PHOTO: I enjoyed reading the newspaper column written by Gregory Christensen, "Ba ba homosexual sheep research," dailybarometer.com Posted: Tuesday, February 10, 2015.
PHOTO: OSU student Tess Jarmain escorts four male-oriented (homosexual) rams in Oregon State University's flock back to pasture. Photo by Tiffany Brown from 'The science of rams and sexuality: Not all seek ewes,' By Mary Ann Albright, Corvallis (Oregon) Gazette-Times, August 12, 2005 (See previous post OSU Gay Sheep NY Times (2/7/07))
The agricultural roots of Oregon State University, originally called Oregon Agricultural College, still shines through today when the competing University of Oregon students call OSU "cow college" in reference to the actual cows seen on campus used for various research programs. I am sure U of O students are also making vulgar sheep jokes about OSU, especially after reading the following column written by an OSU Animal Science major whose agenda is to recruit volunteers for sheep research:
It might be rainy, gloomy and "Baaa humbug" mood outside, but there's lots of excitement at the Oregon State University Sheep Center.
That's right, its lambing season -- the best time of year for a sheep farmer. Consequently, it's also the most tiring.
After all, it's hard not to get sheepy when you're counting sheep in the wee hours of the morning.
Life on the lambing crew is tough.
I've had the opportunity to work a late night shift a few years back and can sympathize with this year's volunteers.
It's rough, but so worth it.
Getting the chance to see the sheep industry full circle is so rewarding.
Plus there are baby lambs to play with.
The OSU Sheep Club maintains a constant watch over the pregnant ewes and stand at the ready to assist in the birthing process if complications arise. Some lambs even receive special treatment when born prematurely.
Remember that photo of an OSU student with a lamb in her backpack that went viral last year?
That lamb even received a free education.
Did you know that OSU is a leader in homosexual ram research?
I wish I had a baaad pun here, but out of a shear lack of creativity, I can't think of anything right off the hoof.
Going to have to chew the cud on that one for a while.
But seriously, we raise homosexual rams.
According to Dr. Fred Stormshak from the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences, "gay rams are a costly problem for sheep producers because breeding rams are worth $300 to $500 each."
Homosexual rams will never produce offspring, and lambs are kind of the point of the sheep livestock industry.
In fact, a majority of rams turn out to be heterosexual.
One in five are bisexual, about 15 percent are asexual and about eight percent would identify as homosexual.
Learning about hormonal, neural, genetic and environmental determinants of ram preferences could help us select heterosexual breeding rams that will continue to advance the sheep industry.
OSU is proud to be on the forefront of this research.
The OSU Sheep Center, a 600-acre farm three miles off campus, maintains a 60-ewe breeding flock for research and teaching.
Then there are the saanen goats and llamas, and who doesn't love goats? Answer: nobody.
The Sheep Center is staffed by up to 40 dedicated Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences students who volunteer during lambing season.
Although sheep are notoriously stubborn, stupid, and just downright dumb, they are fun animals to be around.
If you are interested in learning more about these amusing wooly bullies, don't be sheepish; sign up for an Animal Science class for next term.
Gregory Christensen is vice president of the agricultural executive council at OSU. The opinions expressed in Christensen's columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Christensen can be reached at email@example.com.