LIFE as a farm’s top ram can be a busy but jolly affair.
But keeping up with a whirlwind of romantic liaisons with ewes can be a young ram’s game.
When arthritic hips barely allow you to cross the field to try out your best chat-up lines, the future can look bleak.
That was the grim prospect for Scottish Borders sheep Langside Stiffler, after he hit middle-age.
His elbows, spine and back legs were aching from painful arthritis and he struggled to perform his farmyard duties.
But thanks to pioneering treatment the Texel ram is back in harness for the breeding season which begins next week.
The eight-year-old ram has become the first sheep in the country to undergo the procedure, which breathed new life into his creaking joints.
Owner John Green, 37, of Craggs Farm, near St Boswells, said: “The transformation has been amazing.
“He has gone from barely being able to walk across the field to raring to go for the impending breeding season.
“He was crippled with arthritis and it was sad seeing him struggle to move. He is a great Texel ram and has produced some superb lambs.
“We were really reluctant to part with him.
“One of the lambs fetched £4000.
“But we knew that we would have to put him down rather than allow him to suffer.” Thankfully, resourceful animal experts came up with a plan to save Stiffler.
John explained: “Our vet Andrew Armitage suggested he take part in a trial to fix his creaking, painful joints. He was walking pain-free within a day.”
Now feeling as good as new, the ram will be introduced to his 25 pedigree ewes when the breeding season starts next week.
The £500 rejuvenation treatment was supplied free to John as part of a trial.
It was carried out at Andrew Armitage’s Greenside Vet Practice in St Boswells.
The ram had platelet-rich plasma injected into his arthritic joints.
It’s a procedure normally used to treat dogs.
Andrew said: “We are the first dedicated regenerative medicine clinic in the UK and this is the first sheep to undergo it.
“He was too sore to mate with his ewes so we drained the arthritic joint fluid and replaced it with platelet-rich plasma.
“It reduced the inflammation and pain and he is mobile again.
“We were very pleased with his recovery. It was was quick and he will be able to mate this year.
The stem cells work by turning off the inflammation, allowing the joints to heal.
The cells are taken from the animal, grown in a lab and injected back into its joints.
Treatment lasts for 18 months. Owner John bought the plucky ram from a farmer in Northern Ireland for £1000.
He had previously fetched £9000 as a young tup, at Kelso auctions.
John added: “From now on it’s business as usual for our top ram.
“To be honest, I don’t think he knows how lucky he is.”