The field opposite is full of pedigree Swaledale ewes. Now that they have nicely settled in a smart young chap has arrived - he is a Swaledale ram - or tup as they are called up here in the Dales.
Sadly he will not get to do the job is expecting to do, because he is just a 'teaser' tup. In other words he is put in amongst the ewes to get them all excited and skittish and bring them into season.
Once this begins to happen he will be taken away and the 'real' tup will be brought in. He will be a pedigree Blue Faced Leicester tup because these sheep are for meat breeding and the farmer wants mules. Mules are a cross between a Swaledale and a Blue Faced Leicester and the progeny will be sold for meat, probably for the Easter lamb market next year (it will be a short life but a merry one for those lambs I am afraid.)
The BFL tup will arrive with his raddle harness on and we shall begin to see the ewes with a coloured splodge on their bottoms as one by one they mate with the ram. The raddle colour will be changed each week so that the farmer will know the order in which the lambs will be born. Anyone who has read 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles has some idea about what is going on!
If I manage to get near enough to take a photograph of the ram I will do so but today is again miserably wet and dismal, so I shall wait until it improves. Have a nice day!
##I stand corrected. Bovey Belle tells me that the reddleman is in The Return of the Native and not Tess. Sorry about that - and thanks BB for putting me right.