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Single sheep...bad idea? Dang Craigslist!!

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  • Single sheep...bad idea? Dang Craigslist!!

    I have been thinking about adding a few sheep to my farm for some natural weed control. I have 5 full size horses and a mini and 4 pastures that I rotate them in. We also have about 80 momma cows.


    I saw the above on my local CL. I am interested in hair sheep and have researched the Katahdin breed (what she is). They apparently do better in the heat and humidity down here and are more resistant to disease and parasites.

    Is a sheep happy with horses (or even cows) for companionship or do they need other sheep (or goats). We owned goats when I was growing up and I am not a big fan. I like that the sheep do their own thing and are more independent. It is hard enough doing chores with the horses breathing down my neck!

    I guess I could get her sire (also on CL) but he would have to be castrated which means more $.

    My 2 full size geldings go out with the mini so I could put the sheepette with them so she would be with something similar to her size.

    2 of my horse fields are 4 board post/rail and the other 2 are mesh. Do you think the wood would keep sheep in?
    Animals are not disposable!!!

  • #2
    Don't under any circumstances take a male sheep. Don't know how much is helped by gelding, but older male sheep, even hand raised ones are a pain (literally) and are well named Rams

    We boarded with sheep. They had little to do with the horses. Don't know why and they were not overstocked, but it seemed to me we could never get away from the sheep manure pellets. They were everywhere. Seemed slightly less destructive than goats - slightly.

    Personally, I wouldn't go there on purpose again.


    • #3
      We have a neighbor who started out with three neutered males, two of them were agressive and a pain in the behind. They took a magical trip to mutton-land.

      The remaining wether is quite nice, very friendly, doesn't escape the way the goats did, and is madly in love with the neighbor's horse. Neighbor also owns a mini donk, and they get along fine, but the horse and the sheep are buddies.

      Athough I've heard that sheep really need to live with other sheep, based on what I've seen, I'd rather have a single female out with another type of animal than the female and the male, even if you were planning on castrating.
      "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


      • #4
        We have a half grown ewe with our horses and she is really neat. I posted a thread on Off Course when we found her, but long story short she just appeared in the pasture one day. We were unable to locate her owners so she stayed with us. She is a hair sheep, looks like a Dall as near as I can tell.

        -Fine without other sheep; loves the company of horses
        -Low maintenance (so far I have trimmed her hooves once and dewormed her, thats it)
        -She prefers to eat what the horses don't like to graze on
        -Not messy or destructive

        -Not all of our horses like her, some want to chase/paw/kick/bite her
        -She goes through the fences like they aren't there unless the fence is solid mesh
        -Horse mineral is bad for sheep (copper in particular) so I now hand feed minerals and feed the horses in large tubs that the lamb can't reach the bottom of; she just gets what little dribbles out of their mouths
        -She would really prefer not to walk around and graze all day; her m.o. seems to be browse/graze, lay down, repeat and she gets a little hot having to trail her herd when she would prefer to rest in the shade (Pro: she gets under her favorite mare for shade and it is adorable!)

        Anyway, so there are a few cons but we really love the little lamb. When she first wandered up we had a good home lined up for her but my husband decided that she was too cute to give away (he usually isn't swayed by cuteness).

        Consider yourself enabled


        • #5
          My sister has raised sheep for years. According to her a single sheep does not do well. She has kept a few of the wethers over the years and they have not become agressive but they were castrated as lambs.
          I'm a second hand Vegan. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.


          • #6
            We have a single sheep, unfortunately. Never wanted her, but she got dropped off at our place anyways. We can't have her out with the horses because she just goes though the fence (3 strand electric, not mesh), so she gets staked out in the grass and we always make sure she has shade and water. When she first came to us, she thought she was a dog (rich people had her for their kids, and let her run loose with dogs), and now she considers herself more of a horse. So she gets a little upset when she can't see the horses.

            Personally, she's a pain in the butt, literally! She's a jacobs sheep and 4 small nubs of horns, two on top of her head, and she's starting to get more and more agressive as she gets older.


            • #7
              Sheep can get very unsettled being alone, and that can be reflected in their health later on. I'd say if you want to go the sheep route, at least three is a safe number (less than three pushes them to scatter when herded, if you plan on needing to gather a sheep from a field, etc). Having horses and cows would be easier on the sheep than being absolutely alone, but it's probably best to have another wooly buddy.

              Personally, I adore sheep, but they can be difficult (not very hardy).


              • #8
                We have one sheep. It was NOT planned. He just showed up one day and that was 6 years ago. He is entire, not wethered. He lives in the barn yard, which is about 1/4 acre of grass surrounding the stable. He's sheepish, but perfectly nice - not at all aggressive. I wouldn't trade him for the world.

                He seems pretty happy here and seems to be companionable with the horses. He used to go out with the girls, but the horses just play too rough for him. Now that my numbers are down, he has his own stall and he loves that. He comes and goes as he pleases.

                We have 4 board fence which holds him just fine. When we do barn the gates are open. He will wander off, but always come running back in before we are done for the shift. Have I mentioned how cute he is?

                The biggest pain is clipping him once a year. I am not talented enough to shear him. It takes me hours, but then it's done. I trim his feet 3/4 times a year and worm him and give him rabies shots. Other than that he is very low maintenance.

                SCFarm (Enabler #2)
                The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.