This whole flock of sheep was mated by a single ram who I named Ram-alama-ding-dong. This guy established his dominance over the flock through his physical abilities. I only keep two other rams which are still too young to challenge him, but next year I expect there to be some competition between Ram-alama-ding-dong and Rambo and Ram-Rod. Rams will charge at each other which gets them into physical shape for the breeding season. They will ram into each other at speeds up to 20 mph in order to establish dominance. These sparring matches can last all day but rams will only spar with animals of equal size. They only seem to engage in the headbutting contests when they sense that ewes are around. The winner gets all the ewes and will ultimately mate with all of the females, because he has established himself as the leader of the herd.
Young male lambs will practice their headbutting technique when they play with each other, and ewes do it, too. It is thought that this headbutting is not harmful to the rams, and woodpeckers are able to slam their heads against trees thousands of times a day without sustaining concussions or even getting much of a headache. Scientists have termed this the Bubble Wrap effect and the NFL is working on football helmets that will offer the same type of protection. At the moment when rams headbutt each other, their blood flow from their head back down into their body is slowed, maintaining a higher concentration of blood in their brain. This protection stops their brain from rattling about in their skull, preventing them from being bruised or suffering a concussion. What’s more, the core of a sheep’s horn is hollow, further distancing the brain from the point of impact.
On our farm we breed sheep and most of the young we sell to other people, which makes a great side income for us. We enjoy raising our sheep because it is fun and rewarding and we have the available pasture space. They are docile, gentle animals, and their wool can be used in a large variety of manufacturing processes, making it an extremely sought-after and versatile fiber, it is almost like they are our own personal money trees, because their wool never stops growing. We use sheep’s milk because it is super nutritious, as it contains twice the amount of calcium that cow’s milk does and it can also produce more cheese per fluid ounce. Our sheep will graze on tall grass which makes them perfect for lawn maintenance, these natural lawn mowers are much more peaceful and they save us maintenance on our tractor. We are not against eating their meat, but mostly they are our pets.
Written for KL Caley’s Thursday photo prompt.