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wether sheep


ejano
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Mine are usually mellower than either rams OR some of my older, bossy ewes ;). Most of my rams have been easy to handle as well but I am a big believer in not having "tame",handled/spoiled rams. A healthy wariness on both parts is recommended for rams. I do have a friend who has had problems with her ram trying to kill wethers but I'm not sure if that's normal or because she has them in a relatively small area.

 

Edited to add: You may have problems if the wether wasn't properly banded/castrated and still has a retained testicle.

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Mine are usually mellower than either rams OR some of my older, bossy ewes ;). Most of my rams have been easy to handle as well but I am a big believer in not having "tame",handled/spoiled rams. A healthy wariness on both parts is recommended for rams. I do have a friend who has had problems with her ram trying to kill wethers but I'm not sure if that's normal or because she has them in a relatively small area.

 

Edited to add: You may have problems if the wether wasn't properly banded/castrated and still has a retained testicle.

 

Thanks -- I'm trying to decide "whether" or not to include one in my small flock. So far, I've chosen three ewe lambs. (Clun Forest x Tunis) I'll be picking two Shetlands in a few weeks.

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I own two wethers, a polled one and a horned one. They got to live to serve as part of the dog training group.

They are both pretty mellow, and very easy to handle (they were no problem during shearing two weeks ago), much easier than intact rams, and I´d say also than the older ewes.

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I own two wethers, a polled one and a horned one. They got to live to serve as part of the dog training group.

They are both pretty mellow, and very easy to handle (they were no problem during shearing two weeks ago), much easier than intact rams, and I´d say also than the older ewes.

 

Would they mix okay with the ewes or require separate quarters?

 

Liz

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Our wethers are very accommodating. Never get Bottle baby wethers, they can be as aggressive as BB rams;

 

Ours mix well with the flock and although they don't like it, are the puppy sheep or new dog sheep for training. They've had the winter off...now time to get back to work

 

Cynthia

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A very inspiring question :D :

 

Whether a wether is good in all weather

or whether a wether would wither together

 

with ewes or with lambs

or with mean nasty rams?

 

And wither would wethers go hide in bad weather?

Hither or thither would stay woolly wethers?

Would they need watching, and do they need tethers?

 

Two little thingies they're short of at most

yet so many questions one needs to post.

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Our wethers are very accommodating. Never get Bottle baby wethers, they can be as aggressive as BB rams;

 

Ours mix well with the flock and although they don't like it, are the puppy sheep or new dog sheep for training. They've had the winter off...now time to get back to work

 

Cynthia

 

Thanks all, I'll be much better armed with information when I go to make my selection.

 

Maja, I like your poem!

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I would not go out looking to purchase wethers. If I ended up keeping some(born here) that I was fond of for working dogs then I guess I'd feel it'd be reasonable.

STM it's a bit of a waste if you're going out to buy them, you can't sell them for meat when they get to dogged, they can't reproduce and are hard to "pass on" to other sheep people.

 

If it were me, I'd only buy ewes, you can always decide to breed them if you want some wethers.

 

 

Down in AR I kept wethers (maybe 3) one for ram company, one for llama company and one cause he was hard to catch so he just got worked and kept with the ewes. I gave away 2 of them to go along with my llama when he went to his new home. I don't remember what happend to the one that was so sneaky and hard to catch.

 

Now a days with the sheep market so nice, maybe they'd sell better than they used to....

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I would not go out looking to purchase wethers. If I ended up keeping some(born here) that I was fond of for working dogs then I guess I'd feel it'd be reasonable.

STM it's a bit of a waste if you're going out to buy them, you can't sell them for meat when they get to dogged, they can't reproduce and are hard to "pass on" to other sheep people.

 

If it were me, I'd only buy ewes, you can always decide to breed them if you want some wethers.

 

 

Down in AR I kept wethers (maybe 3) one for ram company, one for llama company and one cause he was hard to catch so he just got worked and kept with the ewes. I gave away 2 of them to go along with my llama when he went to his new home. I don't remember what happend to the one that was so sneaky and hard to catch.

 

Now a days with the sheep market so nice, maybe they'd sell better than they used to....

 

A good point. I am getting two different kinds of sheep - three Clun Forrest x Tunis cross (lamb) ewes, which I've all ready chosen - these I hope to increase slowly to a flock of about 20 over the next several years. We'll bring them home in about a month.

 

The other two are Shetlands and as their wool is at a larger premium than the meat, I was hoping for the widest possible choice in terms of color. For, example, if there was a true black that happened to be a wether, then I might be very tempted to choose that one if I knew it would fit into my small flock with no problems - no room for troublemakers! Of course, though I am not planning to breed the Shetlands, it would be wisest to preserve options. The Shetland flock is due to start lambing in about two weeks -

 

Thanks,

Liz

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Have you worked Shetlands with your dogs before? I tried a few last year and it didn't go very well. They didn't flock well and if the dog got too close, they would scatter or jump 3 or 4 feet in the air right over the dogs head. I don't know if this is typical of the breed, or just the few that I had. They had never seen a dog before I got them. Also, my dogs are cowdogs, so they tend to work close and can be pushy.

 

I hope you have a better experience than I had.

Glenn

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since I'm not a spinner I guess I never thought of wool being why I'd keep a wether. For me, wool is just a hassle. I've never had a fine wool breed nor do I know how to spin.

 

Hair all the way....no fuss, no muss.

 

I was out checking sheep today. My Dorpers and Katadhin ram look great. The 2 suffix rams have spring grass poo issues. They just don't seem to be as hardy as the rest of the flock.

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Have you worked Shetlands with your dogs before? I tried a few last year and it didn't go very well. They didn't flock well and if the dog got too close, they would scatter or jump 3 or 4 feet in the air right over the dogs head. I don't know if this is typical of the breed, or just the few that I had. They had never seen a dog before I got them. Also, my dogs are cowdogs, so they tend to work close and can be pushy.

 

I hope you have a better experience than I had.

Glenn

 

Hi Glenn,

 

I hope I do as well...

 

Yes, I have been forewarned about a certain wildness in Shetlands :) - I posted a question here last fall and did some information mining elsewhere as well. Mine are to be young lambs from a calm flock of about 40 who are used to a livestock guardian dog. I have moved about in the flock several times, met the ewes who are lambing this year and they are all quite tame - the shepherd visits them every morning with a small amount of grain. I also plan to tame the heck out of these two and to keep firmly in areas where I am certain they are confined so I don't have to go chasing them all over the valley.

 

As the flock grows, the Clun Forest X will have considerably more freedom - doing their job of grazing down the hillside and two small meadows. These the dogs will have the job of bringing back at night to the "home" paddock for safe keeping.

 

That's the plan anyway....but with a nod to Burns, "The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/ Gang aft agley..."

 

 

Liz

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since I'm not a spinner I guess I never thought of wool being why I'd keep a wether. For me, wool is just a hassle. I've never had a fine wool breed nor do I know how to spin.

 

Hair all the way....no fuss, no muss.

 

I was out checking sheep today. My Dorpers and Katadhin ram look great. The 2 suffix rams have spring grass poo issues. They just don't seem to be as hardy as the rest of the flock.

 

 

Yes, I am most interested in the wool...shh, don't tell my husband, but I'd like to slip in a few specimens of other fine wool breeds as well...but that's for the future... One fence at a time :).

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This will be interesting, I've never found sheep that I've tamed to be much for working the dogs. They will turn into knee knockers. Not that I can't call my sheep (if I've been graining them lately) but none consider me their friend. I'm the lady with the dogs.

I don't think I'd be trying to tame them to much. That's what you have dogs for!

 

Me old flock, had the ewes for years, would let me come right up to them when it was lambing time but other than that, they weren't my friends. It was a nice combo. My new sheep....don't like me one little bit! But that could be becasue I don't want sheep at my knees. When working a dog if sheep get to close to me, I tend to bop them on the nose with a light weight stock stick. Nope, I'm not their friends. But I also don't have knee knockers or sheep that run to me if they see a dog starting on an outrun.

 

Good luck on your new adventure!

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This will be interesting, I've never found sheep that I've tamed to be much for working the dogs. They will turn into knee knockers. Not that I can't call my sheep (if I've been graining them lately) but none consider me their friend. I'm the lady with the dogs.

I don't think I'd be trying to tame them to much. That's what you have dogs for!

 

Me old flock, had the ewes for years, would let me come right up to them when it was lambing time but other than that, they weren't my friends. It was a nice combo. My new sheep....don't like me one little bit! But that could be becasue I don't want sheep at my knees. When working a dog if sheep get to close to me, I tend to bop them on the nose with a light weight stock stick. Nope, I'm not their friends. But I also don't have knee knockers or sheep that run to me if they see a dog starting on an outrun.

 

Good luck on your new adventure!

 

Yes, with the Shetlands, it would be best to strike a balance between "wild" and so tame I can't be free of them. I've no wish to be over run each time I enter the paddock. I plan to be much less friendly with the Cluns -- as you say, just enough to be able to handle them when necessary.

 

 

Keep the good advice coming -- I've got a great deal to learn -- my largest goal at this point is to not provide entertainment for the neighbors :).

 

 

Liz

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This will be interesting, I've never found sheep that I've tamed to be much for working the dogs. They will turn into knee knockers. Not that I can't call my sheep (if I've been graining them lately) but none consider me their friend. I'm the lady with the dogs.

I don't think I'd be trying to tame them to much. That's what you have dogs for!

 

 

I would second this, the same thing ( not flocking well, too wild etc) is being said of icelanders, the only breed available to me. But getting into the border collie scene here, at the people who own good dogs you are likely to find a training group of docile knee knockers.

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On come on now...entertainment by neighbors can be lots of fun!

Plus they'll never know if you're doing it right or wrong! :lol:

 

Oh, so true, but I can't think my cousin would be overly pleased to find me pursuing my sheep through his vegetable garden...:). But this is really going to be fun. I am really looking forward to it. Thanks for the encouragement!

 

Liz

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I would second this, the same thing ( not flocking well, too wild etc) is being said of icelanders, the only breed available to me. But getting into the border collie scene here, at the people who own good dogs you are likely to find a training group of docile knee knockers.

 

 

not sure I'm reading this right. Are you saying the sheepdog people have docile knee knockers?

That's not what I want nor look for here. Throw some chevioets into the mix. they will keep you sheep jumpy!

 

I like a varied group (not so much breed but temperments) so I have sheep for all stages. But, At the moment I have few sheep, in a month I'll have lots but most will be undogged suffix. If you and the dog get over the size and they don't stomp the dog, they are great for working on big outruns. The don't much run, they just stand and wait to see what's gonna happen. My dorpers came here becuase the person said they were to heavy for her. New open pastures, not many dogs working them and they are perfect for us. They are bred to a big ol' suffix ram. They'll take advantage of a dog that's not right or not covering but if the dog is decent the are great. I can't work on huge outruns without some grain (witch I haven't figured out how to give them and make it last long enough to get a big out run in) or someone to hold them. If given half a chance they'll take off for the woods but then we get to practice blind outruns, I make the best of what the day might hand me.

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STM it's a bit of a waste if you're going out to buy them, you can't sell them for meat when they get to dogged, they can't reproduce and are hard to "pass on" to other sheep people.

This must be a regional difference. Most folks I know keep ewe lambs as replacements and sell wether lambs and extra ewes as meat. I've never had a buyer turn down a wether for slaughter.

 

J.

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even an older wether? With prices up right now you could probably sell anything but who wants to butcher old wethers, cept for dogs? Young ones are what I sell for meat, that and ewe lambs that don't meet up to replacement standards or are extras.

I was assuming that Liz would be keeping them a while, at least past a year.

 

I've been wondering about selling my lambs right at weaning this year. I hear the prices between them and fat lambs isn't much different. What's your regional ideas and pricing on that???

I kept a ewe lamb that was meant for slaughter but got bred to quickly (or I kept her to long... She was small and nothing speical. I'd say under 100# (hair/wool cross) I sold her and her lamb (about a week old) for about 160.00 - fees. I was pleased.

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not sure I'm reading this right. Are you saying the sheepdog people have docile knee knockers?

 

No, that was not what I meant. I just wanted to say that tough they are a "difficult" breed (icelanders) even here you find that people who have good dogs have also a couple of sheep that are dogged to the point of being pretty docile. This does certainly not go for their entire flock. Sheep are kept free range here, so they are not on the farm over the summer months,but serious stockdog people (like me said the newbie ;) ) keep a small training group back at the farm with the explicit goal to train the dog, they naturally become pretty dogged.

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