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Tuesday, August 25 2015

Say goodbye to Orville.

We dropped him off at the sale barn yesterday. I would have preferred to butcher him for us or the dogs, but Other Half refused to eat him and didn't want to go to the trouble to butcher him for the dogs. We will butcher a calf soon and so freezer space will be limited. There was not enough room for a ram who had earned a spot in freezer camp.

The thing about rams and bucks is that they are basically all about sex, or in Orville's case, sex and killing rivals. Orville decided that my high dollar buck, Jethro, was a rival and thus, must be killed. I heard Jethro screaming and ran to help, certain I'd find one of the dogs had him by the ear. I rounded the corner to find Orville bouncing Jethro around the pen like a soccer ball. The buck is much larger than the ram, but Orville is all muscle with a low center of gravity. Poor Jethro wasn't fighting, he could barely defend himself against the attack.

I had my doubts about running into the pen but figured that if I didn't, he'd kill Jethro. Lily was in the house, so I took Briar with me. The presence of the dog temporarily shocked Orville out of his homicidal fog, and bought me the time to shuffle Jethro out of the pen. Then Briar and I beat a hasty retreat while Orville was trotting around with his head on a swivel like a Spanish bull.

I took one long look at that and said, "Orville's got to die."

Other Half was aghast at my decision. He had not seen Orville's assault and really didn't seem to believe I'd sentence him to death for just playing rough. Read my lips: Orville was not playing.

Orville's goal was to kill the ram. Rams who do that also attack people. Not all rams attack people, but all rams that attack people started attacking other animals first.

Had I not been home he would probably have succeeded in killing a Nubian buck twice his size. Orville had been getting cheeky since the girls came home. He had rammed Briar for no reason and threatened the other dogs through the fence. I wouldn't even let the puppies around him. The day before the attack Orville was attempting to rape one of my wethers (neuthered male goat) and I tossed the wethers out of the pen and left him alone with Jethro, naively believely the bigger buck would be safe.

After the attack I contacted a friend who is a longtime sheep breeder and asked for her advice, and recipes. She said she would have butchered him when he first started attacking the dogs. Alrightie then. I'm aware that people have been killed by aggressive rams, so once I decided that Orville had to die, it was just a matter of when and where. I'd have been happy to put him in the freezer for sausage but Other Half would have none of it. With ten dogs, the prospect of dog food also seemed promising. (and won't be ruled out in the future!)

In the end we took him to auction. Over 3000 sheep and goats ran through that sale yesterday. I said goodbye to Orville as he trotted off to the pens and all the other sheep. He didn't look back.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 03:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
This is the part of farm life I could never handle. More strength to you in being able to take the decision. On another note spring is on the way just heard our native Magpies caroling their heart out.
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 08/25/2015 - 05:23 PM
I've been looking for a ram(no, I don't want yours) and the advice I was given from the breeder I am most interested in was to keep a young ram for a couple seasons and then put it in the freezer. I thought that, for me, that was pretty good advice. Now I just have to find the ram.
Posted by Patty on 08/25/2015 - 08:19 PM
Your DH doesn't get it - with 10 dogs, you wouldn't need a freezer or at least not for very long to store a ram like Orville. Yum yum. With the next ram, you can plan ahead a little better. Mean rams and bad mamma ewes don't stay very long on our farm. At least you are all safe, including Jethro.
Posted by Peg H. in Wisconsin on 08/25/2015 - 11:41 PM
Mmmmm, we love lamb so Orville would have been in the freezer. So glad you were safe separating Jethro and Orville. Rams can be very dangerous.
Posted by Erika on 08/27/2015 - 07:02 AM

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