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  #1  
Old 11/05/07, 11:42 AM
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Aggressive ram?

How do you all deal with an aggressive ram? I understand that rams tend to get more aggressive during the rutting period just before or just as the ewes are cycling. We have a new (luckily polled) dorset/Hampshire cross ram who chases us and butts us. (We don't run from him, but he wants us to. He does butt HARD though). Will this behavior calm down after the rutting season is over with? We don't touch his head as we don't want to encourage the behavior. But we don't know how aggressive we should be with him in our effort to discourage it. We keep the kids all out of the pasture because he is downright dangerous right now.
I'd love to know how you guys deal with this behavior?

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  #2  
Old 11/05/07, 11:54 AM
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My ram was hurting me going aggressively after the feed bucket last fall. I got a ram shield for him to wear, and it worked wonders. He's had it off most of this year, but he's started his rammy behavior again...after the feed bucket, too, not me. I have been knocked down twice, but the third time I had enough reaction time to swat him across the muzzle, from the side, with the stick I now carry. That stopped him in his tracks. He has no defense against a side blow. BUT, his ram shield is going back on, as soon as we can, before he goes back to the girls next weekend.

Now, if the aggression was actually directed AT ME...he would've been ram-burger, I think. But it's the bucket, for some reason. Even empty! After I pour the feed, he still is after the bucket! I can go in with an armload of hay and he ignores me, but that bucket......

On the ram shield...you do have to check the straps regularly...it can rub. But it blocks forward vision, and leaves them unable to charge. They can still eat, drink, and breed, though!

Hope this helps.
Meg

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  #3  
Old 11/05/07, 12:12 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Wisconsin
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There is no reason to put up with a ram who is that aggressive and goes after humans.
Is he normally isolated and penned by himself ?

As Meg mentioned sometimes rams have their issues with objects, in her case a bucket.
My rams don't like things like twine that ties panels and little buckets left in their pen.
Occasionally my rams will get pushy before and during breeding season but never going after me.
An aggressive ram is dangerous and there are too many well mannered ones out there to take a chance on your safety as well as others.

Is freezer camp a possibility ??

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  #4  
Old 11/05/07, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thequeensblessing
How do you all deal with an aggressive ram? I understand that rams tend to get more aggressive during the rutting period just before or just as the ewes are cycling. We have a new (luckily polled) dorset/Hampshire cross ram who chases us and butts us. (We don't run from him, but he wants us to. He does butt HARD though). Will this behavior calm down after the rutting season is over with? We don't touch his head as we don't want to encourage the behavior. But we don't know how aggressive we should be with him in our effort to discourage it. We keep the kids all out of the pasture because he is downright dangerous right now.
I'd love to know how you guys deal with this behavior?
My hamp/suffolk ram (275 pounds) is aggressive, but he would NEVER chase us. If he did, I'd shoot him, seriously. If your ram were my ram, he'd be headed for freezer camp. It's one thing to be respectful of them and keep your distance - in reality, a ram should want to avoid contact with you as much as you do with him. Someone played with your ram when he was a lamb, bad idea. Sheep are not smart animals. One that has been conditioned to get his way by ramming humans is just plain dangerous. When I need to work on my ram (feet/meds/shear), he goes through our sorting pen with the aid of a shaken feed pan and the dogs, and into the squeeze shute or a confined area in the sorting shute. When I go out in the pasture, I usually keep one of my dogs with me (they are herders) and distract him if I need to take a look at one of the ewes. For the most part he tolerates us from a distance, ignores us, or runs away from us, but he has never charged us. I would suggest you arm yourself with a cattle prod (touch his nose, not his head, he won't feel it), a baseball bat, or a mean dog. Someone is going to get hurt otherwise.
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  #5  
Old 11/05/07, 01:23 PM
 
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Do not abide an aggressive ram.

If butting people is something he has just learned try these 2 different things before you turn him into dog food.


1.) Try a bucket of cold water in his face a couple of times

2.) If that doesn't work whip him across the face with a switch.

If he still cannot be made to see his place in this World I would not hesitate to shoot him & grind him up for dog food.

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  #6  
Old 11/05/07, 05:20 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I will try to do what I can with him before resorting to putting him in the freezer, however, if it comes to that, I won't hesitate to do so. I worry about the little kiddies (my grandchildren) around him. He doesn't go after the bucket, he goes after us. He contronts us and we try to let him know we are the bosses, not him. As soon as our backs are turned, wham!! He's butting us in the behind or or the legs. We've only had him for a month. He was raised within sight and scent of ewes, but was kept housed with other rams. The sight and scent of the ewes would cause the rams to fight with one another and I think that's where he learned this aggressive behavior. Perhaps he sees my DH and I as threats to his harem? He runs with the girls right now.
I'll try some of the suggestions I've gotten here and I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

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  #7  
Old 11/05/07, 07:46 PM
 
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The rule here was always that the kids were never allowed to go where the rams were even when it came to retrieving baseballs or frizbees. Now as older teens they still are good about asking first...guess they were taught well

It is possible that he sees (smells) your husband as a threat, my rams never did care for my husband either.

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  #8  
Old 11/05/07, 07:57 PM
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If he has traits worth breeding, I would try the ram shield. I am actually going to order a couple to have on hand.

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  #9  
Old 11/05/07, 09:05 PM
 
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Hi thequeensblessing,I sent you a P.M. It may be of interest. Best of luck.

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  #10  
Old 11/06/07, 08:39 AM
 
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I have had completely different results.

What I have read from a university extension paper (can't find link) is that the ram needs to be humilited. He basically sees you as a threat to his dominance. So he has to be dealt with "harshly" and immediately.

I have a ram who is playful, I mean playful. Think he may have been a bottle baby. He is now fully mature and even in rutting season is never more than a nuisance. He doesn't recognize his own strength but NEVER acts aggresive, anymore at least. What we had to do was basically bulldog him like a steer. I am a good sized woman so in turn on seperate occasions my spouse and I had to wrestle him to the ground, let him feel bad and chase him across the pasture. He looked testy a time or two but a good stomp and yell and he stopped.

Now life is peaceful again and he comes over and loves to be scratched. Unless he is rutting he will ignore the ewes and stand with us wanting to be petted. He is a Dorset which I think has a lot to do with it.

I also have a set of flighty Montadales. I halter broke the ram at 6 months old because I thought we may show him. He doesn't like to be handled but will walk once on lead. Makes routine care much easier, he gets less stressed. He is not super scared like a montadale should be (flighty breed) but he never even tries to act up. Usually he comes very close but never less than 3 or 4 feet away. I can see he is eager and trying to be sweet but his instinct only allows for so much. He likes to look at us and bah as he almost walks up.

People swear to fear the ram and stay away. For whatever reason that just won't work for me. I stay the dominant one in the flock at all times and give out affection when sought after. Things here are harmonious because I never subscribed to the fear all rams theory.

May not work for everyone. It takes a lot of time to develop acceptance in the flock as one of them, not just the feed and shot person. To each his own.

BTW at least 75% of my flock will eat out of hand or come within grabbing distance should I need to do something with them. Only a select few keep a "safe" distance. Thay are like a pack of sweet hungry puppies.

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  #11  
Old 11/06/07, 12:12 PM
 
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Sounds like your rams have been more playful and that I would think is more normal. I have never had to do more than shout a stern "no" if I am the least bit concerned and my flock is full of overgrown puppies as well.

However what she is describing with the " chasing and butting", seems more like very determined aggressive behavior.

Hard to tell over the internet.....

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  #12  
Old 11/06/07, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eieiomom
Sounds like your rams have been more playful and that I would think is more normal. I have never had to do more than shout a stern "no" if I am the least bit concerned and my flock is full of overgrown puppies as well.

However what she is describing with the " chasing and butting", seems more like very determined aggressive behavior.

Hard to tell over the internet.....


Lots of people say it is breed specific. Not all sheep are puppy prone.

I am a big advocate of retaining dominance. In the rams mind he is asserting his territory in some way. It does not have to make sense to us. A sign of weakness or an intursion by a percieved subordinate will always illicit more bad behavior. All I mean is that you have to take charge fast wheter it is through some sort of behavior modification or slaughter. Hesitating just leaves doubt and room for error to continue.

HOWEVER there are always the nasty attitude exceptions to any rule. That for sure is a freezer deal unless he has an incredible pedigree and safety zone in his pen.
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  #13  
Old 11/06/07, 01:26 PM
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.
If he gets loose and hurts someone or kills a child what whould you do then ?

This couild happen at anytime.

You don't need dangerous animals on a farm.

Kill and eat the ram or sell him to someone who wants a ramming ram.

Me I would use a good oak 2 x 4 and crack him right beteween the eyes, and knock him out if I had to because he is not afraid of you, and if that did not work a bullet between the eyes would be next, and the meat for food.

Your playing with danger.


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  #14  
Old 11/08/07, 11:50 PM
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I believe hintonlady is right. Rams are like bulls and respect strength. The ram shield is good though being able to grab his snout and throw him onto his back is also excellent therapy. This is not being cruel in fact he probably expects you to show him who is boss.

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  #15  
Old 11/09/07, 12:24 PM
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Is the ram alone or with a group? We noticed that our rams were more calm when in with either one wether buddy or a passle of wethers (neutered males) when not breeding. We don't keep our mature rams together but in a separate flock of wethers. We don't try to make friends with them and never pat them on top of the head. I don't like an agressive ram, nor an extremely scared wild ram, both are culled.

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  #16  
Old 11/09/07, 01:44 PM
 
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At the point that I was afraid to go into the pasture with the ram, always bringing the dog, I put the ram in the freezer. He was 4 years old, and had been pretty good until he turned 3. As for leaving him alone, he was much happier when I put his sons in with him (they are herd animals), but I don't think it affected his aggression one way or the other.

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  #17  
Old 11/09/07, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Z
My ram was hurting me going aggressively after the feed bucket last fall. I got a ram shield for him to wear, and it worked wonders. He's had it off most of this year, but he's started his rammy behavior again...after the feed bucket, too, not me. I have been knocked down twice, but the third time I had enough reaction time to swat him across the muzzle, from the side, with the stick I now carry. That stopped him in his tracks. He has no defense against a side blow.
I used a stick as well, aprox 1" x 2" that I always carried with me if I was in the sheep pen. I did not wait for him to even think of charging, I made it a point of going after him, whacking him on the SIDE of the face with the stick. Of course, this is after getting "rammed" several times myself. This worked really well, and we had that ram until he was 7 and is now in the freezer.
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  #18  
Old 11/11/07, 09:26 AM
 
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I think it is unreasonable to expect a ram to act like a ewe. They are male breeding animals, no different than a bull or stud colt, and need to be handled as such. A ram is not your friend. His job is to make babies and give you a nice fleece every year.
I would not automatically cull a good quality ram who takes shots at me. If you go into his pen with feed, or into his breeding harem that he is protective of, you are just asking for trouble.
I carry a large wooden shepherd's crook whenever I enter a pen with a ram, all the time. I have one ram, out of my eight, who is a snot. He was my show ram, handled extensively as a lamb, and has lost his respect.
I've cracked him on a regular basis, and continue to do so. He is a good quality animal, I'm not afraid of him, and his acting rammy isn't a good enough reason for me to lose his genetics. He flinches away whenever he sees the crook. I've also flipped him and sat on him, pinching his nose shut to panic him before I release him.
Don't go into the ram's pen unless you have to. If you can feed and water over the fence, do that. If you absolutely have to go in with him, carry a stick and whack him, scream at him, chase him around until he gets the point that you're not to be messed with.
In the off-breeding season, I'd give him two or three wethers for companionship, for his mental health, then leave him alone. He may always be a snot, but then again he may not be. My rams get very mellow in the heat of the summer.
If this guy is bouncing off the fence trying to get at you, that is exceptionally aggressive. Less than that is just normal behavior for some rams.

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  #19  
Old 11/14/07, 03:32 PM
 
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Hey! I don't let me kids in with the rams - not because they are mean, but they want to play with everyone. They do the same with me - but I will usually sit them on their butt if they get too bad.

Joe is a lot more respected when he walks in the field because they all all challenged him and he won them all.

Me - well during certain times of the month I certainly don't go out in that pen

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