breed question

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by kesoaps, May 2, 2005.

  1. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Washington State
    Hi Valerie!

    I've got one ewe who used to stamp her feet at everyone if they got too close. She was 4 when I got her. Now she'll trample whoever has the grain bucket. Not bashful at all, lol! I've got a dorset ewe lamb that thinks she's a goat, will eat the clothing right off your body and has even tried to jump up on me while I was walking through the field. Most of my sheep are Romney, and pretty docile creatures with the exception of one, who we've had since she was 8 weeks and she's just a flighty girl. So sometimes it's just the luck of the draw and the individual's personality.

    Go take a look at the breeds you'll be able to choose from and see if you like their wool. I'm too new at this to describe the differences, but I've got quite a bit of variety with my three Romneys in regards to what they produce (but they're all crossbreeds, so that's part of it.) Find out if the breeder shears once or twice a year, and if it's once ask how long the staple length is. It doesn't need to be more than 3 inches to spin so if it's 5 or more inches and shorn once a year, be prepared to shear more often. HTH!
  2. lisarichards

    lisarichards Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2004
    When I got my Shetland flock, they were very flighty. They didn't know what a treat was, unlike my Icelandic girls, who could spot an apple from a hundred feet. It took me about two weeks of daily treat duty to get them all to the point of coming to me to see what today's treat would be. Now they like scratches as much as a bit of carrot or a horse crunchie. I've got several Shetland's who know their names, where if they are all herded around me and my husband calls one, that one will turn to see what Dad might be offering to weigh the choices.

  3. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Jul 27, 2004
    My Icelandics will trample you on the way to the food bucket, then shoot 5' straight up in the air if you reach for them... they CAN be trained to be a little friendlier, but the Icelandic is a primitive breed... so they're wired for a little jumpier. We've actually encouraged the "wild side" in our sheep because we think it gives them just that much more defence against an unexpected attack from a dog or coyote.

    Last spring when the coyotes came in my ewes bunched up behind the electric, putting the lambs behind them and in the field fence, and stood in a solid wall between the coyotes and their lambs. I'm pretty sure they weren't "intimidating" but by standing ground as a block the coyotes were confused... their prey drive is triggered by one running animal they can pick off. Anyhow, the ewes bought us enough time to drive the coyotes back and secure everyone inside.

    So we let them be a little wild.
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2004
    New Zealand
    Hi Valerie,
    As has been mentioned, most of it is in the handling and with small numbers it's not too hard to quieten them down. As Catherine said, hand reared lambs can be a right pain.

    If your wanting to learn to spin, the Romney could be a good one for you to start off with. A smaller breed, not too flighty and produces a good fleece. I'm a huge fan of the BL too but have never spun the fleece.