Best Breed for family with little children(x-posted in goat thread)

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by MN Mom, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. MN Mom

    MN Mom Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2003
    a state of confusion...ha ha. MN
    We are hoping to get some goats & sheep in the spring, but we have 3 little children(won't say kids, because I don't want it to get too confusing!! ). Our children are ages 5, almost 4 and 1. We don't plan to have our children out with the animals by themselves, but I thought maybe some of ya'll might have some recommendations on a super gentle breed or one that might be the best for our situation. Our other issue is this is our first shot at goats/sheep, so if you also have any recommendations on a good first timer breed. :) Thanks so much. Sara
  2. Windridge Farm

    Windridge Farm New Member

    Oct 12, 2005
    The first question is what do you want them for, just pets? I have gotten to the point where it is easier to handle sheep that are "friendly" not skiddish. We select for that in our flock. We raise a cross of BlueFaced Leicester, English Leicester and Merino-for their fiber. I know that some breeds are more skiddish than others, but I think most of them would be good pets if you raised them either as bottle lambs or handled them as soon as they are weaned. If you just want pets, I also notice that our little wether boys are always the nicest this goes for both sheep and goats. The only thing I would caution against is getting a large breed sheep, many of the show/market breeds are like mini horses. They might be too big for small children. My children are all frequently in the pasture and barn with my sheep.
    As to goats, my kids have 4H goats that are a Nubian cross. I dont know enough about breeds, but they handled from birth, either bottle feeding them or just playing with them in the barn. They are all very friendly(infact my daughters jumps over the fence to be with her).

    So I guess what I am saying is that you just want to bond with them when they are young.

    Some other consideration are if your stock come from OPP and CAE/CL negative flocks. Both are diseases that sheep and goats can have. You might as well start with healthy animals in the first place, it is not easy to try to correct once you have it in the flock.
    Good luck,

  3. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    If you want them for pets only I would suggest ewes or whethers of a small-medium breed. I like my Katahdins really well as far as being gentle and friendly. I also raise barbados and shetlands but they are more skiddish. If you do intend to keep a ram DO NOT get a horned ram. Rams are very dangerous period. If they are gentled down as lambs they lose all fear of people. They become a danger to people and will butt you. Horned rams can be deadly. They have no fear at all because they feel no pain when they hit. I have sold all my horned rams and will NEVER have another. The only one I have right now is a katahdin ram and he is very nice and was raised by me to keep the fear and respect. He is gentle but I do not handle him or try to pet him.