Benmore Hydro Station and stuff about Merino Rams.

Today we headed off to see the Benmore hydro dam and then a pleasant ride that skirts round the Aviemore Lake all the way to the Waitaki hydro dam. The area is infested with an Australian Wallaby ( red necked ) and many roadkills assailed the nostrils. Barb nearly fell off her bike when she saw her first one – shock and surprise to spot kin.

Has been an interesting hydro ride – this Waitaki and Tekapo basin system has eight dams and holds 50% of nz’s hydroelectric storage . It runs through the “great alpine fault ” which experts predicts has a 65% chance of rupturing within the next 50 years and might cause some significant problems. Bags not be here on that day.




IMG_0963-0.JPGCame across this small group of merino Rams in a small but well watered paddock in this otherwise drought desert .They are clearly being rested ahead of the significant job of work ahead . They have a big job of impregnating large numbers of ewes as we get into autumn. Sheep are polyestrous – they respond to changing day length and in the autumn they begin to estrus cycle every 17 days until pregnant. Note how well hung these boys are – an interesting fact that testicle size and sperm production are important to sheep breeders – the bigger the better – big means anything over 40 cm circumference.
These poor boys are expected to service up to 3 or 4 ewes per day and maybe up the 100 + each over the breeding season. They are fortunate in that they do not actually need to chase the ewes – quite the reverse – the ewes actually hunt down the overworked boys. If a ram in tethered in a paddock of ewes apparently they still all get pregnant . Another very interesting fact about Rams is that something like 8 – 10 % of Rams are actually homosexual – show zero interest in their occupation.Well you have probably had enough about sheep ??? Leave you with this thought – have heard that some rural Australians ( lonely rurally isolated shepherds)maintain that the only slight inconvenience with intimacy with sheep is that you have gotta get off to kiss them 😭
One thing for sure – if I was able to get a photo of this select group of Rams in another 3 months they would likely look emaciated – totally overworked and underweight. Hard being a male.I wonder if when the Rams are culled back from the ewes after job done – any ram that looks in too good a nick is destined for dog tucker – probably one of the homosexuals! Wonder if the other Rams are homophobic ?

IMG_0964.JPGHad a Speights beer at Kurow at the end of the ride.




  1. Well hello there. Didn’t realise you were Sir David Attenborough. Sheep specialist. What another colourful edition to your blog, Dad, hahahaha…… πŸ˜‚

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