Angus, the big katahdin ram, was pretty worked up on the day of the breeding sort. He took a hard shot at Cass as she was starting to move them to the handling system (She yelped, but then inflicted at least as much damage to Angus with her teeth as he had with his skull. That convinced him to defer to her once again.), and Bill was on edge lest Angus knock one of us over the fence. I imagine that all the cheviot-sired lambs, just across the fence from the rams, were ovulating in earnest and his hormones were raging. The good news is that he’s now channeling all that testosterone into more productive activities.
As of this morning, he had bred five of the eight ewes he’s responsible for, and he seems very pleased with his new family status. My 1½ year old border cheviot ram wasn’t acting out to the same extent, but he’s also been busy: 14 of his 27 ewes were marked this morning. The two younger fellows, the dorset and north country cheviot rams, are lagging behind, having bred well fewer than half of their respective harems; I’m hoping they become a bit more efficient, but I’m afraid they’ve missed their opportunity with some of the ewes. The fact that the two older rams have bred so many suggests that more than half of the ewes were cycling in synchrony, so the youngsters won’t get another crack before I combine the ewes with all the rams for cleanup duty during the second ovulation cycle.
Over the course of the year, I’ve often fought with my anthropomorphic tendencies, e.g. here and here. Usually this takes the form of imputing human characteristics onto my animals, but the breeding dynamics suggest that the anthropomorphic arrow may have two heads. I would love to take the rams’ performance as evidence that older men are inherently superior to younger ones, but I can’t imagine anyone taking me seriously. Oh well.