NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Hi advice needed please  (Read 2522 times)

Blueeyes

  • Joined Jul 2011
  • East Yorkshire
Hi advice needed please
« on: July 28, 2011, 08:05:14 pm »
Hi, just wondered if anyone had any advice, we moved to a property in the country a year ago with a couple of acres and since have got a cairn terrier, rabbit, miniature Shetland pony and her foal, and now my husband has decided he would like a couple of Shetland sheep to add to the fun & games  :D

But what we was wondering is would ewes or rams be best? We have a 7 year old daughter who is in a wheelchair but is as independent as any other 7 year old and loves looking after our animals! We are basically wanting a couple of sheep as pets that will come to the call of food rattling and that are friendly! Would getting just weaned lambs be best?

Any advice would be gratefully received as we are very new to this but loving our new lives  ;D

Thanks Faye x
Voss Electric Fence

shearling

  • Joined Mar 2011
Re: Hi advice needed please
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2011, 08:39:07 pm »
Hello  :wave:, any reason why Shetland sheep? New to the sheep game too (now in second year -with three boy rams this year from three 5 year old girls), but believe the general norm would be girls only unless you want to reproduce. Also how are you going to work the couple of acres with the ponies and sheep? No doubt the experts will be on soon. Sheep are great and so is this forum for help and guidance and support - good luck and will be interested to read the wiser replies :sheep:

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hi advice needed please
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2011, 08:41:01 pm »
Best thing to get, IMHO, is a couple of castrated rams lambs or wethers. We have one called Dickie (Coloured Ryeland) and he is so sweet. We keep him as company for our "real"ram. Dickie's like a labrador, really, except not house trained. Ryelands are well known for their docile nature.

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Hi advice needed please
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2011, 10:01:09 pm »
If you arent interested in breeding, castrated males ( wethers ) would probably be most suitable and cheaper. To make sure they are friendly, get them as young as possible. NB sheep are addictive, I started with 6 ladies and now have 39ewes and lambs and a ram!

I would recommend the Shetlands or another smallish but not toooo wild breed, just because with 2 sheep a shearer is unlikely to agree to come calling and so you likely would be hand shearing them or electric shearing them yourself and also doing foot trimming. A sheep the size of a Shetland is easy to tip up and trim or shear as they are light enough for a single person incl female to do this. Some of the bigger breeds are very heavy (like twice the weight!). Shetland wethers only have tiny stub horns about an inch long. They come in many colours!

If you are in the south you could also consider Wiltshire Horn as they shed their fleece instead of having to be sheared.

If you did want a bigger and more teddy bear sheep, Ryelands are very adorable, I have to agree! And placid too, so size not so important.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Hi advice needed please
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2011, 10:13:29 pm »
Difficult to say, other than that for size Shetlands are good as they are not massively big sheep, and I can easily deal with any of them on my own, the ewes weigh about 40 to 45kgs, the boys would be a bit heavier, my tup would probably be in the 55kg region.

Any young wether/ewe can be trained to the bucket fairly quickly, but they can become quite boisterous if they see you with it.... mine go mad for the orange B&Q bucket.

Actually a couple of older ewes (again Shetlands would be good for this, they can live happily to 13 or 14 years) that are at the end of their breeding life, but come from a small flock would be ok. You don't have to breed from them, and they do not become noisy (like goats) when in season.

But you have to be prepared to feet trimming, dagging backends, shearing them (or knowing someone who would come and do them for you), possibly they will need worming/fluke treatment, maintaining their vaccination status and/or giving other injections/drenches. Also knowing how to check for and deal with flystrike is quite important. You will also need to get a CPH and a flock number, and register with a vet.

But tame sheep are a joy, my two favourite ladies were Shetlands that came to me when 9 and 10 years old, they would come to you when you rustled a plastic bag, as their previous owner used to bring them toast in it...

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hi advice needed please
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2011, 08:52:08 am »
Hi, blueeyes

Daisys Mum is selling some older Shetland ewes - see other thread. She's near Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders.

Blueeyes

  • Joined Jul 2011
  • East Yorkshire
Re: Hi advice needed please
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2011, 08:55:08 pm »
Thanks all for the replies, I've passed everything on to my hubby, think we are going to visit some shetlands early next week!

Our CPH number arrived today so were getting closer to getting some, think after getting our naughty miniature Shetland ponies we can cope with whatever a few sheep can throw at us  :D (wonder if I'll be eating my words in a month or so), luckily I'm at home all day so can spend lots of bonding time with them!

Thanks again  ;D

Faye x


 

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