Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Darn Horns!!

One of top reasons I wanted to go to polled genetics with the Shetlands is the horns.  Hands down, they are beautiful to look at when they grow right and they do not come in contact with your leg or when they are not being used to destroy a fence post or just the fence for that matter.  But when they grow wrong, the decisions have to be made.   Such is the case with Barnet, a yearling Shetland ram.
Barnet's horn just did not make the turn.  No, it decided that growing straight into his cheek, just below the eye would be best.  I had hopes for him because I really like his markings, he is Ag, his dam, Windswept Betsy, is a nice ewe but getting up there in age, so I hoped to get a nice ram from her.   He is a smaller boy, coming in at 50# but his tail is good and his back legs are nice and straight BUT NOT THE HORNS!!!!  I feel bad because I knew this was coming and I waited too long as I should of done this in cooler weather but since the weather has basically been warm to HOT the past month and more, I could not wait any longer. To wether him and trim and band the horn was going to run about $80-90 and I was right.   The vet trimmed  about an inch and a half off of that horn.  So this week he is a tad "under the weather".

Barnet's other horn is just fine as it is making the turn away from his face and with having been wethered, the horn growth will cease up.  Obviously he is not lacking any food however!  TJ, my Blk. Cotswold ram, is probably telling Barnet, "Sucks to be you right now."
On the plus side, this is Barnet's fleece.  For a ramling, I think it has a nice crimp and luster to it and now that he is a wether, I am hoping it will even get nicer.  However, I still hate those dam darn horns!


Michelle said...

Amen on the horns! Whether or not they are full-polls or just smooth-polled half-polls, I was really tickled to get Blake and Bodhran this year. I would liked to have found a breeding home for Bodhran as he doesn't seem to have a bad trait (except that he's really too friendly to be left a ram), but I'm tickled to have Blake as a future ram prospect. He's going through a bit of an awkward adolescent phase right now, but I have faith that he'll return to the stunning promise he showed as a young lamb.

Nancy K. said...

I hope you know that horns don't stop growing after wethering. They slow down considerably but he will probably still need trimming every no and then. I can understand why some people like polled but to me the fact that it takes so much to get a great ram with good horns makes them all that much more special. I'll probably curse horned rams as long as I have sheep ~ but that's all I'll ever own or use. I'll take a gorgeous, curled rack over a smooth head any day! At least I know, when looking out into the pasture what sex they are!


kristi said...

I agree with you! Perhaps because my first Shetland ram was a full horned and turned out to be a bit too much too handle, aka a punk, and then my first Cotswold ram (and Cotswolds are naturally polled)is a total delight, I just gravitated towards the polled Shetlands. And then I got Jed and he is just such a mellow ram so polled for me:) Blake is a very nice ram lamb btw!

Yes, I have learned that getting a good ram is tough and perhaps one of the reasons I have stepped back on breeding this past year. Actually, I am going to breed 3 or 4 girls this coming Fall and I am going to use a horned ram carrying the polled gene because I am hoping it will bring some head size back in. Not sure if it will make a difference as its just my thoughts. I know his horns might have to be trimmed but thats okay. His worth it;) Thanks for stopping by!

Kathy in KY said...

Kristi - Barnet sure is a beauty, and I love the look of his fleece. I hope that it improves now that he is a wether. I think I would go for polled as well for safety's sake and getting caught in fences, etc. Your coltwold ram looks cool, too. Yes and it does look like he's telling Barnet - sucks to be you! LOL - thanks for sharing your animals and farm with all of us today. Take care, from KY.

Tammy said...

He is lovely. I hate it when the horns are so iffy. I love it when the ram lamb has wide sweeping horns though--it's a pleasure to watch them devlope. I have a polled ram (Merino) and of course used to have Jeff (horned Shetland). The polled fellow is a menance to me (except now he is too old to do much). Haven't had too many bad experiences with horns being the issue (as in destruction of property or me)--mostly it seems to be the personality of the ram that comes into play (and sometimes the breed). The Shetland's tend to be more creative about finding ways to get to the ewes though! And as Nancy said the horn growth won't stop, but it will slow down considerably. I use a pair of tree loppers and when it's hoof trimming time I'll just take off about an inch or so of the offending horn as well. No blood, no fuss, no mess. ;-)