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Author Topic: Ram aggression  (Read 5240 times)

patrickr

  • Joined Apr 2022
Ram aggression
« on: November 28, 2023, 11:03:44 am »

Hi

Bought a nice ram lamb 6 weeks ago who has been quarantined with 2 wethers and was put in with our 10 ewes about 10 days ago.  He was a bit of a scaredy cat when he arrived, but we feed our flock from the bucket (often bringing them into an enclosure in the field to carry out any routine jobs) and, in the last few days he has become definitely bolder and more pushy over food.  There's been the odd small head butt on the leg.  We're worried he will get worse.  It seems he is a greedy one but he could also be protecting the ewes.  The problem is, we don't feel we can go in with food any more and this scuppers our way of getting the flock into the enclosure.  Any ideas on what we can do to keep him at arm's distance and scared of us - whilst still being able to get the flock in?  Dogs not an option!

Thanks

Don't just do something, stand there!

Bywaters

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2023, 12:27:20 pm »
After a bad experience with a "too tame" ram, i make sure that any such behaviour is rewarded by a sharp tap with some blue pipe to the top of his head or, in extreme cases, a bang on his nose
The need to know who is top dog as it were, as they can be very dangerous once large and with no fear

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2023, 01:32:29 pm »
First: never feed a tup to tame him. By doing so you are telling him he's the most important creature there and he will soon become a domineering presence.


Second:  put your trough a foot away from the fence and lean over to feed your flock.  The ewes will still be tamed but the tup won't get you.


I don't agree with hitting the tup as that is male on male sheep behaviour (equivalent to clashing horns) which can incite aggression. We prefer using body language to assert dominance - high and big is dominant.  Having said that, before my menopause (sorry guys) I was careful never to go amongst the tups on my own. I assume there is little difference between human and ovine hormonal scents and rams will respond to both.  Be aware ladies  ::)
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

patrickr

  • Joined Apr 2022
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2023, 06:41:19 pm »

Thanks.  Useful advice.  We need to find a way to get the sheep into the pen (which they traditionally do for food) without letting the ram think that we are feeding HIM.  Often we don't need to look at the ram.....
Don't just do something, stand there!

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2023, 09:03:28 am »
Didn't know about the hormone thing FW, that's interesting. I once had a cat that pee'd on me (sprayed) when I was pregnant!!!

We started off with a Soay ram who definitely tried it on a few times. However I read somewhere that if you put a hand under their chin and tip their head upwards it stops them. Never touch them on the top of the head or the horns. Anyway we applied this tactic to him and any ram lambs born and it seemed to work. Now have a new ram who atm we can't get near but he will certainly get the chin up treatment once he feels bold enough to approach us.

Our sheep rarely get fed (except ewes pre and post lambing) as they do very well on grass and hay alone, but we do like to spend a bit of time with them to keep them tame and friendly, so made permanent "seats" of concrete blocks in each paddock where we spend a little time once or twice a week just talking to the flock and stroking them. All bar two will come for some fuss, and there is no food involved at all, they just seem to like being with us. One particular ewe will paw at my leg if I stop stroking as if to say, keep going keep going.

patrickr

  • Joined Apr 2022
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2023, 10:13:29 am »

Hi

Interesting about the chin thing.  So you just lift their chin if they are near enough?  Does that back them away?  Is the idea that they just don't like it? 

Yes, we do the same (just sitting, watching) and some of them are very friendly and come over whether we've got food or not.  We don't feed them regularly either, but use the bucket as a lure when we want them in an enclosure or barn to treat feet or (currently) deal with an outbreak of conjunctivitis (a separate issue that I might post about).  Sometimes they will follow a bucket quite happily across 2-3 fields; they are THAT interested,  However, we can't use this technique now as the ram clearly just thinks - "hey, there's some food for me" or "where's my food?".  "I'll become tame and then I'll just start head butting people!"  So it's become difficult to gather them all in.  I'm out of ideas on this one....

 
Don't just do something, stand there!

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2023, 11:01:25 am »
Well I think the idea is that in order to butt you they have to have their head lowered. By tipping it up gently they are in the wrong position for butting.

Is there any way you can lure the ram into a different pen? Maybe set up a race and pen arrangement so you can split him off from the ewes? If you already have a permanent enclosure could you sub divide it? I trained 3 entire ram lambs this year to all go into separate hurdle pens for feeding (just a titbit once a day a couple of weeks prior to slaughter to ensure I could pen them prior to loading). Without the hurdles they would bash each other senseless to get at the food but all lined up with a hurdle in between each worked well.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2023, 04:16:31 pm »
Well I think the idea is that in order to butt you they have to have their head lowered. By tipping it up gently they are in the wrong position for butting.

Is there any way you can lure the ram into a different pen? Maybe set up a race and pen arrangement so you can split him off from the ewes? If you already have a permanent enclosure could you sub divide it? I trained 3 entire ram lambs this year to all go into separate hurdle pens for feeding (just a titbit once a day a couple of weeks prior to slaughter to ensure I could pen them prior to loading). Without the hurdles they would bash each other senseless to get at the food but all lined up with a hurdle in between each worked well.

That's very clever [member=206414]Richmond[/member]  8) :hugsheep:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2023, 05:21:39 pm »
They were very clever boys and really quite affectionate. I felt more than a twinge of guilt sending them off tbh, but unfortunately that was always going to be their final destination.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2023, 04:49:45 pm »
Always hard, but you know they had a good life.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Ram aggression
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2023, 07:20:23 pm »
Agree with the others- cut out the food completely, my rams will come to call now and do respect me with a bucket to move them around, but I donít feed in the field. That said I donít do anything with them without a stick and a short tap on the nose will make them think twice about being bolshy. Do not pet him. After tupping can you run him separately from the ewes?


If he carries on being aggressive the best thing is to send him on a one way trip. Better to get rid than have him break your leg or knock you over.

 

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