View Full Version : Sheep help and advice!
Oct. 29, 2009, 11:41 AM
I am finally moving my horse home to the back yard/pasture. Since my sister never could really make up her mind about getting a horse and indeed never did I am getting a sheep from a friend to be a companion. I've always wanted sheep-except-this guy is a ram! My neighbors had a ram that they (as is their wont with everything) refused to neuter and it grew up into a big mean thing that butted people-hard. Supposedly he was of a sort that can be mean and this one is not. I had a ewe in mind but the guy said "oh this guy is better, if you get a ewe you'll have to get two, this one will be a much better companion, etc." Naturally I'm to get the ram and the horse tomorrow.
Any sheep herders out there have an idea? I grew up on a farm and am not scared of livestock or anything but a mean-whatever it is can be a pain in the butt-literally! I do know that with cattle breed makes a huge difference in the tractability of males and if this guy works out I'm not adverse to having him neutered. My old vet's wife had a sign in her office at the clinic that said "Neuter the World" and bascially I agree.
What do y'all think?
Oct. 29, 2009, 12:34 PM
We used to have 2 sheep at the barn, the horses didn't pay much attention to them. We had a male and a female, and honestly the female was the harder to deal with, the male was much more placid. We did have him castrated though as we are well aware of how birds and bee's work. Just know that they get into everything, and are not easy on fencing. We watched the female squeeze herself through the cattle barb wire one day! Thank god she had that full coat or we might have had issues.
Oct. 30, 2009, 08:39 AM
We rented a place and the neighbor's adopted two orphan lambs, male and female. The ram wasn't mean, really, but the older neighbor boy thought it was great fun to "play" with it. Anyway it developed quite a butting problem and finally made the freezer when it butted the landlord. Would it have been that way if the kid hadn't teased it or if it hadn't been so used to people, being an orphan? Can't say.
Oct. 30, 2009, 11:11 AM
An adult can really hurt you, I would recommend getting it castrated ASAP. If you are not using it for breeding, there is NO REASON in the WORLD to leave it intact.
Hopefully it's attitude will improve when the hormones chill out. If not he is only good for the freezer.
There are plenty of options for companion animals, no reason to keep a dangerous one.
Oct. 30, 2009, 12:40 PM
As said above, if you get it, castrate it immediately.
I think the guy is telling you that the ewes won't be good because they are easy to sell and the ram is not easy to sell or give away unless it is a rarer breed and he wants to sucker you. Rams need companions too, not just ewes.
Also read up on the type of wool this sheep will produce and if it will have a lot of lanolin in it. This is really oily and disgusting and some sheep people smell like sheep when they get it on them on a regular basis so consider that if you think you'll want to pet the sheep often.
Oct. 30, 2009, 12:56 PM
Horses don't speak sheep! I have both and don't run them in the same field together. The horses terrorize the sheep.
Most definitely stay away from a buck there is a reason they are called Rams! I used a Shakespearian breeding concept Oedipus wins in the fall and winters in the freezer! I keep only the ewes and gelding horses no fighting or bumping!
I had a gentle (castrated Llama) who got on well with the horses but preferred to hang with the sheep.
Horses do speak Goat but goats can cause trouble!! way too smart
Try to find a mini to keep the horse company my neighbor has a retired Mare with a Donkey for a pal.
Oct. 30, 2009, 07:23 PM
I turn out selected horses with my flock of sheep--some horses WILL terrorize sheep. The horses that do go out with the sheep seem to like the sheep, but I think most horses would prefer an equine type companion. I would definitely choose a sheep over a goat, though. I think a sheep would be as good of company as a goat, too.
Ok, a ram would have to be castrated for your situation. Rams will charge and behave aggressively in an unpredictable fashion. Never turn your back on a ram, even if it seems quiet! Wethers (castrated male sheep) are quite nice though.
The meat of a mature, intact ram is not terribly tasty--the hormones make it taste funny. If you were raising a ram lamb for meat you would either butcher it prior to sexual maturity, or castrate it. Your dogs would love the ram's meat, though.
One last problem with sheep--they are much more vulnerable to predators (stray dogs, coyote, etc.) than a llama or a donkey or a mini would be. So if you experience stray dogs on a frequent basis, a sheep might come to an untimely end.
Oct. 30, 2009, 07:34 PM
I've had one un-castrated ram here at my farm for about 6 years now. He just showed up one day and never left. I never found anyone to castrate him, so...
He's a good sheep. He hangs out in the stable yard, which is fenced off. He can go out with some of the horses, but not others. He is not really aggressive at all. He's rather sheepish. But if a stranger were to corner him, he would run them down to get away.
He is on the barn schedule and knows when it is time to do what. I trim his feet every couple of months myself, worm him occasionally (I fecal egg counts and his are very low) and clip him every spring - which is a big ordeal. (Shearing is for professionals!) But each year we both get better at it!
He wasn't my first choice, but he's worked out really well. I adore the guy.