Are ewe pregnant or are you pregnant?

Eric Keller and a sheep
(Eric Keller photo)

Laying down in the pasture with a handful of sweet feed has become a time for bonding. Unfortunately, it is also a time that my wife attempts to catch a glimpse of an udder to predict a pregnancy in our sheep. Some people have told us that if we always have our sheep with the ram, then they are pregnant. But how pregnant are they?

It’s a complicated guessing game that involves lots of questions and very few answers … at least accurate answers. At first, we tried measuring abdominal girth with a profound visual inspection. This occurs by sitting patiently like a praying mantis, holding a handful of sweet feed out in an open hand in a halfhearted effort to temporarily gain their trust.

Once they are eating out of the open hand, the other hand reaches around to grab a handful of wool and a short glimpse of a sheep running away.

It’s not a very effective way to manage sheep — in fact, it’s not effective at all. We tried a sheepdog, but it needed training that we weren’t able to provide. I’m not even qualified to potty train a child if you ask my wife.

Somehow, aiming for targets off the back porch didn’t qualify me as an expert potty trainer. But we did end up growing a small patch of vibrant green grass around the back porch, thanks to the extra nitrogen input. And having a dog running around trying to mark his territory after we marked ours, has made for some more advanced moving target potty training that has given us the precision of a surgeon, despite what my wife says.

When it comes to training sheep, I’m about as useful as a jellybean, but their manure is fantastic in the garden and pasture.

We found some sheep for sale and showed up with a dog crate. What transpired was a brutal exercise of manhood. After an hour of chasing the ram lamb, I carefully held him in my arms. It was a lot like the good shepherd did in the Bible, retrieving his lost sheep.

However, he was anything but lost. It was like I was rescuing him from his dream pasture and to show his disapproval, he began slamming his head into me.

He rammed his head into my chest so hard that it bruised for two weeks. His little horn nubs proved to be more menacing than cute by the end of the 300-foot walk to the car. And not once did he take a break from ramming his head into me.

By the time I reached the car, my arms and chest were cramping and exhausted. It was physically one of the most difficult things I’ve done with an animal, and unfortunately, I still had to get his sister. At least now, I know why they called him a ram, it’s really fitting.

By the time we got home, the image of the good shepherd faded from my mind, and I began to wonder what a fresh lamb chop would taste like.

It’s not a good system for training sheep, but right now, I think they’re busier training us. I can only hope that they aren’t guessing how far along I am in my pregnancy, based on my abdominal girth.


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  1. So funny!!!! I love this! Regardless of what people may believe, I personally believe that funny stories like this are in much more abundance than the perfect scenarios😂😂😂


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