2009-11-08

Bouncing Sheep and other stuff to rave on about


Hmmm after reading Jennifer's last blog post about spinning and sheep shearing should I tell this one? Yes I will anyway.

As everyone knows by now I hate sheep. Unless you have top notch fencing - forget about keeping the beggars in. Not just that, they are a very high maintenance animal. Two good things about them. They give you nice wool and they're even nicer to eat. We have one that keeps coming in and out of our farm. We thought it had been shot but NO it's still there and we're still trying to catch the woolly little monkey. Poor sheep has a wire around its back leg. I'm still trying to find someone to come out and put it down with a .22 rifle. Kinder to shoot it in the paddock and put it out of its misery. I hate seeing animals suffer. But this little story is not about that sheep it's about another one we had the unfortunate privilege of meeting yesterday.

It began with our dog going off his nut. Lots of car doors slamming and lots of swear words. Cause? A sheep. A rather large Romney ewe to be exact that somehow had managed to escape from the back of a slow moving stock trailer and get out onto the road. She was not about to let anyone nab her and stick her back in with her fellow ovine passengers. Not her, she shot through our boundary fence with her owner yelling and screaming behind. Joined by one farm dog four kids and a skinny blog writer namely myself bounding over live electric fences (getting zapped) to try and nab the escapee.

Our place is not geared for sheep. Off the ewe went through a gap in the fence back onto the road through another fence and into my neighbour's property. Rex though is a sheep farmer - so the ewe was completely in her element. Meanwhile her owner had lept the fence. Poor guy was totalled. Round and round the paddock they went - sheep at full bore, owner cursing the day he ever got her hard behind. In the end the ewe won the day. She was left behind and the rest? Well there was only one place they were headed and it wasn't to a new paddock or a shearing shed. Wonder how they will taste (sorry Jennifer).

And then, there is the matter of Micah aka Guts.

He was headed for a bullet in the head after yet again, he had jumped the fence back into Terry's. There he stood bellowing and roaring letting me know he wasn't about to be foiled - again. Finding a man with a gun was becoming a headache along with that damned bull's roaring I was not in a very good mood and Micah knew it.

What to do about this troublesome bull.

Friends of my Mum offered to buy him, but getting Micah up the road to the loading yards the way he was? That would have been a mission in the art of suicide - literally. Breeding time for cattle means the bulls get very agressive. So I took option 3. I rang Terry told him what the heck was going on and offered him to my neighbour. I had a gutsful of the little sod and his troublesome habits. Well that was the best thing I did. Terry was more than delighted. It turned out one more bull was needed to tail off the dairy heifers. Micah is half Hereford and half Kiwi Cow (Fresian/Jersey mix) an ideal combination it turned out. My cattle were all first calvers and they had no problem at all with their calvings. The three bull calves we've bred are all nicely put together and look more dairy breed than anything else. River's calf looks almost like a full Jersey. Lucky little toad is remaining a bull and headed for better pastures shortly to a new home. As for the other two they are destined for our freezer later next year. The boys came the other day and got Micah out of the paddock. It was a hilarious site seeing the short fat little toad prancing along down the race bellowing his head off declaring his presence to the heifers on the hill. Just one slight problem to all of that. Micah got to meet the biggest Jersey bull I have ever seen. Those two went head for head and Micah found he was on the losing end. So much for being head honcho. One thing I do know. Micah certainly will get some of those heifers in calf. He got all of our cows in calf again - and it looks like he might have got the Terrorist in calf as well. Whoops. She's 15 months old so we'll see what the situation is when the vet is out in the next couple of weeks to castrate the calves and dehorn the cows. I hope not.

And last but not least this is a pen drawing I did in what I call my little black book (no it does not contain the phone numbers of Tom Cruise or any other celebrity). I played with the photo program as well to produce an image that tells a very sad tale over literally a tail. The inset article (circa 1901) explains a situation that should never have happened. Sadly it did. These beautiful birds are now extinct. They were called the Huia. The male and female were sexually dimorphic. The female had a longer and markedly curved beak and was also larger than the male. These birds mated for life and once inhabited Northland where I live. By the time settlement arrived in the 1840's the Huia was restricted to the lower part of the North Island. I have many bones to pick with the son of Reverend Buller who had bent the laws protecting these beautiful birds and had managed to get a live pair sent to England instead of to an island reserve where perhaps the species might have survived. They didn't. These birds are extinct. They could have been saved. There's another sad tale of willful extinction on Jayne's Our Great Southern Land Blog. And indeed it was a travesty.

2 comments:

  1. Glad Micah found a new home and new ladies to romance. :-)

    Great sheep story! I agree, sheep are very trying. The 6 months I have had them, I think they have broke out of their fences about 8 times... Knock on wood, they been contained for about 3 weeks... :-) There are some days I wonder why I got these dumb things? Then I see all that pretty wool, and I give them another day. Hopefully I'll make something productive from them with their wool. As for eating them, I have only once. Strangely, lamb is not popular around here and sometimes hard to find. It is in the bigger cities in some stores.

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  2. Hi Jennifer

    Well so am I. I really was loathed to have him shot. I hand raised that little toad and it was kind of hard to make that decision. But he is very happy now - no more trouble thank goodness.

    Sheep have to be the dumbest creatures ever they give lots of nice wool though. But they also like to get out and eat your garden..grrr. Lamb is very popular here of course and they export a lot of it to the UK. Trouble is with sheep you have to use sheep netting and a 6000 volt electric fence on top of it. Friends of mine use 6 wire mains powered fences to keep theirs in. Still if those two are behaving themselves..GOOD!!!

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