Sorry To Ask Again... Sheep Questions.

Discussion in 'The Chatter Box' started by HollowbeadRanch, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Hi everyone. I know I have probably asked tons of questions about this before, and I am sorry to be bringing it up again. Since we are now getting ready to start fencing our land here, I have been seriously thinking about taking another stab at finding a couple of lambs or ewes (anyone from GW probably remembers the problems I had with a Katahdin/Dorper breeder the last time I started to purchase a couple. Very rude people to say the least). So I have a few questions which will help me decide exactly what I want. First I can't decide whether I want a Hair breed or a Wool breed... Has anyone on here sheared a sheep before? I have seen it done, but never tried it myself. Would it be something I myself could do? And they only have to be sheared once a year in the Spring, correct? What breed (Hair or Wool) do you prefer? I am in the process of purchasing a couple of books so I can read up on different breeds, care, and such. The other thing is, since I have Miniature Goats would it be better to go with a miniature breed of sheep? I will probably run the lambs/ewes in the pasture with the pregnant Does, Does with kids, and Jr. Does that aren't old enough to breed. I plan on either purchasing a couple of bred ewes or a pair of ewe lambs, which would you recommend? This way I can own them for roughly a year before having to decide if I would like to start breeding them or not, at which time I could section off a separate pasture where I could run a ram with the ewes (so the sheep and goats would be separated). I am really considering bred ewes over lambs, because this way I could raise the lambs from birth (so I know they are handled plenty), and then if I decide to breed later any Ewe lambs can be kept for breeding and I can either keep the grown Ewes to breed with or sale them and purchase different ones. Any help with any of this would be greatly appreciated!! I am going to start another thread in "Goats Frenzy" to ask questions about sheep and goat friendly feed so I can go ahead and start transfering my goats over to a feed that the sheep can eat (to help prevent mistakes :roll: ). So please take a look at it if you have any specifics for feeding sheep. Also, if you know of any Sheep forums that give alot of help and information I would really appreciate a link to them! I am trying to learn as much as I can to help with my decision this Spring :greengrin: Thank you!!
     
  2. Crissa

    Crissa New Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Cashion, Oklahoma
    I've got sheepies! (where's the sheep emoticon when ya need it) Well, I work with both hair and wool sheep. My boss has hair sheep, Katahdin sheep, that she breeds I like them but they have a HUGE flocking instinct there's also Dorpers. For wool sheep I would suggest Southdown if you want a smaller breed, Suffolk, hamp or cross, if you want a meat sheep. For mini sheep I would suggest Shetlands. I am weird and actually LIKE shearing, and yes you only have to shear in the spring, even with the hair sheep you have to help some of them along with loosing the wool, some of them have better shedding genes than others. I would suggest that you get the ewe lambs first like right after they're weaned, they are easily human friendly. (well the one's that I've gotten anyways.) Unless you don't have at least an hour a day to devote to them. Feel free to ask any other questions or point out anything I've missed. :wink:
     

  3. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Are you able to shear them by yourself? I have been looking at the Southdown's but I read somewhere that they are harder to shear than other breeds. Is that true? The other breeds I have been taking a look at are Dorpers and Katahdins (but I am really leaning towards a wool breed, but these two breeds are the most common in my area :roll: ) Then I have been looking at the Southdowns, Shetlands, Suffolk, and Miniature Cheviots (finding these breeds around here will probably be the hard part). Then on the more rare side, I have been looking at Black Welsh Mountain Sheep and the Tunis.

    Do you know of any good Sheep forums? Thanks!!
     
  4. Shelly

    Shelly New Member

    386
    Oct 5, 2007
    California
    Hi, HollowbeadRanch

    We have suffolk, hamp ews and dorset ram. My ewes are all tame, halter broken and easy to handle. My ram is also halter broken and pretty easy to handle, we really don't want him to be friendly. Yes you can shear yourself my girls started shearing at 12 or 13 for shows. When we shear the ewes we don't worry about doing a show shear. I would go with ewe lambs just weaned would be good. If the older ewes haven't been handle a lot you will have a hard time tame them down. Grain is C.O.B./three way which is corn, oats and barley. I only feed grain to flush before breeding and starting 1 1/2 months before there due until we wean. My goats and sheep do run together we just separate to feed grain when we feed grain. Salt is sheep salt. The first year my kids showed goats we picked up their two goats who where 3 months. The fence to keep them out of the sheep pasture had one small I mean very small hole. While the goats didn't like be by their self so their join the ewes and lambs next to them. The ewes didn't mind them they actually all would sleep together. I think is long is you raise the sheep with the goat they would get along. Hope I answer some of your question if not please just ask. Shelly
     
  5. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Thank you! I am gradually gathering up all of the information I need, so by Spring I should be well setup to add a few to the mix :)

    At what age do you usually breed your sheep?
     
  6. Crissa

    Crissa New Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Cashion, Oklahoma
    Yep, I can easily shear them myself. I don't know about the southdowns being harder to shear, I've never actually owned one but I have friends that do. Personally I like my Suffolk or a speckle face (cross between a dorset and suffolk or hamp) Here's the speckle face that I had last year, I loved him he was so easy to handle and didn't really produce a lot of wool, he was a dorset/suffolk cross.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And here's my first suffolk ewe lamb also easy to handle and not too much wool to shear.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Crissa

    Crissa New Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Cashion, Oklahoma
    Oh and by the way, I know it's far away and everything but I'll probably have lambs next year if you ever want a good deal, I'm actually selling my cross lamb so that I can buy a speck. LOL. And sorry the only lamb forum I know is mylamb.com and it's for show lambs. Umm...let me look around. Okay here's one. http://livestockbb.com/forum2/

    And here's a pic of my suffolk and her first lamb.
    [​IMG]
    And my new speck when he was a lamb.
    [​IMG]

    Sorry going a little lamb pic happy. LOL.
     
  8. Shelly

    Shelly New Member

    386
    Oct 5, 2007
    California
    [sup]At what age do you usually breed your sheep?


    9 months is the youngest I've breed, but just like goats different breeds get breed at different ages. I know I said I didn't feed a lot of grain, but I do creep feed and keep feeding grain until there 8 months to a year. Most of are lambs are used for 4-h market shows so their need to be feed a well balance diet to get the growth and muscle looked for in the ring. Here's a picture of my dd speckle face from last year he was born on march 31, was a twin and weight 13lbs at birth. He was 6 months old and weight 141 in this picture.
    http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x132 ... ics027.jpg
     
  9. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Are their any breeds of sheep that you don't have to dock the lambs tail? Also, how much smaller are the Southdowns and Shetlands than the Suffolks?

    I really love the pictures!! Which of course makes me wish that Spring was a little closer!
     
  10. Shelly

    Shelly New Member

    386
    Oct 5, 2007
    California
    I believe you don't dock hair sheep and some of the dairy breeds have short tails.
    Southdowns avg around 130lbs
    Shetlands avg rams 100lb, ewes 80lbs
    Suffolk my ewes are 200 to 250lb ram 300-350lbs.
    Are last rams was easily 400lb if not more but that's not really normal everyone who saw him was shocked at his size. The people who bought him took him to Oklahoma for a range ram to breed butch lambs his lamb would easily hit 160 by 6 months.
    Shelly
     
  11. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Ok, the shetlands and the southdowns are going to be in the weight range that I was wanting to stay in then. Do you know of any other sheep breeds that stay around that weight?
     
  12. Crissa

    Crissa New Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Cashion, Oklahoma
    Here's some Katahdin sheep that my boss raises. They're a lot smaller than my Suffolk ewe and you don't need to dock their tails.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Wow, they are alot prettier than I thought they would be. And those are full blooded Katahdins? Can't you also get Katahdins in other colors than white? Do you know of any good Katahdin websites I could take a look at?

    I think I have narrowed down what I am looking for a little more. I would like relatively small breed of sheep, that is either wool or hair, can come in brown or black as well as white, and doesn't have wool on it's face. Which breeds would you say fits that description?
     
  14. Crissa

    Crissa New Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Cashion, Oklahoma
    Yeah I know, they're adorable. Not all of them are fullblooded, some have a little bit of dorper in them, but it only shows with spots and flecks. They don't have much in them at all. I don't actually know much about them myself, but I'd be happy to ask my boss when she gets back from her trip for you and I'll look around.
     
  15. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Thank you! I have been keeping an eye on the local papers, and I have found a farm close to here that has the hair sheep and I saw that they have a few lambs on the ground right now, so I might go by and ask them a few questions and see if they have any for sale next week. There is also a lady near Birmingham, AL that raises the babydoll sheep, so that might be an option as well.
     
  16. Dairy Goat Lovers

    Dairy Goat Lovers New Member

    8
    Oct 8, 2007
    Washington State
    I just want to point out that the sheep and goats can live together but sheep can't have COPPER it is deadly to them so when you get salt for them make sure there is no copper and also they can't eat goat grain the sheep have to eat grain with out copper if you give them grain

    we have suffolks as pets and they are great they are big though about as big as a standered nubain goat we also have had hair sheep and they can be on the bigger side to but not as big we also have had cheviot sheep and they are fun and it is not hard at all to shear sheep we use electric shears stablemate lister brand and they work great and they are pretty light and easy to handle and we dock our sheep tails so manure does not collect on them and causes maggots to be on their tails

    hope this helps if you have anymore questions we will be glad to help we have had sheep since 1996 :lol:
     
  17. mystic's_mom

    mystic's_mom New Member

    265
    Oct 5, 2007
    Northern, MN
    I vouch for Barbadoes Blackbelly sheep!Haha!

    Who could resist a beauty like this?
    [​IMG]
     
  18. HollowbeadRanch

    HollowbeadRanch New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    NW Alabama
    Wow! Very pretty! Thank both of you for the replies. As Spring gets closer I am sure I will have TONS of questions! :greengrin: