I put Perry in with the ewes a little over two weeks ago. As of yesterday the ewes all have green butts. That means the likelihood of their having been bred is very good.
I started using a substance called raddle powder last year. It's a colored powder that is mixed with oil to a paste and then rubbed on the ram's brisket (the chest area just before and behind his front legs). This is done every couple of days. Then when the ram mounts the ewe he marks the ewe and that's how we can tell if they've stood to be bred.
A new color is applied after one estrus cycle (about 17 days). Then if the ewe is marked with the new color we know the first time around she didn't "take", meaning she didn't get pregnant. Of course a more precise method of determining pregnancy would be to do an ultrasound, which is costly if you don't have your own equipment, or to wait five months (the gestational period) and see if she has any lambs. That could be costly too, in terms of waiting for nothing if she doesn't get bred.
Here's Perry just checking. Notice the green on the two ewes' bottoms.
Once again I had to put Perry's mask on. The very first time I used him he was fine. But when he became a "real ram" he started getting a little too bossy with the girls, headbutting anyone who ventured too closely to him and failed to show the right kind of interest. The mask does not make him blind because he can still see to the sides. It just removes his forward vision so it's more difficult for him to get up to proper ramming speed.
It's quite hilarious to watch the first day he gets his mask. The ewes all run from him like he's some kind of contagious killer disease carrier while he plods along bumping into the water trough or whatever looking for some good stuff. By the next day everything is back to normal. The girls are back to being cautiously indifferent to him, or not, depending on where they are in their cycle. And he remembers he's not totally blinded; he still has his side vision.
Baby has finally got some weight back on her. The temptation to put her back with the rest of the flock is very strong, but I will resist! She'll have to wait until next year. (I'll have to wait until next year!)
Tonight I'll change the green powder to red. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that in the next 17 days I don't see any red butts.