See that dude there with the big Ram-truck style horns? That’s our beloved bard, Shakespeare. He is the only male in this pen with about 40 ladies. Now, some of you may doubt me on that since there are clearly other sets of horns in this picture and you may have been taught that only males or goats have horns, but Icelandic sheep of both sexes can be both horned or polled(the technically term for hornless), it’s just that female Icelandics have horns that go out instead of back.
But back to the bard. 40 females with one dude, for real? Yep, rams can handle a couple hundred females on their own. Bulls and boars are far less promiscuous, realistically only handling up to 30 and 20 girls each, respectively.
Why do I like this picture so much? It shows that Shakespeare is doing his job. Do you see how his upper lip is curled? That’s called the Flehmen response, which bulls, rams, male cats, and others do to sense pheromones in the girls to determine if they are fertile. It looks funny, but it shows that he is eager to make some lambs.
It’s been a couple weeks since I took this picture and I haven’t seen our handsome Shakespeare do the Flehmen lip-curl much since then, which is a good sign. He’s been in with the girls for about two months, which is plenty of time for them all to have gotten bred. If he’s no longer breeding, that is a promising sign that we will have lots of delicious lamb next fall!