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Author Topic: Why does my sheep not like my wife?  (Read 1152 times)

Trix

  • Joined Jul 2020
Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« on: July 14, 2020, 09:15:47 pm »
Ok, so..... one of my boys (a Wether) is my biggest fan. Always nudging me for a fuss and a rub, little tail wagging away, soppy as a very soppy thing. But he rears up and becomes a right arse whenever my wife is in the field. As soon as she’s at the gate he runs over and butts her, he hurts her quite a lot. Why?!
She’s spent more time with them than I have. Bottle fed them when they were lambs (orphans), and was more often than not the one who would spend time with them, put hay out and give the occasional treat when they were younger. So she should be their hero! Since he turned 2 he’s been a right royal git with her, always butting and rearing up... to the point where she’s scared of going in there on her own.
Why? What can we do to stop this behaviour?
Oh, being popular is a curse, I tell you  ;) :eyelashes: :roflanim:

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 10:14:31 pm »
He has no fear of her- she has always fed him, therefore he sees her as lower in the pecking order. I have a tup like this- I cannot trust him, he is going cull tomorrow  :rant:

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2020, 10:41:02 pm »
Weeeell @Trix .....I'm sorry to say that the pair of you have made him that way.  Male sheep, castrated or not, are not appropriate as pets.  Sheep are not humans and they do not have human emotions of gratitude and duty. Sheep are sheep and have only the life behaviours needed to be a successful sheep.  Just because a male has been castrated does not mean that he has no male characteristics, which includes dominating the females and many of the males of the flock, and maintaining his position by fighting.  Your wether accepts you as flock leader, but your wife is a female (all animals are embarrassingly aware of the sex of humans) and now he has achieved adulthood he will fight to keep her in her place, which so far is below him in the pecking, or bashing, order.
She is very sensible to keep out of his way until there is a solution.  I so, so wish that it was never recommended to new keepers to start their sheep ownership with 'bottle babies' - just that title shows they are not going to be treated as sheep. They become pets, are cute and loving to have around (they like to be fed) but all too soon they turn into big, smelly, rambunctious adults which still think they are cute and can get away with the behaviour they exhibited before.
The only answer is to make the decision to send this sheep off for meat.  You must not pass him on to another keeper as you are dumping your problem on someone else who could become injured. It's a horrible decision to have to take and you will learn a life lesson from it, but do it before your wife is seriously injured. Understand too that he will move on to fighting with you soon as well.
The only answer for bottle lambs is to feed them on an automatic feeder so 'humans' do not equate with 'sheep'


By the by, it's not that he doesn't 'like' your wife, it's that he likes her all too much and wants her in his harem  ;D
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 03:50:01 pm by Fleecewife »
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silkwoodzwartbles

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2020, 01:10:21 pm »
Ditto the other two - send him as a cull, he is not safe to keep.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some say it's in England !
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2020, 06:38:05 pm »
This thread has reminded me that, as kids (human variety), the "village gang" tested each other one summer (I think it was summer) by doing a field run containing one horned and rather belligerent ram.  As a TAS member (this far on), I'm now thinking keeping the ram on his own was not fair on the ram, but we had some scary "fun" for a while.  We all, thankfully, made it over the gate without a butt up the ass. :D
 
Thanks for the memory.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 09:38:04 pm by arobwk »

Trix

  • Joined Jul 2020
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2020, 01:53:10 am »
Thanks all. Certainly a lot to think about, and I appreciate your comments.
Tough one - hand rearing and bottle feeding them as lambs was something we didn't have a lot of choice about tbh. It was either that or they'd have been in with all the other dead lambs (the place was not looking after them too well). But I see that this has unfortunately led us to where we are  now. Strangely enough, the 2nd Wether is the exact opposite - he actually comes running to the rescue whenever this one gets boisterous, he butts him away and stays close. Like he's a bodyguard.
Sheep duties are now mine, and mine alone, the wife is staying away.
Always learning, thanks again.

Josiejo

  • Joined Mar 2017
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2020, 10:51:07 am »
I can't really offer much advice I'm afraid but wanted to say that I also have 2 wethers, whilst they were not hand reared, have been brought up as pets. Do you keep them with ewes? My wethers are actually more docile than the ewes that we have! I wonder if he may benefit from being turned out with some sheep and not having so much human contact for a while? Sheep are dangerous when they act like that so maybe it's best for your wife to stay out of the field.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2020, 12:05:46 pm »
Thanks all. Certainly a lot to think about, and I appreciate your comments.
Tough one - hand rearing and bottle feeding them as lambs was something we didn't have a lot of choice about tbh. It was either that or they'd have been in with all the other dead lambs (the place was not looking after them too well). But I see that this has unfortunately led us to where we are  now. Strangely enough, the 2nd Wether is the exact opposite - he actually comes running to the rescue whenever this one gets boisterous, he butts him away and stays close. Like he's a bodyguard.
Sheep duties are now mine, and mine alone, the wife is staying away.
Always learning, thanks again.


I don't think Fleecewife meant you shouldn't bottle feed. We have all had to it. I think her point was the difference between hand rearing lambs to be sheep or rearing to be pets. Most farmers, if they rear orphans would send them off eventually so don't have this problem. They also have a lot more sheep to keep each other in line. At the end of the day everyone's safety is important. Your wife, you and visitors. Ok you can do them but what if you can't or neither of you can?

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2020, 12:08:52 pm »
I can't really offer much advice I'm afraid but wanted to say that I also have 2 wethers, whilst they were not hand reared, have been brought up as pets. Do you keep them with ewes? My wethers are actually more docile than the ewes that we have! I wonder if he may benefit from being turned out with some sheep and not having so much human contact for a while? Sheep are dangerous when they act like that so maybe it's best for your wife to stay out of the field.


It's a bit like having a dog that you know bites and thinking you can keep them away from people. One day someone leaves the door open, you turn your back, the lead comes off........

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2020, 12:32:36 pm »

I don't think Fleecewife meant you shouldn't bottle feed. We have all had to it. I think her point was the difference between hand rearing lambs to be sheep or rearing to be pets.


Absolutely.  Very neatly put harmony.  It is so difficult to treat cute baby lambs at arm's length, I know, I've been there, but to avoid future problems you do have to treat them as sheep before pets.  Quite a few people have been killed by sheep - I'm not being alarmist, just matter of fact. So stay safe  :sunshine:
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2020, 04:11:20 pm »
Totally agree with posts suggesting the one way bus. Tups/wethers can seriously hurt.

I hate to suggest this as I abhor any violence, but if you choose to keep him your wife needs to pay him a visit with a length of alkathene and show him who's boss. He needs quietening! One day the gate may be open and you're not around.....It does work but she needs the strength and strength of character to do it forcefully enough! He needs to be in a pen with your wife outside it for safety then wait till he goes for her and she needs to whack him on the nose.  It will need repeating.

I'm sure lots will be horrified by this which I totally understand, but people's safety come first.

The best option remains the one way bus.
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2020, 05:15:30 pm »
Or across the front legs. That works too. It’s a short term solution to a long term problem. From experience once a tup or Male sheep has butted you he will do it again and again. I have a hand reared wether lamb starting to show signs of dominance- rubbing and pushing his head against my leg in the field and not backing down. He’s booked in to the abattoir next week.


My tup with attitude went to market last week and I breathed a sigh of relief when I found out a local abattoir had bought him.

Trix

  • Joined Jul 2020
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2020, 02:52:00 pm »
Thank you @Old Shep and @twizzel
A rap on the nose will help.
Regarding the Alkathene, is there a best size? I see lots of different  diameters and different colours out there, so I'm guessing some would be too whippy to have an effect, and some would be like lumping him with a piece of 2x4, lol. So, what have you used please? I'd want to give him a short, sharp shock to make him think again, but no lasting damage obviously.
Incidentally @twizzel , he's recently started pushing and rubbing his head on my leg too. I though it was him scratching, or looking for a rub (they often rub their heads and flanks on the pallet fence). But it sounds like it may be him just testing the water to see if he can usurp the "flock leader"?

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2020, 03:39:20 pm »
As Twizzel said a sharp rap on the nose or across the legs is a short term solution. Also he may decide it's game on rather than lesson learnt.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Why does my sheep not like my wife?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2020, 04:22:38 pm »
He is showing classic signs of becoming aggressive especially rubbing his head on you. I would seriously consider culling him before he breaks your leg or worse. If you’re taken ill or not able to check them for a number of days (holidays?) who will be able to look in on them. I could not trust my tup after he had developed his attitude and the biggest issue was arranging someone to check them when we went away on the odd occasion. We always had them electric fence sectioned in a field where someone could check them over the gate without entering the field.

 

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