Hershey is a ram who originally came from Bert Martineau’s flock down south. He passed through another set of hands, and I’ve had him for the last three years. He came with his silly name, but it suited him.

I have quite a few of his progeny in my flock, I like what he throws. This year he bred seven ewes that were my intention, and two that were his– he broke past hotwire on the last day of breeding and snuck this wildcard into my plans! It was ok- I had meant for these ewes to be bred by his son, but that will apparently be next year! I am running out of ewes which aren’t related to Hershey, and have obtained plenty of his genes, so it was time for him to go.

This year was hard on him, he lost a lot of weight from August until November, when he finally got to join his ewes. Normally carrying a Santa-like fatness, this fall, he got skinny. He spent most of that waiting time at the gate, not bothering to eat. A few weeks ago, he pulled a stunt of trying to break past the dog, who didn’t let him, and he slipped in the mud and had a really bad fall. He didn’t put weight on a front leg for almost two weeks. He recovered, but I could tell, at almost nine, he was getting old.

It doesn’t make sense to feed sheep that aren’t generating solid revenue, and it doesn’t make sense to wait for them to die on their own, if they are of some value sold as culls. I have good channels for old cull sheep to go for dog food at a reasonable price, so that was his fate- into the dinner bowls of some nice show dogs. I took him in last Wednesday.

This part is hard. Dropping off wily and obnoxious untamed and unnamed lambs at the butcher is not so hard. But Hershey was leash-broken like a dog, he trotted amicably along following a grain bucket and hopped up into the van with little assistance. At the butcher, he followed me into the smoker room, and I shut the door behind me as I slipped out. <sniff> The butcher smiled understandingly and said, don’t worry, I’ll make it quick. I took his old, worn-out green dog collar home.

My only consolation is that letting pets get very old, painfully arthritic and broken down is not the greatest path either. So maybe production livestock have it better in some sense. He got to go before things got miserable, while life was still good. (Isn’t there a Star Trek episode on that topic? Winking smile)And he ate three pounds of grain as a bribe to lead and load, and as a last meal.

I have a gorgeous Hershey son, and lots of daughters and granddaughters. Three people bought Hershey ram lambs this year to use for stud- the three special triplet boys out of JJK010. His steady and sweet temperament and crazy color genes come through in everybody. I miss his daily begging for scratching, my mind still looks for him at feeding time. I’ll be thinking of him in March, when his sons and daughters are born. Likely eighteen or so youngsters with spots and shades of brown and red, all curious and friendly, and with big, nerdy Roman noses. Open-mouthed smile