Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Little Black Rambo

Trev was the first to notice that Louise, one of the Suffolks was looking a little portly and we stood there and tried to figure out which of the two absent rams had done the deed, it was either her son or her nephew, and neither thought was too comfortable. Within a couple of weeks she dropped little Ramses VI (named by Caleb), if it had been a girl he was going to call her Black Betty. No such luck. However, he is as cute as a button at this age and incredibly black.

Nuju spends half his time mucking around with the lamb, who is completely fearless of him. However Nuju has a lot to fear, he is busy playing silly buggars with the lamb and Thelma, the hard headed woman of a sheep, comes in at a gallop and does some serious damage by the yelps of pain that are heard on occasion. Nuju is always seen twisting around to see his rear end to give it a consolatory lick. Caleb is getting lots of exercise running after the lamb and generally failing to catch it. It’s a wily wee thing. However it’s about to have a minor operation of the attitude changing variety in the next week or two. I don’t think we’re in for another round of fence jumping ram just yet.

Trevor, of course, makes noises about eating it … my argument is that in times of starvation you can eat meat to save yourself, but if you have sufficient protein in vegetable form then there is no excuse for carnivorous behaviour. Though I still haven’t kicked white meat – mantra: potatoes, the other white meat.


Everett said...

Do you let all of the sheep keep their tails? Doesn't that put them in danger of infection and disease? I'm hoping to be corrected if I'm wrong. That's just what I heard when I asked once why farmers did it. I was told "dingleberries" (aka dried poop) would crust up and invite flies, which would cause a maggot infestation, etcetera... Was I lied to?

Linda said...

No, that's true, and having seen sheep with foot rot or flystrike, it's not nice. Once their feet and flesh are crawling with maggots the sheep drop onto their bellies, and the maggots start eating into that too.

I was told recently by some very keen carnivores that the tails taste like chicken. Stomach turns. But tailing is a difficult one. I'm keen on keeping the tail and washing off 'dingleberry' accumulations and keeping a close eye on him. Which is easy if you have only a few sheep and they live in close proximity.

However, mulesing is a different matter. Australian merino sheep farmers actually skin the rear end of the sheep to prevent flystrike. No anaesethetics are used, and having driven behind a group of merino's who no longer had behinds, just raw bleeding wounds it's a horrendous practice. NZ banned mulesing a long time ago, I think it's barbaric and while I understand flystrike is terrible too, I think alternative methods should be looked into.

Just tracked down an article on this topic in the age

Anonymous said...

we run a farm in south australia and all our sheep and lambs keep there tails no problems in 17 yrs
and i agree with your coments on mulesing

and Eating Memory said...

Hi Linda,

Little baby animals cheer me up. Thanks for the pics. I'm wondering what animal you are going to introduce next...maybe piggies? Do you, Trev and Caleb have an animal wishlist? Talking about piggies do you know of anyone doing Berkshire pigs in Tasmania?

Linda said...

Funny you should mention, what animal next, Trevor mentioned pigs the other day, but I turn up my nose at pigs. Besides I won't eat pork and I don't feed the family it either. So Trev went to his next favourite animal topic. He still wants a bloody donkey. Yes, if he can hitch it up to a plough, fine, but I'm still not such the fringe dweller that I can see it hitched up to a cart and riding into town. Sorry Trev, and thanks anonymous the for the extra push into non-tailing!
Incidentally, there was a feature on mulesing on ABC's Behind the News last night highlighting the issue.