Tag Archives: bucks
It’s been a weird winter so far. We’ve had lots of snow, lots of thawing, and a lot of bare ground for February. The critters are glad for the warmer temperatures.
New Year’s Eve morning dawned bright and clear. We had a huge pile of wood to burn from an old building we had taken down. We had livestock to tend, bucks to work, and resolutions to make.
This time of year, the bucks are like teenage boys, with two things on their minds–one of them is eating. Here the “boys” are more or less contained in the Mouse Pasture. The Mouse Pasture got its name because the fence was built by long-time (and late) Ladder Ranchhand Bob Holmes. My Dad said the fence was so tight, it “would hold a mouse.” They still seem to be able to crawl under the gate.
The bucks have been waiting all year, or at least since February, to hang out with the girls again. They spend most of the year hanging out with each other, and plotting to escape from the buck pastures. At long last, breeding season has arrived and they can find romance. We sprinkle their wool with red powder to make it easier for the herders to count and identify them, load them into the trailer and take them to the pasture where the ewes are awaiting them. For the ewes, it means a very brief moment of passion, five months (less five days) of pregnancy, and four or five months of raising lambs. They probably find their lives to be a lot more interesting!
The bucks have done their job and are back on the Home Ranch for another ten months of bachelorhood. It’s easy enough for them. In the meantime, the ewes carry their pregnancy to term, trail 100 miles or so, get sheared, and have their lambs. The ewes then trail to the Forest with their lambs, raise them–dodging coyotes, bears and ravens, and trail back to the ranch for weaning.
Some of the rams have given their all, and won’t make it to another breeding season. We sorted out the bucks who are old, thin, and/or no teeth, These will be sold and are destined to be buckburgers or dog food.
The rams do lead a good life, and we take care of them until the end.