Sunday we brought home our new ram, Falkur. Falkur is 75% AI, and a Serkur son. He'll be two years old in March. We had built a nice indoor pen which connected to the sheep shelter via a new rolling door. We secured the door (or so we thought) with two heavy hooks and eyes, one on either side. We got home early Sunday evening, set up the pen and then backed the trailer up to the barn and opened the back. Falkur walked straight down the barn and into his pen like he'd done it before.
He sucked down about half a gallon of water and then started crunching hay. We thought "well, that was easier than we had any right to expect", closed up the barn, and went to bed.
The next morning I went out to do chores, opened the barn door, and didn't see Falkur. I thought "he must be lying down". So I walked over closer, but he clearly was not in the pen. My first thought was that he jumped over the side and was elsewhere in the barn, but it's a small barn with no place for a sheep to hide. Then I saw the door. The hook on the left side was hanging, still hooked through the screw eye, but still attached to the block of wood that had been previously screwed to the door to provide a place to attach the hook. Falkur had pushed the on the bottom of the door hard enough to pull the screws through the plywood from the other side of the door. Then he had just pushed the door outward enough to squeeze through (since it's on rollers, it will swing out at the bottom). I opened the door and there he was laying down in the shelter.
So much for quarantine. He had apparently felt that since there were other sheep on the other side of that door, he was going to join them and no door was going to get in the way.
Ken and I called in to our respective workplaces and said we'd be coming into work late. Then we got to work. First we took a section of hog panel and framed it out in scrap 2x4 and 2x6 lumber to create a heavy panel. Then we reinforced the door with a piece of 2x3 the same width as the door, bolted through the door's frame, followed by another piece of 2x3 on the inside, screwed through the plywood and into the outside 2x3. Then we reinstalled the hooks into this inner 2x3, and installed some heavy duty screw eyes into the sides of the doorway to tie the panel to.
The next job was to create an "obstacle course" in the pen so that Falkur and Flint would not be able to come straight at each other. Flint was already in the pen and had been all morning while we worked because when I first discovered Falkur outside, it was just getting light and Flint was taking notice and trying to challenge him. Given that Falkur is older, heavier, and has more massive horns, a head-butting contest was not a good idea. So I grabbed Flint and shoved him inside. In order to keep Falkur from trying to get to the other sheep again, he needed a companion and Flint was the only candidate. But they could really hurt each other, even in a small space, if they had open room to move. So we took a couple of old heavy dining room chairs, tied them together and laid them down in the middle. Then we brought in a couple of large log chunks from a tree we had cut down last year and added them, one on either side of the chairs. Voila! An obstacle course.
Then we lured Falkur in with some grain, tied the heavy panel to the doorway, hooked the door closed, and waited to see what would happen. While they couldn't really butt heads, Falkur quickly made it clear that he was the boss, and Flint quickly got the message. Now Flint moves out of Falkur's way whenever necessary. After a week or so, they should be OK to put out in the pasture, away from the ewes, but with their own hoop house. They'll keep each other company, and hopefully Falkur won't decide to try to bash down our fences to get to the ewes. It's past breeding season so that should help. Here are some pics of the "boys" and their new digs. Falkur is the black mouflon and Flint is the moorit (brown).