Rams Horns

ramsToday was the day for assessing the rams’ horns.  I love rams and their horns, but they can cause problems too.  I knew DC’s horns were tight (he’s on the far right), but I wanted to make sure he would not suffer to wait another 1-2 months until butchering.  I can still barely get my finger tip between his horn and skull so I think he will be OK.  Then there is Shaun in the middle.  I can squeeze my index fingertip under his curl.  I just do not know how fast they are still going to grow.  He is 4 years old. So now I need to decide whether to butcher him.  Unlike DC, his meat will not be very good, but he may make OK sausage.  Finally Lewis on the left. He is too busy peeking through the gap in the plywood wall to pose for the photo, but his curl is quite tight to his jaw.  There is still a little space that he can chew.  He is 10 years old so his horns will not grow much, and his meat would not be edible.  So I will wait on Lewis until it is causing him trouble.

Jocko with companion wethersThen there is Jocko.  His horns have plenty of space, but his left horn has been battered to the point it is coming apart.  I have kept him separate from the other rams and have him in with wethers to keep him from damaging it further and bleeding out.  He is 12 so getting fragile.  So I decided to try something suggested on the Shetland email group.  We put epoxy over the horn defect to try to strengthen it.  Here he is after his treatment.

epoxied JockoI hope this works.  I do not know if I dare to put the rams back together again.  I do have a ram shield I might try again.

We have dealt with bad horns in the past.  It is gory for some but below is a photo of Barney’s skull.  He had lethal horns so had to be butchered.

Barney skullThis is in comparison to Comet’s horns that were more reasonable.

Comet skullWe never bred with DC, Barney or Comet.  So lots of horn issues.  We penned the rams today in anticipation of shearing day on 3/29.  Here’s a glimpse of some of the rest of the unshorn flock.  Looking forward to it, and the weather is supposed to be nice!

Unshorn flock






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4 Responses to Rams Horns

  1. Michelle says:

    We are shearing on April 2, right behind you.

    The one sheep I sold to a friend to butcher was a four-year-old ram. She and her friends thought it was the best “lamb” they had ever tasted! So you might be surprised, if you wait until June….

  2. sheepsclothing says:

    so this might be the last year for Shaun fleece, eh? I’ve always been tempted by it before….

    • Donna says:

      I am now thinking I will give Shaun a reprieve. I do not expect his horns to cause him trouble for several years so I am thinking about selling him but will be completely honest about his horns. I just think his genetics are so fascinating, and his wool is so interesting. So I also think about just keeping him for his fleeces. Any way, you are welcome to his fleece. I would be curious what you think of its color after processing. I still have his lamb fleece as roving but have not spun it yet. On the to-do list.

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