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I'm not addicted - I'm in love!
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We're thinking about adding a couple of sheep to our farm! I have a few questions.

1. What diseases should we be aware of and test for? Obviously CL and Johne's because we also have goats, but are there any others?

2. I'm guessing sheep care is very similar to goat care. Are there any differences? (I know about the difference in copper requirement.)

3. Any other tips for a beginner?
 

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Well for sure everyone says they are the same as goats , but they seem different once you get them we did his last yet and my lambs were way way crazier than my goats and took forever to calm down and when you got them to the point where you could walk them on a halter you couldn't get them out of the pen! Ll
 

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1. What diseases should we be aware of and test for? Obviously CL and Johne's because we also have goats, but are there any others? No not really. Sheep are more supscpetible to blue tongue but its very rare. Also, sheep keds, its a parasite, should be watched for.

2. I'm guessing sheep care is very similar to goat care. Are there any differences? (I know about the difference in copper requirement.) They are grazers, not browsers, so they prefer grass over leafy browse. They aren't as smart as goats either so keep that in mind.

3. Any other tips for a beginner? Get a good shearer if you have a wool breed or learn to do it yourself (4-H Kids are often good for this). I would get them very young since sheep tend to be more flighty than goats. It makes taming them hard so either friendly ewes or young lambs.
 

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I have had sheep with my goats for 3 years now and other than the copper issue, I found that everything is pretty much the same.
In previous years, I allowed them to breed whenever with whomever but this year I decided to only keep one buck and one ram and I have JUST introduced them to the females today. The ram is quite capable and willing, the buck not so much leaving my does very frustrated. So my does are ganging up on the ram and are beating him up. For now, I am having to lock up the ram until the buck gets around to breeding the does.
The only advice I would give is make sure you have separate pens to keep them during breeding time to avoid my drama.
 

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How about the Bucky smell? Do rams get that too? Do they go into rut like bucks do?
They sure do. Most I have seen aren't quite as bold as bucks as far as the "cologne" use and the behavior isn't quite as bad. But at the sametime I know a dorset ram that will attack anyonebif they are close to the ewes. Just depends on the animal
 

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We have Dorpers , they are considered hair sheep and dont need to be sheared , so that is a big plus IMO. They are a cross of Black Persians and Dorset :) The Rams are supposedly more docile then other breeds which is another great trait . There are so many beautiful breeds though , good luck and happy choosing :) This is my first time having sheep . We have them on pasture and they also get alfalfa , thats it.
Along with a sheep mineral of course ;) And , they cannot have copper , like our goats get ,so be very careful they don't have access to your goats minerals.
 

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You should have them tested for scrapie and spider. These are the most common tests that sheep breeders do. Ideal blood work is RRNN...this is negative result for both genes. QRNN, QRNS, RRNS is acceptable if your ram is RRNN. Avoid QQ and SS sheep. These are disease carriers.

We have both sheep and goats...wether sire sheep and wether sire Boer goats. The sheep are way easier as far as maintenance. And the goats are easier to handle.
 

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We raise Dorper and Barbado and th cross of the two...
Sheep do not get CAE but have a simular disease, Ovine progressive pneumonia Virus (OPPV) Goats can not get OPPV from sheep but some beoieve they can get CAE from that virus.
Hair sheep tend to be more resistant to worm load...I find Barbado to be more so than Dorper....
The rams do come into rut but do not smell nearly as bad as a buck IMO..lol..
Never turn your back ona ram..PERIOD!...friendly or no...they will charge.
Dorper are usually hornles which is nice..but when My hubby turned his back on our friendly sweet gentle Alex...he took his legs out from under him..lol..lesson learned.
as stated already Sheep are grazers..they will clean your pasture to the dirt lol.
They are less likely to be fence busters...we cant let our goats out in our front pasture until we fix the old fence...they get out every time! but the sheep never even try.
sheep can be easy keepers with a little planning..we never ran our sheep and goats together...but a ram will try to breed a Doe in heat and a Buck will try to breed an Ewe in heat...them boys arent picky!!
 

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I always wondered if the ram would be interested in the does that are in heat ! Now I need to be careful , lol. Arnie our ram gets out religiously and he went into one of the goat pens when they were out grazing and he was helping himself to the scraps of alfalfa that was left and one of my does came into the pen at that moment and she let Arnie know that he wasn't welcome and he was also forbidden to eat from their buckets!
I was rolling cause the look on his face after she butted him was like, now why did you just do that , lolol Poor guy , but at least he knows the rules now ;)
 

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If you feed your goats a grain specific for goats make sure the sheep don't eat it! The goat feed will have extra copper that will kill the sheep over time!
 

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Oh Yes..Our ewes can go to the Bucks fence line if we let them out in the front pastor..DRIVE MY BOYS NUTS...the ewes want th ebuck and thebuck want the ewes..Yep, we have to run the ewes back to their pen or we would have the boys in a mess...lol..had to cut Amos's head out of the fence..he psuhed through the 4x4 squares trying to get the ewes lol..His big ol"fat head could get back out lol
 

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Oh wow ! Good to know !! Poor Amos :( lol. I could just see Arnie getting himself in some sort of trouble too ;)
 

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Years ago I had a large pygmy goat mix that was in love with my young ram. She aborted at 4 months every year a geep or two.

Hey Cathy, how well do Dorpers tame down? I need to replace my lawn mower.
 

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That Arnie best stay away from my girls ! Gotta be careful now that I know this new bit of info . I don't want him trying anything with my girls !
 

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They tame pretty well if handled from young..I have one White dorper who is almost as friendly as a goat lol..she likes her ears scratch..as long as you dont man handle her she loves it..She was a bottle baby. I think the key is daily handling...they tend to go wild easy...my bottle baby Wether, Walter,and a bottle baby ewe, Mary Ellen both wont even come to me now unless I have feed, Once they were back in with the sheep, they went back to being skittish. I have a video of Mary Ellen running and playing with my dogs ..running in the house, sleeping on the couch lol..But with BeBe (white dorper ewe) she is handled alot, even now she is running with the sheep we are sure to spend time with her..
 

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How about Icelandics? We are looking at a first time out with sheep and have those in the list if possibles. Anyone had any experience with good/bad on them? The other question is fencing - both to keep the sheep in AND the coyotes out - what's best?
 
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