Monday, December 3, 2007

Don't Need a Wether, Man

This is Franklin, our leadersheep wether.

When our original little flock of four first set hoof on the good dirt of Maggie's Farm, Franklin was indispensible. He kept Gus, our big ramly ram, company when we separated the pregnant ewes. He and Gus got along famously, no squabbling at all. And Franklin, being an Icelandic leadersheep, kept a watch over things. He led the flock to green pasture and shelter and also through any little gap or weakness in the fencing. (He also led them back home again.) He noticed anything unusual and kept an eye. (He was especially troubled by one of my goofy, octopus-like winter hats. Couldn't take his eyes off that thing.)

For a sheep, Franklin is capital S smart.

But, times change and Franklin is now quite dispensible. We have three rams who can keep each other company very well thank you, and Franklin has decided that, though he is wethered (i.e. castrated), he will not tolerate any breeding going on around him. As he is bigger (and wilier) than any of our ram lambs, he is no longer welcome in any of our breeding groups.

Dan and I discovered this intolerance yesterday after we spent about an hour and half chasing down, dragging and otherwise "separating" the sheep into their respective breeding groups. We sat back, feeling that exhausted sense of accomplishment that farmers know well, watching our new breeding groups um, "becoming acquainted". There was trouble in the smallest group. Franklin couldn't bear the sight of Charlie Bucket and Daisy, um, you know. He actually knocked Charlie down mid, um, you know.

So in we swooped, the dynamic and hapless farming duo, and we separated Franklin from the group. Well, actually, Franklin separated himself, knocking through the halfbuilt stall that SOMEONE had left open for him.

Actually, the whole thing went down this way:

Dan"One of us has to climb in there and get Franklin."

Me: "Okay, how about you do that honey."
Dan climbs in, leaving the stall door just slightly open. Franklin, being exceptionally intelligent (as I've previously noted, but happened to forget in the actual moment) , comes bounding through the opening and sizes up the situation, his back to the wall, while the rest of the flock hangs out peacefully.

Me: "^%$#!!! You let him out!"

Dan: "Well, catch him! Don't let him pass you!"

Me, standing in the half-built (see Rampage) gate between the devilish Franklin and the great wide world: "Are you kidding? How do you expect me to do that?"

Before we can take this rare spat any further, Franklin proves my point by propelling himself past me with the force of a freight train. He knocks over the gate and slams my hand pretty good in the process. (I held it out in front of him in a futile grab for one of those prominent and attractive horns of his.)

A grumpy half hour of "chase" the sheep rattle the grain bucket, "Here, Franklin. Here, boy!" ensued. Oh, the farming life! (All this as our first real winter storm erupted overhead-- Of course!)

Well, before long, Franklin decided enough was enough and trotted back into the pasture all on his own, and Dan and I were immediately chummy again.

Also, we decided then and there that Franklin is free to go now. That is: He is for sale. So, if you need a wether to keep your ram or ewe company, or think it'd be nice to have a watchful and wily leadersheep in your flock, or have a yen for beautiful, naturally colored fleece. Or whatever else. Please contact us at Maggie's farm ( or here on this blog. We'll make ya an offer you can't refuse.

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