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Sheep Sheep Sheep

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  • Sheep Sheep Sheep

    Does anyone have any sheep? When our woods are cleared and planted I am thinking about getting a few sheep as pets. How are they to live with?
    My blog: Crackerdog Farm

  • #2
    My horse has her own sheep. Now sheep claims she is lonely when I take horse to shows every weekend and wants her own pet.

    Hmmmm....what type of pet to get for the sheep.
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      Adorable little fuzzbuckets

      Seriously, tons of them on farms I was working at in New Zealand and loved the little guys. Easier than most other livestock, IMO, small and rather dim-witted. But funny and sweet. Of course I am biased because I was there during lambing season! Nothing more awesome than lambs <3

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      • #4
        Can be sweet pets, do a much better job of clearing land than goats do BUT when we had them that yearly shearing cured me of wanting to keep them.
        I don't know how the hair breeds are.
        Oh..and you have to be aware that dogs from all over will want to kill your sheep.
        Safe fencing needed.
        You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

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        • #5
          I am seriously considering getting a few sheep in the spring, but I really know nothing about them. I have a 2.5 acre pasture (part of which is my septic field) that won't have horses on it and no desire to mow it all and my friends suggested sheep.

          I assume there is maybe a market for the meat or something? Not sure what they need for shelter or anything...have to do some researching this winter. I don't want to do it if I won't at least break even.

          Can I turn a regular or mini donkey out with sheep?
          DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by horseshrink View Post
            My horse has her own sheep. Now sheep claims she is lonely when I take horse to shows every weekend and wants her own pet.

            Hmmmm....what type of pet to get for the sheep.
            Cool how you color-coordinated your horse and sheep
            Answer to your ?: why, another sheep of course
            *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
            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
              I am seriously considering getting a few sheep in the spring, but I really know nothing about them. I have a 2.5 acre pasture (part of which is my septic field) that won't have horses on it and no desire to mow it all and my friends suggested sheep.

              I assume there is maybe a market for the meat or something? Not sure what they need for shelter or anything...have to do some researching this winter. I don't want to do it if I won't at least break even.

              Can I turn a regular or mini donkey out with sheep?
              I'm going to start with the Storey's Guide to Sheep. I am hoping to be able to put a meat steer out with them so it won't be lonely while it waits to be butchered. I need to plan shelters and improve the fencing first though.

              Horseshrink I love your picture!
              My blog: Crackerdog Farm

              Comment


              • #8
                Katahdins are great. They're a hair sheep, so no shearing. Ewes typically have twins (can have singles or triples, but not as frequent) and are easy lambers. If you're raising for meat, katahdins usually have a good dressing percentage.

                They're pretty hardy and can withstand a variety of environments. We've only lost one to predators in 3 years, and we live in a coyote and cougar filled area (not to mention everybody in our area has dogs). Livestock guardian dogs, llamas, and donkeys are all good predator deterrents.

                Fences should be good, but don't need to be anything special. Sheep are not fence challengers by nature. With fencing, its more about keeping unwanted critters out than sheep in.

                They are skittish at first, but once they trust you they get to be quite friendly and have funny little personalities. As another poster mentioned, sheep are rather dimwitted, but they can be entertaining. Food bribes are the best way to gain their trust, just be careful to not let them eat horse grain or have access to horse mineral blocks. These have high levels of copper, which sheep can't tolerate.

                We have 11 currently, 1 ram, 4 ram lambs that will be slaugtered next month, and 6 ewes. We had 8 ewe lambs from last year's crop as well, but we liked the ram and wanted to keep him, so we sold his daughters. Next year we will keep the daughters and sell or trade the ram for a different one. Our sheep live with a jersey steer (pet, not food), a jersey heifer (showed up to be weaned, still hasn't left) and a horse.
                It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                Theodore Roosevelt

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Thoroughbred in Color View Post
                  Katahdins are great. They're a hair sheep, so no shearing. Ewes typically have twins (can have singles or triples, but not as frequent) and are easy lambers. If you're raising for meat, katahdins usually have a good dressing percentage.

                  They're pretty hardy and can withstand a variety of environments. We've only lost one to predators in 3 years, and we live in a coyote and cougar filled area (not to mention everybody in our area has dogs). Livestock guardian dogs, llamas, and donkeys are all good predator deterrents.

                  Fences should be good, but don't need to be anything special. Sheep are not fence challengers by nature. With fencing, its more about keeping unwanted critters out than sheep in.

                  They are skittish at first, but once they trust you they get to be quite friendly and have funny little personalities. As another poster mentioned, sheep are rather dimwitted, but they can be entertaining. Food bribes are the best way to gain their trust, just be careful to not let them eat horse grain or have access to horse mineral blocks. These have high levels of copper, which sheep can't tolerate.

                  We have 11 currently, 1 ram, 4 ram lambs that will be slaugtered next month, and 6 ewes. We had 8 ewe lambs from last year's crop as well, but we liked the ram and wanted to keep him, so we sold his daughters. Next year we will keep the daughters and sell or trade the ram for a different one. Our sheep live with a jersey steer (pet, not food), a jersey heifer (showed up to be weaned, still hasn't left) and a horse.
                  Where did you get your sheep originally?
                  DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Thoroughbred in Color View Post
                    Katahdins are great. They're a hair sheep, so no shearing. Ewes typically have twins (can have singles or triples, but not as frequent) and are easy lambers. If you're raising for meat, katahdins usually have a good dressing percentage.

                    They're pretty hardy and can withstand a variety of environments. We've only lost one to predators in 3 years, and we live in a coyote and cougar filled area (not to mention everybody in our area has dogs). Livestock guardian dogs, llamas, and donkeys are all good predator deterrents.

                    Fences should be good, but don't need to be anything special. Sheep are not fence challengers by nature. With fencing, its more about keeping unwanted critters out than sheep in.

                    They are skittish at first, but once they trust you they get to be quite friendly and have funny little personalities. As another poster mentioned, sheep are rather dimwitted, but they can be entertaining. Food bribes are the best way to gain their trust, just be careful to not let them eat horse grain or have access to horse mineral blocks. These have high levels of copper, which sheep can't tolerate.

                    We have 11 currently, 1 ram, 4 ram lambs that will be slaugtered next month, and 6 ewes. We had 8 ewe lambs from last year's crop as well, but we liked the ram and wanted to keep him, so we sold his daughters. Next year we will keep the daughters and sell or trade the ram for a different one. Our sheep live with a jersey steer (pet, not food), a jersey heifer (showed up to be weaned, still hasn't left) and a horse.
                    Thank you! This is some great information.
                    My blog: Crackerdog Farm

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I love sheep! I have four. One Icelandic, two Jacobs and one Finnsheep. I got three as lambs and they are very tame and the mom of the young Jacob is learning that it's OK to be a pet sheep.

                      One of the nicest things I can do is go out and sit with them and give fleece massages. They are very serene and affectionate creatures and I really do enjoy mine.

                      I have a calf dome for three of them and a lean-to for the Finnsheep ewe, who is disabled. She has birth defects and is a dwarf. The other sheep pick on her so she has a separate area.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                        Where did you get your sheep originally?
                        They came with the property. Former owner moved to town and and SO offered to buy the sheep along with the house/land. We sold the old ram and traded with another sheep producer to get our current ram.
                        It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                        Theodore Roosevelt

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think sheep are great. Couple of things-- your fence needs to be a little more secure than for horses, plus you need to have a plan to deter predators if you are in an area with animals that will prey on sheep. I'm also a fan of hair sheep, but even with the hair sheep shearing is ideal.
                          www.plainfieldfarmky.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 2foals View Post
                            I'm also a fan of hair sheep, but even with the hair sheep shearing is ideal.
                            If you live where it is hot and humid in the summer, shearing the little buggers can make them more comfortable. Here in the soggy PNW, not so much.
                            It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                            Theodore Roosevelt

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: shearing, I think it also depends on the individuals, I have variation among my icelandics, some produce less wool than others, and some produce less with age. If you don't shear at all the sheep can develop wool "collars" that are difficult to remove, and it can be much harder to shear them later. If you are breeding I like shearing the ewes prior to lambing so I can see when they are getting close and to remove dirty tags of wool near their udders.
                              www.plainfieldfarmky.com

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Is shearing sheep like body clipping a horse or is it another skill entirely?
                                My blog: Crackerdog Farm

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Crackerdog View Post
                                  Is shearing sheep like body clipping a horse or is it another skill entirely?
                                  If you are shearing just to take off the wool, it is really similar. If you are shearing to sell the wool, it is more complicated.

                                  The lanolin in the wool will do a number on your clipper blades.

                                  I have Shetland sheep. I will usually shear 3 or 4 of them by hand (with a modified scissors.) It usually takes about an hour per sheep.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Crackerdog View Post
                                    Is shearing sheep like body clipping a horse or is it another skill entirely?
                                    OMG! OMG! I have body clipped horses all my life so I thought body clipping (shearing) the sheep pictured above would be piece of cake. After all, she's so much smaller.

                                    WRONG-O!!! I'm not sure if it is because she's a hybrid (half hair sheep/half wool sheep), but it's the most horrible job ever. The lanolin and dirt and thick hair/wool just trash clipper blades quickly. It takes me three days as I clip her in thirds. It's not something she volunteers for.

                                    Next year, I'm hiring a professional sheep shearer.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by horseshrink View Post
                                      OMG! OMG! I have body clipped horses all my life so I thought body clipping (shearing) the sheep pictured above would be piece of cake. After all, she's so much smaller.

                                      WRONG-O!!! I'm not sure if it is because she's a hybrid (half hair sheep/half wool sheep), but it's the most horrible job ever. The lanolin and dirt and thick hair/wool just trash clipper blades quickly. It takes me three days as I clip her in thirds. It's not something she volunteers for.

                                      Next year, I'm hiring a professional sheep shearer.
                                      You do want to use blades designed for the job. The blades used have a much coarser comb style, which traps less dirt. However, they also frequently nick the sheep so you have to be a bit more careful. Plus, the sheep are more squirmy than a been-there-done-that horse.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Take the sheep to the show too.

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