Sunday, 15 February 2009

Mutant Sheep!

Here is a lovely picture of the father and son combo, Crispen and Hercules, pedigree Ryeland Rams.
Now over the last 48 hours or so I have been in mourning for the loss of Crispen, who as you can see is not exactly dead yet. Mourning for him because he has lost such a lot of condition over the last month and yesterday I tipped him over and found he had no top teeth. Thinking this signaled his premature end I wandered around the smallholding finding fault with everything, all the while pondering the fate of my much loved Ram.
Crispy and his three wives were the first animals at Rock HQ that were not officially pets, and as I am a sucker for lamb chops (they cured me of being vegetarian, a long story) I looked forward to this group of sheep providing me with unlimited breakfasts, lunches and dinners for many years. It also helps preserve an old breed as they are not commercially viable usually producing one small lamb a year that takes an age to reach a good weight. But the flavour makes the wait worthwhile.
Crispy and I have an understanding, both being alpha males, when our wives let us, so there is a mutual respect between the two of us, neither one attempting to prove his dominance over the other. Hes a lovely chap and is often in the background watching what you are doing quietly contemplating life and looking for the next sunbeam to sit in. So the thought of losing him was too much.
Whilst worming the flock today I discovered that none of our sheep have top teeth, except for molars at the back. For a few minutes I was convinced we had bred a flock of mutants but as Tracey so patiently pointed out if Crispen was a mutant only his children would be mutants, even our unrelated specimens lacked what I thought were compulsory top incisors. Gradually it dawned that this was how they were meant to be.
Now Tracey claims to have known top teeth were not de rigour for sheep, and my Dad, a sheep expert decided not to phone me to have a quiet word in my shell like to let me know the inadequacy of my sheep dentistry.
So, it looks like Crispy is ok, and currently enjoying the attention lavished on him. In particular the ample portions of bunny food suddenly offered for breakfast instead of boring old sheep nuts.
Me, well I am happy hes ok, and not a bit embarrassed at my school boy error, live and learn eh, and any way what am I, a shepherd or a social worker?
Mind you, you do wonder why he has lost so much weight, if its not worms it must be stress caused by worrying about Lions on the hill!

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