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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2004
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    Left coast, left wing, left field
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    6,256

    Default Tell me about SHEEP!

    I don't know anything about sheep. I will confess, I am only considering one or more sheep because we have had an outbreak of tansy in our pastures this summer, and it is difficult and time-consuming to control. I have heard that sheep can eat it without being harmed, and actually prefer it.

    It's of course not like buying a lawnmower, when the thing you need for your farm is another animal! I'd like to know how to care for the animal before I even consider it.

    Do sheep need shelter? Are they hard to keep in fences? Prone to illnesses or other problems? Coyote bait? Trainable, i.e. could I get them in at night/out during the day? Anything else about them I should know?
    Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf

    Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 3, 2007
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    North-Central IL
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    3,470

    Default

    I know very little myself besides that they're cute and go baaaaaa, but my girl friend keeps some and I know you'll need to have them sheared and they generally aren't really bright. Hers aren't hard to keep fenced and they know to come in at night to eat. I'm pretty sure you need to keep them in at night to safeguard from predators. And, of course, when your sheep arrive we will need photos
    Quarry Rat



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2008
    Location
    Longing to be where I once was.....
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    2,190

    Default

    I had hair sheep ( no need to shear) for 5 years and thoroughly enjoyed them. You want at least 2 because they are herd animals too. Sheep cannot tolerate copper so they need special sheep feed / minerals with low copper. They will graze the grass down to nubs so they need a decent sized area. The need shelter from cold/ heat. They do not squeeze, climb or push on fences like goats but are prized targets for predators. A standard livestock square wire fence is fine. They need deworming as they can be prone to parasites especially if kept in the same pasture all the time. Hooves need to be trimmed a couple times a year( not difficult) . My sheep would come when I called them ( just like my cows, horses, goats and pigs do) If they know they will get a little feed you can train them to come in when you want. they will be waiting for you.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
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    4,988

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JoZ View Post
    Do sheep need shelter? Are they hard to keep in fences? Prone to illnesses or other problems? Coyote bait? Trainable, i.e. could I get them in at night/out during the day? Anything else about them I should know?
    Yes.
    Some breeds (*cough* shetlands) are. Others not so much. Maybe you could try Katahdins? They're a hair sheep and I've not known them to be escape artists.
    Parasites, as said above. Also be sure they can't get into your horse feed, if your horse feed or mineral lick contain copper.
    Lambs, yes. Grown sheep - I don't know. I do know that a dog can run them to death, so maybe coyotes could too. Most people I know with sheep have some kind of guardian animal out with them - LGD, donkey, etc.
    Yes, they'll come to feed. Or you could get a border collie!
    Awesome animals. Who, as said above, like to live in flocks. I'd plan on at least three.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2012
    Location
    knee deep in Oregon mud
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    649

    Default

    My SO has katahnid sheep (a breed of hair sheep), and they are relatively maintenance free other than that which candyappy already mentioned.

    The 12 sheep are on 2.5 acres along with 1-2 cows, and other than when the cows let them out the sheep always stay in the pasture. For shelter they have a large run in that can be gated closed. They also get fed their grain and alfalfa in the run in, so to lock them in we just put food in and close the gates.

    They are out 24-7 most of the time, and only one predator attack in several years. There is a ram in the flock, and I think that helps to deter predators somewhat; as do the cattle and the dogs. Dogs are actually a great coyote deterrent in general, but some can't resist chasing sheep.

    Beware that if they are going to be in the same pasture with horses at some point, the horses may enjoy chasing them. My dressage horse will get down and cut sheep, but could care less about the cows .
    It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
    Theodore Roosevelt



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
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    10,565

    Default

    They're very sensitive to copper. Keep them out of your horse food/sups.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 14, 2007
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    821

    Default

    You've had some good advise here. I second the vote for hair sheep - no shearing. Unless you have dog/coyote proof fencing, I suggest bringing them in at night. Even with a ram, dogs/coyotes will chase and kill sheep. (Lost three ewes and my 500 pound ram to a 'pack' of three big dogs.) Some donkeys can be good guardians, most are not. Forget llamas as guardians. A guardian breed dog can be good, but if you only have a few sheep, not sure it'd be worth the trouble. I don't know about the kind of weeds or grass you have, but sheep will not eat long grasses - you know, the stuff you think looks great. You may also have to supplement with hay - we used alfalfa. They can be cute - or very noisy and annoying.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2007
    Location
    Wilsonville, Ontario, CANADA
    Posts
    4,364

    Default

    You've GOT to get a "screaming" sheep!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=SIaFtAKnqBU

    Would put the fear of Christ into anything that comes onto your property!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2011
    Location
    over the rainbow
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    772

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
    Maybe you could try Katahdins?
    i thought you said "Kardashians..." i need to get of the computer...



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2009
    Location
    Pacific NW
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    1,751

    Default

    You must get yourself some sheep. I second the Katahdin recommendation. I bought a flock last year for me dogs. Started with 7 last year, bred them and ended up with 19. I've been selling those off....

    They are great lawnmowers. My pasture looked like a golf course. The graze much more evenly than the horses....

    Yes, they are coyote bait, so I have electric mesh fence. It seems to work so far.....

    They learn really fast, especially when food is involved....

    They are however sheep, and prone to panic and run like ...well like sheep!.....

    This is why you need sheep

    http://youtu.be/f06Ao3e1U2E
    Turn off the computer and go ride!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Location
    Evansville, Wisconsin
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    3,081

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by foggybok View Post
    You must get yourself some sheep. I second the Katahdin recommendation.
    I have Katahdins as well. Mine are just pets. I bought them both at an auction as weanlings, so they're very friendly now. Not so much at first, but I brought them home and put them in a stall so I could interact with them a lot the first week or so, and they warmed up to me really fast. Now they're halter broken, so I can lead them in or out, or hand graze them in weedy spots in the lawn. They were very dramatic about it at first, but they were really fast learners, so it didn't take long.

    Besides not having to be shorn, my hair sheep love being groomed when they're shedding, so that's a nice bonus when you're making friends with them.

    My mares drive off coyotes pretty well, and they get along great with my sheep, so they all go out together when the horses are out. My horses only go out on grass for a few hours a day, though, because they're so fat, so when the horses are on the dry lot, the sheep go in their own grassy paddock with no-climb fencing. When they're out together, the sheep will actually "flock" with the horses if anything makes them nervous, which is nice since my horses are so good with them.

    As PP have mentioned, they're very sensitive to copper, so I put the horse's TM block where the sheep can't get to it.

    My understanding is that sheep are much more sensitive to heat than cold, and they like having shade in the summer, but they cope with the cold quite well.

    I have pretty ordinary 5-strand smooth wire and electric fencing in the big pasture, and so far we haven't had any problems with them challenging it or squeezing out. Nor has the neighbor with her Lincoln sheep, and her fencing is exactly the same as ours (we share one fenceline).

    And, or course, they're adorable. Here's Abba: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn...type=3&theater

    And Lola: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn...type=3&theater

    Both of them out with my mares: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...type=3&theater

    And my horses, my sheep, and the neighbor's horse, donkey, and sheep: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...type=3&theater

    And the obligatory baby pictures from when I first brought them home - Abba: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...type=3&theater

    And baby Lola: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...type=3&theater

    Yes, they're both wethers (neutered males). Lola's just a little effeminate
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2007
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    4,131

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrueColours View Post
    You've GOT to get a "screaming" sheep!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=SIaFtAKnqBU

    Would put the fear of Christ into anything that comes onto your property!
    OMG, you were not exaggerating!
    That's like having every scary movie you've ever seen playing on the TV.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Another vote for Katahdins! Again keep them away from copper.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    9,434

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by skippy60 View Post
    i thought you said "Kardashians..." i need to get of the computer...
    Oh, I don;t know....
    A Kardashian would probably do an excellent job of keeping predators out.
    Might annoy the heck out of any other livestock, though.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2012
    Posts
    58

    Default

    I thought Kardashians WERE predators



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2006
    Location
    New York State
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    1,430

    Default

    I have four pet sheep. One Finnsheep ewe, one Icelandic wether and a Jacob ewe and her 2012 lamb, a wether.

    My sheep are very friendly and not dumb at all. I find them very engaging pets, especially my Icelandic, Wickery. Wick was raised as a school project for troubled youth and he just loves to be hugged, kissed and scrubbed. My little Finnsheep ewe has birth defects and dwarfism and is a very special girl. The Jacob sheep are gorgeous! They have four horns. My ewe is learning to be a pet sheep as she came from a breeding operation. Her lamb is as friendly as can be. They are in my backyard and have a four foot high fence to protect them from predators and a calf dome for shelter, along with sun shades. Mine eat mostly hay, since I only have limited grass, and I provide minerals, do their hooves and have my vet out for regular vaccines and checkups.

    They not only come when called they follow me around and want attention and scrubs all the time. Lovely animals.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
    Location
    Spotsylvania, VA
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    Default

    I've had both sheep and goats and IMHO while goats are escape artists they are in all other respects easier. You don't have to worry about copper and they don't seem to be as susceptible to predators. They are also more likely to eat brush than sheep.
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2007
    Location
    Ocala
    Posts
    332

    Default

    I have 1 sheep to keep my 1 horse company. Didn't plan it, but got the orphan lamb five minutes after she was born.

    My mare is kind of a loner and doesn't really like other horses, but she tolerates Claire since they live together.

    I show most weekends and over the past few months, it has become harder to separate them. So, I am now looking to get Claire her own pet/companion.
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  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2005
    Location
    Washington State
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    1,492

    Default

    I brought home a 6 year old Suffolk ewe last week. Not halter broke or trained to lead. Not one of my better ideas. I brought a bucket of oats and a rope to get her out of the trailer (she loaded just fine when I bought her). Opened the top part of my trailer, showed her the oats and put the rope around her neck. As I started to drop the ramp she jumped over it, pulled me off my feet and face planted me in the gravel. Then she ran up and down the driveway and finally down the road.

    Got to meet the new neighbors then as she made for their back yard. We couldn't catch her there but she ran back to my place and into the arena. Got her cornered and the neighbor managed to grab the rope. Then she laid down and wouldn't move. Got a goat out and she followed him up to the barn and into a stall.

    Fluffy has been hanging out in the stall for a week now and is coming around due to twice daily bribes of oats and alfalfa cubes. I got a halter on her the other day. Tomorrow I'm going to put her in the pony pasture since I'm moving the minis to the fair for the next week. Hope I won't be needing to neighbor's help to move her!
    Crayola Posse - Pine Green
    RIP Whinnie Pine (June 4, 1977 - April 29, 2008)



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
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    4,988

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy's Mom View Post
    I brought a bucket of oats and a rope to get her out of the trailer (she loaded just fine when I bought her). Opened the top part of my trailer, showed her the oats and put the rope around her neck. As I started to drop the ramp she jumped over it, pulled me off my feet and face planted me in the gravel. Then she ran up and down the driveway and finally down the road.

    Got to meet the new neighbors then as she made for their back yard. We couldn't catch her there but she ran back to my place and into the arena. Got her cornered and the neighbor managed to grab the rope. Then she laid down and wouldn't move. Got a goat out and she followed him up to the barn and into a stall.
    It's times like those that make you wonder how having animals is supposed to lower your blood pressure.



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