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Castrated rams for dog training.


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As slaughter time is upon us (we´ll slaughter 65 lams later today) it´s also the time to decide what sheep will get culled and which will live. This autumn is the first time I´ll do this taking the dog training in consideration.

 

I will allow a couple of old ewes to live which otherwise had been culled with the aim to dog them and use them for training.

 

Due to unforeseen circumstances I own two castratred rams, one is horned, three years old, the other is polled, in his second year.

 

I am wondering if it is a good idea to let one of them live to be put in the training group, and I am leaning towards the younger one without the horns, also because he is relatively tame.

 

The thing is this animal will bring money if slaughtered (heavy, not a bad price per kilo), so dogging it comes at a price.

 

So, anyone experience with dogging castrated rams? Do they make good training material?

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I do, though now I won't castrate rams again (nothing to do with dogs or herding). It depends what our purpose exactly is of course, but if he is going to be just part of the flock, then I don't think he's be any additional advantage. The only difference I can see is they don't try to attack a dog if there is a ewe in season. But you get the same effect with an all-ewe flock.

 

Maja

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In the US it's quite common to keep castrated rams (wethers) for dog training. No worries about flushing, lambing, etc so they can work year round. Like any other sheep, the better your dogs, the better your sheep :rolleyes: My experience has been that how they do as training sheep has a bit more to do with their breed than with their gender.

 

Good luck with your training,

 

Amy

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A few people at my workplace don't understand flushing either. ( Just kidding!)

Flushing is having the ewe on a rising plane of nutrition in the hopes of causing her to shed more eggs while ovulating to increase the chances of twins

instead of singles. In my case I turn them onto lush pasture. No hope of that this year with the lack of rain. If you can't turn them into better pasture you can supplement them with a little grain to get the same effect. I would start "flushing" about three weeks before introduction of the ram. Hope this helps.

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I was wondering it had something to do with the sheep getting into the bathroom :rolleyes:

 

Very interesting, thank you :D . I think I'd rather not flush, because I prefer singles. It's because the ram is with the flock all the time and Cameroonian sheep are aseasonal, so they often have two births in one year.

 

Maja

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Do you prefer singles because your sheep are out on harsh range with scant feed or something like that? My feeling is that a ewe with a single

just barely breaks even. All your profit for the year is in the twin. Why not four lambs instead of two? But I suppose four lambs in two lambings

might be hard on the ewe. Some people try to have their ewes lamb every eight months so they get three lambings in two years here.

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Do you prefer singles because your sheep are out on harsh range with scant feed or something like that? My feeling is that a ewe with a single just barely breaks even. All your profit for the year is in the twin. Why not four lambs instead of two? But I suppose four lambs in two lambings

might be hard on the ewe. Some people try to have their ewes lamb every eight months so they get three lambings in two years here.

No, they have lots of good hay, plus the nursing ewes get oats. But the ewes get kind of skinny with twins, and twin don't grow as fast as the singles. I suppose with hair sheep it shows more. Our sheep are fairly rare so we get more for them than just meat price. They always manage to get at least one lamb in the middle of bitter Polish winter, I suppose its because they are from Africa :rolleyes: . So two female lambs buy hay for everybody in the winter (males go cheaper, since I don't sell pairs, they often do go as meat lamb). In the summer they all pasture. We have more hay than we need, but the one hayfield is too far from home, and we'd have to commission someone to cut it, rake it, and bale it for us - but that makes the hay almost twice the price of the hay that we just go and pick up from a farmer with his own equipment. this world is crazy. So there are about 5 acres of a beautiful hay filed doing nothing.

Maja

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Thanks for all the replies in this thread (and your PM Tea).

I will let both wethers live, complement them with probably three older ewes (that were eligable for culling). These I will dog with the help of a friend who has good working dogs.

This will allow me to put the sheep (5 yearling) into the production flock. They had turned somewhat sour due to this unexperienced trainer with unexperienced dogs.

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Smalahunder: wethers are best for dog training anyway. No ewes protecting lambs or rams butting your dog. No worries about working

pregnant sheep, etc.

 

Mala: That must be nice to have all that hay. This year we are stocking up early. We have had scanty rain this summer and the

farmers only got about half the hay they usually do. My sheep are hair sheep developed in Africa also but they are not so rare anymore.

Quite a few people that keep hair sheep here in the states have Dorpers (my breed) or Dorper crosses.

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