Who’s the Alpha?
One thing you quickly learn about farm life is that there is always an order established amongst the animals. And at the top of that order is the Alpha.
Here’s a rundown of who runs things at the farm!
There has always been an obvious alpha amongst our sheep — the orangey-brown coloured ram with a fluffy coat of fur on his back. I call him Puff Daddy.
Puffy has impregnated the majority of our mother ewes and he will shove any sheep — male or female — aside to get at the best pickings of food. Even Jay (the donkey) walks away when Puffy comes around.
At times, I’ve seen him literally butt heads with the other adult ram, a large, white and brown-spotted male with a luxurious mane flowing down his neck (yeah, he’s kinda more like a Prince Charming type).
The white ram was apparently named Pete by whoever we bought him from. However, after this revelation, I adamantly changed his name to Ramsey — Get it? Ram-sey — but I usually just end up calling him Gord (as in, Gordon Ramsey).
One day, I spotted Puffy and Gord in this strange, almost awkwardly intimate sheep embrace. Even there though, I think it’s obvious who’s on top.
There are also alphas amongst the ewes. Check out this video to see how one of their sheep face-offs turns out!
Keeko and Spot
Oh, Keeko and Spot. As you may have read in their dedicated #farmtough blog post, we brought Spot to the farm thinking that Keeko was in need of another feline friend. We thought wrong.
For several weeks, these two were the bane of my existence, as I had to referee, mediate and break up a cat fight every day.
Actually, it wasn’t a fair fight at all. Rather, Keeko became Cat Bully of the Farm and scared Spot into hiding. Spot lived in a hole amongst the haystacks for days on end.
The moment I actually saw them (mostly) peacefully sitting together, I almost died. Miracles do happen.
These four munchkins just arrived at the farm a few days ago, but it’s already apparent that there are alphas amongst the crew.
Perhaps one will rise to the top, but so far, it seems that two dominate the food boxes and will scare the passive ones away if any meal-sharing shenanigans are attempted.
The passive piggies will eat the bits that accidentally fall onto the hay. And every so often, they’ll manage to get their snouts inside the prized boxes!
Once Spring weather hit, the roosters overtook the farm. There were way too many of them, and the male testosterone was at an all-time high.
Not only were they fighting each other, but they were constantly chasing the hens and attacking our poor duckies. It was time for Rooster Soup.
While some of our highly-aggressive roosters are being weeded out, our black-and-red rooster appears to continue dominating the chicken clan. He’s always crowing about something, and has a faithful following of other roosters and hens by his side.
Watch this video of our two roosters who battled it out for an entire morning (this is the last 30 seconds of their fight)!
Olive and Clyde
I’m starting to wonder who is really the alpha between our Great Pyrenees guardian dogs. I used to think smart, cunning Olive dominated her more juvenile-acting twin brother. But as time has passed, Clyde seems to be showing some more leadership qualities.
We’ll see how things play out, but one thing’s for sure, they both seem to have the upper hand over the coyotes!
Watch this video of one of Olive and Clyde’s many playful fights that never cease to entertain 🙂
The Farmer and the Farm Dog
At the end of the day, whoever has the hand that feeds takes Top Alpha status at the farm. That being said, I’ve definitely had to work on gaining the respect and trust of our animals, whether I’m holding a food bucket or not.
Being an alpha isn’t just about being authoritative. It takes a lot of patience and compassion to both discipline and love the animals, in order to keep things harmonious around the farm.
As they say, with great power comes great responsibility!
>> Read the next post in the #farmlifebestlife series: Spring Farm Reflections