What is a male sheep called? That might seem like an obvious question, but it can be different in different places.
A male sheep is typically called a Ram, but in large parts of Scotland we tend to call them Tups.
All flocks need a Tup if they are going to have lambs. A single ram can usually fit 35-50 ewes into his schedule, meaning that big farms will have more than one.
In the Angry Triangle flock there are three tups. Not because the flock is big, but because the different rams have different qualities.
So, without further ado, it’s time to meet the boys!
What are our male sheep called?
Our boys have a frankly majestic set of names. A lot of time and effort went into them. Apart from Dumbo. No thought went into that at all.
Dumbo The One Horned Wonder
The first ram on the croft, Dumbo was born the first year I had sheep, and to date is the biggest lamb I have had to try and get out of a sheep. His poor mother wasn’t the same after that. He was a good solid lamb, so he was spared the rubber ring, and became the first homebred tup.
His mother was a Hebridean ewe and his father was a Texel. He is being used this year on the older Hebridean ewes. Their lambs will not be pure Hebridean and I won’t keep them for breeding. I will keep a selection to grow on for mutton, and the rest will be sold.
It’s not an imaginative name at all. He was big and daft. He remains big and daft and rather bad tempered.
If you are wondering why he only has one horn, it is because the other one grew into the side of his face – and risked damaging his eye. Whilst he was young, it would need regularly trimmed using cheesewire and elbow grease on my part. He was not a fan. Now he is a bit older, his horns grow more slowly and I have to do it less often.
His fleece can be found in our Brown Aran Knitting yarn!
Little Blue Dangles
What is a male sheep called, you ask? Little Blue Dangles, of course! I’m a big fan of a pun and as this wee tup is still technically a ram lamb (born in 2021), he still has some growing to do. He is a Blue Texel, hence the Blue in his name. And the dangles? Well. They do.
He’s currently sporting the nickname “The Footstool”.
This is his first year on the croft and he has been tasked with the younger pure Hebridean ewes. The younger ewes are ones who already have one or two lambings under their belt and ones which have not yet lambed (called gimmers in our part of the world).
My goal is to get up to 8 ewe lambs (HebTex) from him which I can breed from in future. All the other progeny this year will be sold. When those ewe lambs are ready to breed (at the age of 2), they will go and see the next ram on the list…
Last but by no means least is the Colonel. He is a Beltex ram. He is going to be what’s known as a Terminal Sire. That means that his lambs will all be for sale into the food chain. I am unlikely to keep any of his lambs for breeding because he is used for the second and final cross which produces the heavier weight lambs likely to command decent prices. That’s the theory!
His group of lovely ladies are my existing HebTex ewes. The HebTex’s were bred from Hebridean mothers and a Texel father. They are Dumbo’s sisters.
A big baby, he loves having his cheeks rubbed and when he is particularly enjoying the scratch, he wags his tail like a dog. The Colonel is forever trotting after me for snacks and asking for scritches! When it comes to what this male sheep is called, it’s “soft”.
You can figure out the Nut-Clackers reference for yourself!
What is a male sheep called in Gaelic?
For a bonus ball, (ahem) here’s a wee fact to tuck away! In Scottish Gaelic is a male sheep is called a Reithe or a Rùda, depending on where you are from.