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Country Discussion Topics
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Need information on SHEEP
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Larry Dudley    Posted 05-11-2004 at 10:24:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We have been looking into animals who will eat down brush and grass. It seems like goats will do a good job, but they also have some bad habits. So now we are looking at sheep - will sheep jump up on cars like goats? Will they try to go over fences? We have a 4-foot field fence with one strand of barbed wire at the top. Will they eat trees? We have many small trees that are 2-10 feet high (ponderosa pine, spruce, firs) - will sheep eat these types of trees? Will sheep eat buck brush? What kind of care and shelter do sheep require? Do they need to be penned in at night?


Montana Hank    Posted 05-13-2004 at 19:41:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well I see that ya decided to get in the sheep busines. If ya have a lot of grass on that 10 acr patch ya will probly need bout 10 or 12 sheep. But remember that if ya live in area that has cayotees and such varmits you probly should get bout 15 head or so. Ifin ya can keep em in sight of the house so you got a good kleer shot at any varmits that come for em. I got a good dog here thatreally works fine on the sheep. She is bout ready to whelp an ifin you are intrested I could save one pup for ya. She was easy ot teach an the pups might be good to.jus let me know. Good luck Hank


screaminghollow    Posted 05-12-2004 at 11:40:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
It isn't hard to learn to shear a few with hand shears and a stand to hold em. (I sheared one with a pair of barber shears once)
However, you can get "hair" sheep that don't need any shearing. Barbados, Dorper, and a few other breeds. They need a small shelter, but mine are often out grazing even in freezing rain and snow. Red necks down the holler from here use an old Chevy van for a goat/sheep shed.
Sheep tend to be skittish as blazes, if you get youngin's and bottle feed em, their much easier to handle and care for. On the other hand Bottle fed goats can be down right too friendly.


Larry Dudley    Posted 05-12-2004 at 20:00:53       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks for all the information. How many sheep would we need to eat down the grass for 10-15 acres? Do they need a big shelter? Goats are cute but I'm afraid they will destroy our small trees, so I guess we are going to stay with the sheep.


Montana Hank    Posted 05-11-2004 at 17:48:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well like the other fella says sheep are not the smartest critters God put on this earth. Infact they are not even on the smart scale high enough to even regesture. Fact is they are just plane dumb. They do take a certain amount of care to keep them from diein. You gots to have some sort of shelter from the weather specially in cold wet weather. You got to shear em in the spring or they will bake themselves in the summer sun. Drop over dead from heat stroke. If they are not on rocky ground ya need to keep their feet trimed up. Also you will mos likely loose some to cayotees an mountain lions if there any about so by some exteries. They will eat the grass down to the dirt if ya let em but probably wont work on the brush much. Like the other fella sayd if they get out they can be a pain to get back in. Sometimes they will stand and look at an open gate or a hole in the fence and just arent smart enough to no that they can walk right back throu it.A good sheep dog will be a big help so ya might git one of them for ya buy the sheep. Good luck


Bkeepr    Posted 05-11-2004 at 11:27:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Care of sheep is similar to goats. As I said below, we've got 2 sheep along with the goats.

First off, the sheep are ok, they're friendly, but they're not very endearing to me...I really love the goats (they're like very smart dogs or cats but better). Sheep aren't very smart, and have a habit of always doing the wrong thing that is frustrating.

Sheep don't bark trees like goats do, and they don't jump on things or over fences. Mine will push through fences if there's a gap or hole, and then they aren't smart enough to get back in (unlike the goats, who will normally come right back or at least try if they happen to get out.)

They require shearing at least annually. This can be a problem because many shearers won't come out to do just a few. So you either have to learn to shear yourself, or move your sheep to a farm with a big flock to get them sheared.

They need hoof trimming, but not as often as goats. I guess I trim the sheep hooves about twice a year. Regular worming, depends on your area but about once a quarter is average.

They need access to, at a minimum, a shed with overhead cover and 3 walls to block wind. My guys have free access to an old bank barn, so they're quite spoiled. If it rains or snows, they're in hollaring for feed.

Mine will eat mostly grass but some weeds too. They do munch a little bit on browse--leaves off of wild rose, perhaps lower young leaves off small trees but nothing like the goats. I don't know what buck brush is.

Sheep are somewhat prone to lambing problems, so if you breed them you need to get smart before lambing time comes. Storey publishing has a good book on raising sheep, too.

Tom A


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