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Taking Home Your New Lamb

Sheep are flock animals, and separation from the flock is one of the most stressful things imaginable for a sheep. Anything you can do to make the move less stressful for him will keep your lamb healthier. Here are some tips based on my experience, the experiences of others, and research papers I have read. Transportation: If you don’t have a sheep/goat carrier, most young Southdown lambs will fit in a large dog kennel (i.e., Lab/German Shepherd size). I suggest using bungee or rubber cords to reinforce it, because lambs can bash their way out of things (including cable ties, so don’t rely on those unless you use a lot of them). If the weather is warm, add shade but don’t cut off air circulation. Tie a tarp or sheet down well because flapping objects make sheep nervous. Feed: Ask […]

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And Now a Few Words from Nigel.

Hi! I am Nigel, the Ram lamb. My ancestors are famous rams named “Progressor” and “El Nino.” The humans I live with are crazy. They have 5 coyotes for pets, but they don’t look or act much like coyotes. One is black and white and not much bigger than the rabbits. They are scared of us sheep. So we like to mess with their minds. We are not afraid of them. Bucket Lady is always talking about Thefair. I am not sure what Thefair is, but it means that she walks me around in circles and gives me treats. It also means I have to eat special food and can’t just run wild and eat whatever I want. Worst of all, Bucket Lady shaved my man-bits. So I hate Thefair, whatever it is. Here I am chilling out with my […]

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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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Southdown Fun Facts

In 1955, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower kept at least one Southdown ewe on his Gettysburg, PA farm. The president of the American Southdown Breeders’ Association bred a ewe for the President “free of charge….hoping of course that you will have some Southdown lambs for the grandchildren.” On June 28, 1811, Sir John Throckmorton won a thousand-guinea bet by sitting down to dine in a damson-colored suit made from Southdown wool which had been shorn at sunrise that very morning. Damson refers to the Damson plum, which was used for dyeing (deep purple-blue-plum color). The two sheep were shorn at 5 AM, and the tailors completed the coat at 6:20 PM. The cloth was described as “a hunting kersey of the admired Wellington color.” Five thousand villagers turned out to see Sir John don the coat! Here is a link […]

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