Two rams...seperate or together?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by eb, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. eb

    eb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    69
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Another novice question for you experienced sheep folks...

    I recently bought a small herd, 6 ewes and 2 rams. The rams are from different bloodlines so I would like to keep both so that I can breed the opposite's offspring to the opposing ram...I have a relatively small(by design) stall they are in, about 6x12 with lots of tires on the ground to prevent them from getting upto "ramming" speed...and everyday I run them out into a small pasture for fresh air/grass. Problem is, unless I watch them while they are out, within a few minutes they usually try to kill each other (butting heads with an unbeleivable force and speed!).

    Question is: what is normal, or best practive when keepign two rams? Should I just keep them seperated from each other, with seperate shelter and seperate pasture? DO they need to be out of sight from each other to? Or do I house them together, but also provide them a very small outside area, also littered with obstacles to prevent getting up speed?

    Expect for the fact that they occasionaly try to kill each other, I do beleive they prefer being together than seperate, and I'd like to raise/keep them as humanely as possible, but I can't risk a serious injury and can't afford to spend the time monitoring them when they are out..

    Suggestions?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,078
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    Personally I would get the ewes bred with one ram and then get rid of him. Some rams get along just fine, (I keep all 13 of mine together) and will go through a short head butting "fight" to sort out pecking order but I've never lost one yet. They certainly CAN seriously injure one another and I have had to remove Jr rams for a month or so if they are not fitting in well. If you can rent a ram and not own any you might find it easier all round.
     

  3. Karen Gaietto

    Karen Gaietto Active Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    ohio
    We raise shetlands. I have 4 rams and they get along most of the time. Only have trouble right after shearing due to the fact that they can no longer readily identify each other. At that point we put them into a very smallarea so they can not hurt each other.( also put vicks under their noses so they all smell the same) Then let them out into their regular pen after two days. If you really watch even ewes will fight time to time. You know our animals best, are they misbehaving more now, because of the eagerness to breed? Or do they never get along.
     
  4. Kasidy

    Kasidy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    150
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    I buy two new rams every three years. Two different breeds, but the same age/size. They run together year round except for the first three weeks of breeding season when I put them each with about 25 ewes. The last five weeks ("clean-up" in case one of the rams has a problem settling ewes) they are together with the ewes. They butt heads a little, but usually nothing terribly spectacular unless a ewe did not get bred the first three weeks. Then it can be rather violent, with the columbia developing a bald spot from the head crashing. But in fifteen years I have never lost a ram or had a real injury. I think it is best if they are very similar in age and size and if they have been together for a while before breeding begins.
     
  5. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    395
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
  6. Polly in NNY

    Polly in NNY Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    170
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    My boys live together peacefully all year. Of course, they fight on and off, but nothing to cause injury. After breeding season when they go back in together I confine them to a small area with hay bales for obstacles. I only have to do this for a couple of days until order is reestablished.
     
  7. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    Messages:
    8,280
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    Now in Virginia
    Is that normal? Well, it depends on the breed.
    What you describe is one reason I stopped breeding certain breeds.

    But, I was lucky, I found a breed, and no kidding, I could just put all the Rams together with no problems, even after breeding season. Nothing needed to be done in a special manner. The Rams, would jump up and down on their hind legs, come down, and barely touch heads.. then they were best buds. Not once did I ever see one Ram each other.
    Could walk in the pasture at breeding time, and never once had a Ram even look at me. Well, unless I had the food. Then he would follow me calmly with the rest of the ewes.
    But with any Ram no matter how gentle, I always kept and eye on him.

    It is up to you, what you want to put up with. There are a few good gentle Rams out there.

    For me, Ram temperament was very important, along with conformations and fleece Quality.