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Author Topic: Feral Wether!  (Read 297 times)

Cheterele

  • Joined May 2018
Feral Wether!
« on: July 11, 2018, 01:42:22 pm »
Hello everyone,

Two years ago, we were given a ram lamb as a pet by a local farmer. We had him neutuered, he was handled by the whole family and seemed to settle in as a pet. We got two ewes who had been orphaned to keep him company and they have been doing a great job tidying up the paddocks after our ponies. This year, he has changed toward us. He is two now and has started ramming us when he doesn't get his own way. So if we stand to block him getting into a feed room, that sort of thing, we get rammed. He still likes getting his face scratched and attention from us so I think it is more than he has no respect or fear of us. Is there any way to stop this behaviour?
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 03:49:02 pm »
Mainly, don't have petted him from a lamb. :/. It's a very common story! 

I wish I could make it a law that people not pet the face of sheep or cattle, it just engenders butting and ramming.  We now say, "Scritch under the chin, or on the neck behind the ears, or not at all.  Never ever ever on the face or front of the poll (bit between the ears.)". And we don't hand feed tups either, ever.

He needs to learn respect, but it's much harder to do now.  He needs to be in no doubt that in any argument, you will win. 

Are you able to catch him, tip him up and hold him until you decide it's time he got up?  If so, it may work to do that every time he butts.  Other people have talked about whacking them across the face with a stick or a piece of alkathene pipe, but even if you're prepared to do that, I suspect it's as likely to result in a fight which you might not win, or an ongoing battle where he looks for opportunities to beat you, as to teach him that you are the boss.

However, if you can't get his respect, then it's off to the abattoir for him, before he hurts someone.  There are lots of people on this forum have been injured, some of them badly, by rams.  Don't join them.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 05:27:49 pm »
I agree totally with Sally.  If only you could turn back time, you could prevent this sort of behaviour from developing by never petting a male sheep in the first place.  Testicles or not, they become pushy and rough at about that age and can cause real injury.  It really isn't his fault.  It would be unsafe to pass him on to a petting farm or similar as his behaviour is now set.  The only way a sheep knows how to demonstrate his dominance is to head butt and I don't think there is a cure.  Best to accept your mistake and send him to the abattoir - it will be hard to do, but he has now become dangerous, so for your family's sake he has to go.  If you wouldn't be able to eat him, then you could get the knacker out, or take him to the vet, to be humanely destroyed.  Not what you want to hear I'm sure.
There is an ultimate responsibilty on the farmer who gave you a male sheep 'as a pet' - he should have known the dangers.
ps - he's not 'feral', that would require him to be living in the wild.  He is quite the opposite - over familiar with humans.
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 06:47:13 pm »
I agree with the comments made , get rid of him as you can never trust him . Last year I bought a ram   he was quiet to handle and move , then one day while feeding the rams  he got behind me and hit me on the bum knocking me down, when I got up I chased that ram all over then fed the rams  and deliberately  kept that ram away from the feed  and for the next 3 days  never touched him in any way just waving and shouting , he won't come any where near me now BUT  I wouldn't trust him with any  one else ! He will be gone soon  :(

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 07:55:40 pm »
I would slap him quite hard across the face, once you've done it a couple of times you just need to put your palm up towards the ram and they stop.

He's a wether so shouldn't be too aggressive or dominant, I think he's just used to getting his own way. Stop the petting and any hand feeding and totally ignore him, chase him away if you need too. Once you've stopped everything and getting his respect you can start interacting with him again, but make sure he knows his boundaries.



twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 08:46:21 pm »
I would slap him quite hard across the face, once you've done it a couple of times you just need to put your palm up towards the ram and they stop.



I think you run the risk of him butting even more- I think if you want to take a ram down a peg or 2 if they run at you then you go for the legs. Slapping it in the face will only encourage it to butt even more.

Cheterele

  • Joined May 2018
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 09:17:10 pm »
Thank you all for your advice. We have decided to have him PTS at home.

Cheterele

  • Joined May 2018
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 09:25:59 pm »
Sorry, I didn't mean to sound so abrupt. The farmer told me I would have no problem with aggression as long as I neutered him young. I did ask on a horsey forum about keeping sheep as pets but I can't remember if I specifically mentioned we had a male. Answers were overwhelmingly positive. Oddly enough, I had another farmer offering me a male lamb as a pet the other day but I refused. I was firm with him when he was young, the only time he rammed, he got a boot that knocked him flying and he was as good as gold after that. Until this spring. We are heartbroken because until this behaviour started he used to go for walks with us, hang about the field when we did chores with the ponies, that sort of thing. I am also heartbroken at being so stupid and having an animal pay the price for it. But he went for the vet tonight and I just cannot trust him at all around strangers. I just want him to go painlessly. Thank you all again.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2018, 10:08:11 pm »
 :bouquet:
Experience is what you get just after you needed it.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2018, 12:22:25 am »
Sorry, I didn't mean to sound so abrupt. The farmer told me I would have no problem with aggression as long as I neutered him young. I did ask on a horsey forum about keeping sheep as pets but I can't remember if I specifically mentioned we had a male. Answers were overwhelmingly positive. Oddly enough, I had another farmer offering me a male lamb as a pet the other day but I refused. I was firm with him when he was young, the only time he rammed, he got a boot that knocked him flying and he was as good as gold after that. Until this spring. We are heartbroken because until this behaviour started he used to go for walks with us, hang about the field when we did chores with the ponies, that sort of thing. I am also heartbroken at being so stupid and having an animal pay the price for it. But he went for the vet tonight and I just cannot trust him at all around strangers. I just want him to go painlessly. Thank you all again.


Hi @Cheterele - please don't feel too guilty, because you really didn't know.  The reason we all have an opinion on this is because we have experience of what will happen, even if you just feed your male sheep from a bucket  My punishments have included getting a solid whack on the back of the head from a very enthusiastic 4 horned Jacob tup  :tired: .  I have also been sideswiped in the knee with a large horn, and I've been on the receiving end of a full-on charge by an aggressive young tup, who went straight in the pot.  These were not made pets of, just fed in the winter via a bucket back when we didn't know.  Not all wethers will turn pushy, but yours did. 
Enjoy your ewes, remember the fun you had with your lamb when he was young, and keep refusing the 'kindly' offers of male lambs for bottle rearing.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 12:12:38 pm by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

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

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2018, 08:15:11 am »
:hug:  Well done for making the very hard but correct decision.  As Fleecewife says, remember he had a lovely life up till now, and the good times you all had with him.  :hug:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Oopsiboughtasheep

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Hampshire
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2018, 10:39:59 am »
"I am also heartbroken at being so stupid and having an animal pay the price for it."

Cheterele, I felt so sad for you yesterday (and again today) when I read your post. I too have 'pet sheep', ewes, but only because I was lucky enough to have been advised at the outset against having wethers as pets, for all the reasons mentioned above. I too, make a fuss of my sheep in some of the ways that have been described as 'not a good idea' by more experienced members here. And that isn't because I (or you) have been 'so stupid' as you put it, it's quite simply that no one ever told us that we shouldn't. We can only do what we think is right and kind. If we make any mistakes, it's not our fault......unless we don't learn from those and do the same thing again. Your boy has had a lovely life with you and the gentlest of ends, being special to you and you to him. I feel your heartbreak but you are not at all 'stupid' and the 'price' that your boy has paid, is actually to have been loved to bits all his life and then gone to sleep. It's all he will have ever known.  :hug:
Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2018, 11:46:22 am »
^ Yup. That is undoubtably true.  As a non-breeding tup, he wouldn't have seen his first birthday if he'd stayed on the farm, whereas you have given him two years of happy, carefree life.


Exactly the same thing happened to us with a pet lamb from a couple of years ago. He was very much Mrs Womble's pet and only charged at me, so you can imagine the kind of marital disagreements that caused!  We tried all of the remedies described above, but he went in the freezer in the end. As sheep lives go though, I think he still had one of the best!
Experience is what you get just after you needed it.

Cheterele

  • Joined May 2018
Re: Feral Wether!
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2018, 05:27:31 pm »
Thank you all for your kind words. The vet managed to sedate him (not easy as he has never liked strangers and now rages at the sight of them) and he went to sleep with his head in my lap before the final injection. We know we did the right thing but we can't stop crying as there were so many happy memories and we wish life with him could have carried on as it had before until he was old and doddery. But thank you all again, I know now never to take on a male lamb and you will all be my first port of call next time I have a sheep-related problem

 

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