We are cattle producers, however also do run a couple of pet sheep. Friends (who run a lot of sheep) gave us Bonnie who is now entrenched as part of the family. I always wanted a pet lamb – not sure that I do now though!
About a month after Bonnie, these same friends organised us to take another lamb, who lost its mother, from their neighbour. They thought Bonnie needed company. We named this second one Bronte, who also promptly became part of the family. Now as they grew we thought “we should breed” from these and put some lamb steaks in the freezer. Another friend gave us a ram, called “Bruce” for which we thanked them for through a cartoon a beer. And so it begins……..
Bonnie and Bronte have now had quite a few lambs each. Bruce thinks he runs the joint, butting heads against the bulls, horses and even us. Check out the video of him and the very quiet and tolerant bull playing games. While most of the time he is reasonable to get along with, Bruce is definitely a ram with attitude: He knows when I’ve got thongs on and can’t move so easily the cheeky little (well actually rather large) bugger. It’s safest not to turn your back on him. He even bowled Craig over one day when he wasn’t looking, which I still get quite a giggle about.
In hind sight I should have done a bit more research on sheep before launching “although accidentally” into looking after a few. For example, perhaps the ones that shed their wool themselves instead of needing to be shorn would have suited us better. I originally thought how hard could this be…….I watched some YouTube footage and got some advice off my Dad, who used to shear sheep in the day; then set to it. Half a day later I managed to shear two sheep. Although the clippers I used weren’t as good as those in the video, I really can’t blame the tools being used. I was a long way away from the legendary Australian sheep shearer, Jackie Howe, who shore 321 sheep in 7 hours and 40 minutes at Alice Downs Station, near Blackall, Queensland in October 1892. That’s one sheep in less than one and half minutes. Getting paid per sheep, there was good money to be made in those days.
There aren’t many sheep left now in the Roma area due to wild dog predation. Even donkeys and maremma dogs, used these days as guard animals after bonding with the sheep, find it difficult in some circumstances to escape the wild dogs. Sheep production is still currently a strong industry across Australia, however like all other agricultural industries, is does have its ups and downs, mostly due to external market pressures.
Back to our little herd, as numbers have grown (we currently have six including Bruce) and know that you also know about my shearing skills I’m afraid I have to admit the last few times I’ve gotten a local ‘retired’ shearer to come give me a hand.
Since branching into BOOBOOK Ecotours I’ll often share a story or two about Bruce’s antics when the opportunity arises, particularly the one that involves Craig. One that’s always worth a laugh.