Separation of the Sexes
As we get closer to the lambing/kidding season here on the homestead we are paying very close attention to our ladies in case there are any unexpected surprises. All our goats are first-time moms, and a few of the ewes are older, so we are understandably a little nervous.
Yesterday we had a bit of a false alarm in the sheep pens when one of the older ladies - who is looking ready to pop any day now! - refused to come out and eat with the others. I took some hay into the sheep house for her and she helped herself to a single mouthful and then laid down in it. So, of course we thought her time might be closer than expected.
The mystery was solved though, when Goddard wandered in. He moved up to her, lip curled and began to get very invasive of personal space. She immediately left and went outside, returning to her sanctuary when he wandered back out again.
So, with a little coaxing and some treats, the boys were given their own pasture until lambing season is over. The little ram just seemed confused, but Goddard actually seemed scared! He followed me around as much as he was able, looking at me and then at the door dividing him from his ladies and making sad sounds. When he wasn't able to follow me, he ran in circles around the pasture - sometimes chasing the smaller ran and sometimes just running. This morning he is more settled, but still unhappy.
The interesting observations though are the girls. The older ones have become far more relaxed overall, but several are suddenly entering into domination battles they never have before. There was less jostling at the grain troughs this morning, probably because Goddard wasn't running from place to place to run the young male off. And, interestingly, he was less aggressive with the younger male over their breakfast this morning as well.
The young lambs though, have suddenly become much more skittish. While they often don't like to be touched, they will usually tolerate their health check if I catch one. I can't get near them this morning. Whether this is because they feel less safe now, or because they don't want to be hauled off too is hard to say. Either way we hope they also are able to settle down soon and enjoy the peace and quiet.