NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Ouessants - do I need to worry about foxes and shutting in at night?  (Read 556 times)

EllieB

  • Joined Apr 2018
Hi, hope someone can help with some advice. I have 3 recently acquired Ouessant sheep - they're between 16-20 weeks old and only small - they're pets/lawnmowers. Do I need to worry about foxes attacking them at night due to their size?

I have a large 3-sided field shelter with a gated door - the lower half of the door is boarded, the upper half is weld-meshed for ventilation. I could easily shut them in there at night but would that be fair? My other concern is that the shelter has a concrete floor. It simply has straw down on it so gets quite messy/damp if they toilet in there as it has no drainage. Keeping the full floor completely covered in straw and regularly changing it will be pricey. Is there an alternative?  I wondered about sectioning it off so I only have to straw one part of it (they really only need a quarter of the space. What else can be put onto a concrete floor like this? Any suggestions or advice very welcome!
Voss Electric Fence

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Ouessants - do I need to worry about foxes and shutting in at night?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2018, 06:49:05 am »
I have known a fox take a six month old wether. So its not outside the realms of possibility. That said it would not be a common occurance.


Not sure how regularly you are planning on changing the straw........in the past bracken was cut for animal bedding.....
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

silkwoodzwartbles

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Ouessants - do I need to worry about foxes and shutting in at night?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2018, 06:58:57 am »
You could put shavings or wood or straw pellets down under the straw (whichever your local agricultural merchant stocks) to absorb the moisture and prolong the life of the straw - just every week or so scrape the dry/clean straw back, sweep out the wet/pooey straw and the base layer, replace the base layer, re-lay the straw and add to it if you need to  :thumbsup:


kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Ouessants - do I need to worry about foxes and shutting in at night?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2018, 10:43:06 am »
Beware woodshavings and sheep if you have any intention of doing somethi g with the fleece...
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Ouessants - do I need to worry about foxes and shutting in at night?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2018, 11:11:05 am »
Actually I don’t find woodshavings, or straw, to be an issue when prepping a fleece for handspining.  Hay seeds are much worse, and the sticky burrs of cleavers and burdock are by far the worst things, along with any thorns they pick up if they have access to hedgerows.

But if you might want to sell the fleeces, or send them off for processing in some way, then yes, VM (vegetable matter) could be more of an issue.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Ouessants - do I need to worry about foxes and shutting in at night?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2018, 12:06:01 pm »
I guess it depends on how your sheep are housed as well as the ground they are on. Wood shavings cling i can't say i've experienced the same  problem with straw.. cleavers are the same as sticky buds? If so they don't last long enough to be a problem my sheep love them  :sheep:
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Ouessants - do I need to worry about foxes and shutting in at night?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2018, 12:30:05 pm »
cleavers are the same as sticky buds? If so they don't last long enough to be a problem my sheep love them  :sheep:

It’s this

What seems to happen with my finer-fleeced sheep is the seeds get embedded in the fleece, then as the sheep scratch or roll, get well and truly wrapped up in a lump that then felts - and continues to felt more for the rest of the life of the fleece on the sheep  ::)

So I found it best to snip any seeds out of the fleece once the seeding season is done.  And as to Burdock, I found the best defence was to have the sheep on the ground from early spring, as they’d eat the plants right down and stop them fruiting!  It then was only a problem if there was an escape and they came across a plant that had been allowed to fruit.  If that happened, then I would again snip the seeds out of the fleece as soon as I saw them.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Gunestone

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Ouessants - do I need to worry about foxes and shutting in at night?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2018, 10:57:33 am »
We now cut all burdock plants down as soon as they come up; after having a lamb strangle itself on one of them, it must have got caught in his fleece and then the poor thing strangled himself whilst trying to get free.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Ouessants - do I need to worry about foxes and shutting in at night?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2018, 03:44:43 pm »
We now cut all burdock plants down as soon as they come up; after having a lamb strangle itself on one of them, it must have got caught in his fleece and then the poor thing strangled himself whilst trying to get free.

Ah, another carnivorous plant, like gorse and brambles.  Blackthorn too.

I’ve not had that problem with burdock, I must say.  I’d have expected the seeds to come away from the plant when the lamb struggled. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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