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Why are my sheep head butting each other?

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The girls were outside just now and I got to watch them do this weird little thing...two of them were head butting each other. Then a third came along and backed up one of them and they both advanced on the third, who then kept skittering backward.

 

I've seen goats do this and asumed it was play, but somehow my sheep just don't seem the playful type.

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We see lambs doing that all over Yorkshire every spring. And the various sheepy things at the Catskill Game Farm, back in the 1970s did that with each other and with our 6-year-old daughter, who thought it was great fun.

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Maybe they have itchy heads? Lots of deer flies around here lately..

 

The girls were outside just now and I got to watch them do this weird little thing...two of them were head butting each other. Then a third came along and backed up one of them and they both advanced on the third, who then kept skittering backward.

 

I've seen goats do this and asumed it was play, but somehow my sheep just don't seem the playful type.

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Thank you. I thought it might be a pecking order thing because the one who was getting backed down has been attempting to lead the train, it's the brown one who keeps leaving the grazing first. I just wasn't sure. Pecking order in horses isn't determined by head butt. It's usually the BUTT butt power that finishes those discussions. :rolleyes:

 

Well, she was roundly put in her place, just so.

 

It's interesting...all around me is drought but the drainage ditch in which my house sits is still pretty green....and with it, I have horrendous gnats. They don't seem bothered in the slightest.

 

I did think about putting garlic powder in their mineral salts to help with bugs, but frankly I think by the time you've pulverized and dried the garlic and let it sit in a bottle, it's pretty useless. Also, it might conflict with the mint. (Oh I am so going to hell.)

 

I think I just came up with artisinal lamb.

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We see lambs doing that all over Yorkshire every spring. And the various sheepy things at the Catskill Game Farm, back in the 1970s did that with each other and with our 6-year-old daughter, who thought it was great fun.

 

 

Oh ouch, Nancy.

 

Back when we had the TBs, we kept a couple three Nubian goats for milk. We were often recommended to people who had orphans and we kept the Nubians in milk during the breeding season for that purpose.

 

I got head butted once. It hurt.

 

 

 

 

This wasn't light hearted "spring fling" airs above the ground. This was pretty serious and calm and purposeful. I am pretty sure Bill is right but here's how dumb I am, I was wondering if it MEANT something, like I need to check the butters' ears or something because some weird mystery sheep worm was about to spiral out their ears.

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No harm in checking them out though. They do get bothered by bugs- seen it myself, but not to the point of distraction like cattle and horses. Of course, wait until they are in a better mood- lest they decide to try YOU out :rolleyes:

Julie

 

Oh ouch, Nancy.

 

Back when we had the TBs, we kept a couple three Nubian goats for milk. We were often recommended to people who had orphans and we kept the Nubians in milk during the breeding season for that purpose.

 

I got head butted once. It hurt.

This wasn't light hearted "spring fling" airs above the ground. This was pretty serious and calm and purposeful. I am pretty sure Bill is right but here's how dumb I am, I was wondering if it MEANT something, like I need to check the butters' ears or something because some weird mystery sheep worm was about to spiral out their ears.

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I just fixed the head (and people) butting with my rams. Ram shields applied--voila! no more smashing each other or people. They may not be very happy now that they're wearing classy leather face shields, but I sure am!

 

J.

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Julie

I never heard of these- what are they?

Julie

 

I just fixed the head (and people) butting with my rams. Ram shields applied--voila! no more smashing each other or people. They may not be very happy now that they're wearing classy leather face shields, but I sure am!

 

J.

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I am imagining Julie's sheep going around in Darth Vader helmets.

 

I really need to get out more.

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Julie

I never heard of these- what are they?

Julie

Julie,

They are leather face masks that block a ram's forward vision. No forward vision = less ability to ram anything. They were pushing and shoving yesterday, but couldn't back up and get a head of steam for any real butting because if they backed up, they could no longer see the other ram in front of them. Thanks to Robin for suggesting them when I mentioned I was having trouble with my big BFL x (Cassanova) coming after me. Although I generally take two dogs with me for protection when I go in the ram pen, several people pointed out that even a moment's inattention by a dog could result in an injured (or worse) dog or human, so I got the shields.

 

If you go to Premier's link here: ram shields, you can see what they look like. If you click on the "see more photos" link under the image of the shield and look at the first two pictures, you'll see what two of the rams now look like. The first is what Laura's ram is wearing, because he has horns; and the second picture looks very much like my BFL x ram in his lovely new adornment. Josias the karkul is shield-free because he is very mellow (raised from a long line of very mellow rams) and has shown no inclination to fight anything....

 

J.

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Hey, sheep blinkers, more or less. That makes sense.

 

I forgot to say, I checked their ears. They all have two and they all look pretty much the same. :rolleyes:

 

No itchy welts inside, no crusty ick or ooze I'd expect if the bugs were really bothering them.

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Hey Julie -

 

I was talking to Laura yesterday and she said the blackface ewe was still being nasty. I bet one of those shields would fix her too.

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Hey Julie -

 

I was talking to Laura yesterday and she said the blackface ewe was still being nasty. I bet one of those shields would fix her too.

That's not a bad idea, though she actually has been working okay the past few times I've done anything with the flock. (I even brought the flock up with Lark yesterday and did some shedding practice, and although that ewe tried to break off from the group, when I sent Lark around to her head and asked her to lie down, the ewe did turn instead of challenging the dog, so that's progress. I wouldn't want her in the flock if I were working the pups though.) She's always been one to turn on a dog that's pushing too hard, and that's more of what she's doing now, not coming across the pasture much any more, but I'll definitely keep it in mind if she continues to be a problem. I may be trading her and my other Scotty ewe to Tom F. for two of his karakuls. That should make Tom L. happy--though if he gets stuck with the Scotties at a trial, he might wish for those karakuls back! :rolleyes:

 

J.

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