves. And they eat the tougher grasses and weeds they would have ignored in previous years. When they knew they would get plenty in the barn they were much more persnickety, only eating the young, tender grasses. That is what they would prefer, still, whenever it is available. However, they are doing a much better job of cleaning up their pastures. This is a good thing!

Much as I hate to admit it, Sissy was right. Feeding them less has been better all around. And they still love me. We won’t know for a while if this diet will bring them into heat when we introduce a ram, but I am hopeful. It won’t be long now.