A number of regular and usually supportive readers, including my brother Jim, have expressed skepticism here and elsewhere about the notion of “jugging” described in an earlier post, and where it fits in the greater scheme of things in our Soay sheep world. One observer questioned the very existence of jugging, suggesting in polite tones that perhaps I made the whole thing up as a literary foil.
Make up jugging? I don’t have enough imagination. But in the interests of family harmony and to dispel any lingering doubts, here is an actual jugging dance featuring Gala and her twin lambs, Darrowby and Thirsk, a few days ago. After a suitable musical introduction, let’s say 8 bars with a trumpet fanfare and a drum roll, Steve begins the dance by donning his blue gloves, picking up the lamb(s) and inching his way backwards towards Gala’s assigned recovery room — her jug de jour.
Steve tries to keep the lambs no more than about a foot from Gala’s nose, to be sure the olfactory link is not broken.
Even at this early stage, it is apparent Gala’s lambs are not light phase (tan) as she is, but aren’t they cute?
Almost all our ewes hesitate at the gate into the jug, torn between following their lambs and the fear of being “trapped.”
The lambs always — no exceptions — win out!
With the gate shut and the sun shining, Gala can go back to the business of cleaning and feeding her little brood in relative tranquility.
Naming note: We waited patiently as our British Soay sheep lambs lambs arrived one by one, saving Darrowby and Thirsk, the literary and literal names of James Heriott’s town, for a particularly nice-looking set of twins. Now I can write to my new friend Anne, who I have ignored for several weeks, to report on the litany of lambs with melodious names from Yorkshire: Appleby, Bainbridge, Boltby, Borrowby, Chopgate, Follifoot, and the list goes on, each temporarily housed in a jug and each welcome at Saltmarsh Ranch.
For now …