Sunday, 1 November 2015

Operation Rampant Rambo

Since becoming smallholders we have learned one very important thing about moving sheep. It is easier to move the whole lot and then take the ones you don't want back again. Try to move just one or two and they'll just keep trying to return to the flock and have you running in circles all day long.

It's a bit like that old puzzle where you have to get a fox, a chicken and a bag of corn across a river safely.

So Friday 30th October was to be Rambo's lucky day!
For a few weeks now he has been pacing up and down, round and round, generally making a mess of the roadside paddock. He has also begun dismantling the shed I provided for him to shelter in as well as doing his best to knock the fence posts out.
It is that time of year when certain urges make Rambo behave in a very macho way. He is still soft as anything with me, still loves his chin tickled, but he has been known to attract the neighbours' attention by persistently head-butting anything which is fixed enough to provide decent competition.

On Thursday morning, I was somewhat surprised to find Rambo sat in the vegetable garden. He is no jumper (though his fleece might be, one day) so I patrolled the paddock fence until I came across a Rambo sized hole in it. The electric fence wire (which operates on trust, rather than using a charged battery) was pulled all over the place in a tangle. Evidently Rambo, probably while headbutting one of the fence posts to smithereens, must have gotten his horns caught up in the wire. He had also, evidently, managed to extricate himself from this situation without causing too much damge to everything else. I opened the gate to the vegetable garden and Rambo duly followed me back into his pen. For Rambo has the self-confidence to act on his own. He is happy to follow me, rather than the other sheep.

As it was, the sheep needed moving on Saturday anyway.
Four of them had a little journey to go on ;-)

Given our rm's impatience, while Sue was out on Friday I commenced operation Rampant Rambo.
I'll explain how it all worked, but first you'll need a highly precise, detailed diagram of the battlefield.

Step 1 - Lure Rambo into the pig pen.
Shut the gate.

Step 2.
Lure all other sheep out of sheep field and into central corridoor.
Step 3
Construct a ridiculously complicated system of pens
to separate the sheep you want from the ones you don't.

Step 4.
Let the sheep you don't need back into the sheep field.
Step 5 (not pictured)
Realise that the two young lambs can't stay with the ram.
Repeat quite a bit of steps 1-4.
Step 6
Let the four breeding ewes back into the sheep field... again
Step 7
Lead the rest of the sheep down to the roadside paddock.
Try not to let them stop and eat too much of the edible hedgerow.
Step 8
Hurry them all along.
Step 9
Throw them a couple of mangel wurzels to help them settle in.

Step 10
Release the Rambo!
Step 11
Rambo's job.

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