After a conversation with a vet, I made the impossibly difficult decision to let Nobby go. In the the past few weeks he's become potentially dangerous - his castration didn't work, and so I was left with what was more-or-less an entire ram. Weighing in at 66 kilograms, if Nobby suddenly decided to charge at me there would be little I could do to stop him - on a couple of occasions he has tried, but thankfully I managed to get a gate between us unschathed both times. My luck would only last so long.
In the back of my mind I always knew that this could be a possibility for him, but I'd hoped that it wouldn't happen, even if it was through my sheer force of will alone. But even I had to admit defeat when I found out that an operation on him may very well cost him his life.
I have to admit that going to the field with the halter to bring him to the pens was very difficult. He saw me and came running over, as did his ladies. The girls followed us down the hill and stood at the gate and watched him go. They're not upset that he's gone - Nobby was always more human than lamb.
Dad took Nobby, a group of ewes and an old ram off in the trailer. Later that evening, we returned to the saleyard to find them. They were in this pen waiting for the auction to start. As soon as he saw me Nobby climbed up on the gate and called for me. I gave him a scratch around the ears and on his back where he likes it.
I had a look at some of his neighbours, but I didn't go far. Any time I went out of sight he would call for me to come back again.
And then the auction began. I found a good position ringside and waited with dread for lot number 64.
He came into the ring early - he followed the man who was keeping track of tag numbers and the drovers just put him in the ring as he was already there, I found out later.
And while all of the other sheep were running around and panicked in the ring, Nobby went over to the dealers and said hello. I'd been spotted standing beside him earlier on and a few people had asked about him. Pet lambs stand out in a place like this.
Nobby kept alive his tradition of having his photo taken with people.
And then he was sold and the sale carried on. Our ram was next, then our group of ewes.
I knew a lot of these faces well too.
After all of our sheep were sold I went in search of Nobby. After a lot few minutes I found him in a pen with others bought by the same dealer. I went in, gave him a hug goodbye, and left him before I had a chance to burst into tears.
Goodbye, Nobby. I'll miss you, dude.