Category Archives: Care

Sheep Breeding Fun Facts

Breeding season is almost upon us. I have been reading selections from McDonald’s Veterinary Endocrinology to get ready. The ram has pheromones in his wool that stimulate the ewes to ovulate. Oddly enough, presenting ewes with pheromones from the hair of the billy goat will also cause ewes to ovulate. Goats and sheep are thought to have descended from a common ancestor with 60 chromosomes. Goats have 54 while sheep have 60. It is possible for goats and sheep to mate and even fertilize and egg, but the fetus is rarely viable except when produced in a lab. In breeds such as the Southdown, which developed in colder climates, the shorter days of late summer and Fall tell the ewe’s body when it is safe to get pregnant. Ewes will begin to come into season 60-120 days after June 21, […]

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Sheep Behavior Fun Facts

One of my favorite things about sheep is watching them interact with each other and their environment. I also wanted to know more about reducing their stress level, because I believe a happy animal is a healthier animal. So I found a fascinating paper by Warren Gill, Professor, Animal Science department of the University of Tennessee. This paper gave me more insight into their behavior than any of the books I have read. Here are some of the most interesting facts I gleaned from the paper: Sheep and goats were probably the second animal to be domesticated by humans, after the dog. It is estimated that they were domesticated 15,000 years ago. Sheep graze an average of 5-10 hours per day, depending on weather and quality of the forage. The devote more time to eating than to any other behavioral […]

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