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.

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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.

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2 comments

  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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