Found out who was petting my little ram

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by MommaSasquatch, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. MommaSasquatch

    MommaSasquatch Well-Known Member

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    My mother. We had the boys penned out behind a building for a while so i couldn't see them from the house. There are some outbuildings back there that are used for her and her bf's business so she's around a couple times a week. I had explicitly told her NOT to pet him but this boy knows how to work an audience and she's a total sucker for anything cute and fluffy. :grump: Anyway I'm glad to say that we've got them up closer with the girls where we can keep an eye on them now and she can't stroll over and baby him without being spotted from the house. She got a thorough talking to and I think I'm going to print out the other recent thread about ram behavior to enforce the point. I don't think she really believes that he could grow up to be dangerous 'cause he's so sweet and friendly now.

    They've been moved for about two weeks now and he's finally getting a little more standoffish which is fine by me.
     
  2. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Mothers... :rolleyes:

    You know, I've got a neighbor who's had sheep for many years...pets, really, more than anything. Still, she was talking a few years back about a ram that'd been aggressive. Then this spring I was at her barn and here she is, petting the ram lamb on the head! He's already beginning to smack her with it, and someone had wanted to use him as a breeding ram. Still, she wouldn't stop petting him! Oye...some people's mothers!
     

  3. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Maybe if you cut out all news article about people who are killed by rams, make a collage and frame it and give it to her for Christmas - from the grandkids...... :rolleyes:

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  4. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    "all the people who are killed by rams"???? What? has there been a resurgence in the level of attacks by the "killer Clun Forest sheep"? I was afraid that might happen.

    Seriously though...I am a newcomer to sheep and out of all the books, research and breeders I have had contact with the dangers of a ram have never come up once. We have even asked about it because we have children. What am I missing here?
     
  5. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    John, "How are y'all keeping your rams docile" post. More people are killed on farms by sheep than by any other animal. When you bend over, the ram thinks you are challenging him to a head butting contest. Unfortunately, your skull and neck are not made the way a ram's is, and when he hits you on the top of the head at full impact --- crunch! Even normally nonaggressive rams will butt you for no apparent reason. When they are in high gear, they keep butting you, you may not be able to get up. Another ram can take this abuse and dish it out. If you pat him on the head, this is seen as a dominance gesture by the ram. As a lamb, he will accept it because he's submissive, but as he gets older, he objects. If he is too used to you petting him and treating and so on, he may see you as equal to him and try to dominate you (butting). If he stays apprehensive, he will tend to stay further from you, giving you more time to get in the pasture to do what needs to be done and get out again. An animal expecting attention is going to head right for you as soon as you come near the gate.
     
  6. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Maura...sorry, I do not mean to be antagonistic, but the fact that sheep are responsible for human deaths more than any other animal is simply not accurate. Horses account for more human injury and death than any other livestock. I don't know which animal is second, but I am pretty sure that it isn't a ram. Cattle would be up there with horses I would think. Remember, sheep don't kill people...people kill people.
     
  7. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    actually...I was just online and in Utah alone, horses account for more than 85% of injuries and deaths in livestock accidents on the farm. That is not including vehicle collisions either. Hogs are actually considered quite dangerous which is surprising in that I grew up and currently own pigs. Cattle were second in statistical injuries which I suspected just due to their size and flight behaviour. Sheep were not mentioned in any research that I came across although I think that there is some potential for them to hurt you with a big butt.
     
  8. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Hi John
    I would agree - though I've not looked it up, I'd bet that horses would be at the top of the list of causes of injuries due to livestock. My guess is that dogs would be at the top for all animal related injuries.

    In answer to your question - no, there are not gangs of rams, roaming the countryside, killing and maiming innocent women and children. :) :)

    However, I can think of 2 incidents in the past couple years where a ram (both Suffolks) attacked and killed their owners. One happened right here in Ohio - an elderly retired minister of our little country church was attacked by his ram, and when his wife came to his defense, the ram turned on her and severely injured her as well.

    My intended message to the "petting mother" was that by ignoring her daughter's repeated requests to not pet the breeding rams, she was putting her grandchildren at risk for injury.

    Best
    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  9. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    oh no please don't get me wrong...I especially appreciate the advice from experienced shepherds when it comes to dealing with rams. I probably would have made the same mistake that countless other new people have. Thanks.
     
  10. sellis

    sellis Well-Known Member

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    i personally would like to add to this , my father bought a suffolk ram that had been showed in fairs and won several awards , after turing him in with the ewes he totally changed you always had to watch your back because this guy would actually stalk you , we called him rambo , well after attacking me and almost breaking my leg we all kinda laughed it off then he attacked my sister causing a misscarrige and her losing the baby , then my dad was disabled and he got him down bad , my dad had to crawl up a ladder to get away from him the ram died of lead poisioning the next day. the attack on my sisiter and dad was in the same day by the way .
     
  11. jasperoo

    jasperoo Member

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    We have a Katahdin ram that we have to watch very closely. He has gotten me twice, my husband once, and our 4 year old once. :flame:

    That was the last straw. He got his attitude adjusted about being close to anyone that is in the pasture. Let's just say that if you tote a stick in the pasture, he won't come within 50 yards of you. He is fine if there are no ewes in heat, but if one is in, he is hateful.

    Oh, and this ram was not "petted on" by anyone. Some rams just feel treatened by people. :shrug:
     
  12. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    Rams can and do kill people. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen.
    From what I've heard, people can get their skulls fractured and necks broken. Another big one is blunt force trauma to delicate internal organs from getting rammed in the abdomen. I also heard of a child being being asphixiated by a ram pressing him up against the wall.
    These are male breeding animals, and are unpredictable. Most shepherds I know have gotten rammed at least once. Sometimes they suffer injury, sometimes they are lucky and are just sore for a few days.
    The only reason rams are not attributed to more human deaths (my opinion) is that they are much smaller than most livestock, don't bite or kick, and need minimal handling.
    I had horses for years, and have been kicked, bit, flipped over on, and had my leg fractured. The horses are gone, I'll keep the deadly wicked sheep anyday, lol! :p
     
  13. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My information came from my vet. I don't know where he got his info from, or how the statistics play out. People tend to give bulls more room and expect passivity from sheep. I'm sure other livestock give worse injuries that sheep, as you can usually walk away from being butted.
     
  14. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    I actually had a sheep break my leg - but it was an accident. We were shearing sheep (very early in our sheep raising days) and were trying to force the ewes into a smaller pen. One ran out and brushed past me, twisting my leg as she went. I limped around on it for a couple hours, and then the pain became unbearable, so my hubby helped me to the house, and the shearer finished up without me.
    When we got to the emergency room, they took x-rays and said I had a fracture. During the discussion of the circumstances with the nurse, she asked why we waited so long before coming to the hospital. My husband explained that he had to finish shearing the sheep. An older gentleman waiting to be treated snorted and said "well, thank goodness she did not have a heart attack!". :rolleyes:

    Hey, we farm wife are tough!
    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  15. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    john,

    The ram I was asking about is definitely getting more masculine in his behaviour. I went out yesterday evening to work more on the fence, and had to make sure that when i worked, I could see him-- he is no longer just walking up to me-- he is coming at a trot, and he is "pawing" the ground-- amazing what long scrapes his short little legs can make. Hopefu;ly, when i get him some more company, he will calm down a bit-- but the local does (as in deer) are still in estrus, and he is very much aware of it. Now, i USE animal behaviour to train animals whenever I can--and some recent research I did on anatomy expolains why the rams get more agressive when their heads are petted-- horns or not, the horn plate is loose, when compared to that of a goat or bull, so the hormonal stimulation will be triggered much more easily.
     
  16. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Well thanks for the "heads up" on all of this. I certainly would have taken them lightly. I am in pens with 600 pound boars and bulls and stallions all the time over the course of my life and wouldn't have thought about a ram being dangerous.
     
  17. sunnygrl

    sunnygrl Well-Known Member

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    how long does it take a ram to become agressive? My mom has a ram who is getting close to 3 years and he has never been agressive to anything. Butted her airconditioner a couple of years ago but nothing since. She keeps him in the pen with the ewe and my kids are around them in the pen all the time.
     
  18. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It depends on the breed. The breed you have may be naturally laid back and nonterritorial. If there is only one ewe, which he breeds, then there are not several ewes cycling. The rams get "excited" when the ewes are cycling and the nicest ram in the world will suddenly feel alpha.