Freezing out there

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by MaKettle, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    And the 5 little pasture pets refuse to come into the barn except to grab a bite. The outer 2 inches of wool was frozen this morning. We've been having rain, snow, and high winds, and they nestle together in the pasture under a tree as though it was still balmy weather. Granted, the wool is thick and long, but, being a new sheep mother, I worry. Slammed the door shut tonight before they could dash out, so they will at least be under cover and eat their hay. It's not that they are unfriendly--they are still spooked by being shut in and given shots, etc by the vet. How much inclement weather can these little Black Welsh Mountain sheep take?
     
  2. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

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    If they were mine I'd keep them in the barn at night, sheep aren't the smartest animal and a bad decision can be amplified 100 times over in bad weather. Try putting bedding down for them, they like straw the best, it will make the barn more attractive to them and will keep in the warmth the best. You can give them a treat to encourage them to come in everynight, just find something they like, a little bit of grain helps us persuade any sheep.
     

  3. Philip

    Philip Philip

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    Thank god we're coming into summer down here ! Never seen snow except on the hills in the distance, and thankful for it (mind you, the farmers down south have to cope with spring snowfalls sometimes that decimate new lambs)
     
  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Nothing seems to faze my cheviot/black welsh mountain crosses, but I still keep everyone in the barn at night. The routine is they get a handful of alfalfa pellets and some sunflower seeds inside the barn at dusk. They have hay available all day long, but alfalfa and sunflower seeds only come out inside the barn at dusk. While they're munching away, I close up the doors. Once they know that dusk + barn = treats, 95% of your battle is over with.

    I deep bed my critters, so there's a good cushion of straw for them to nest down into.

    Right now I'm watching the snow level creep downward. It's currently at 1500', we live at 700'. I'm giving it 2 weeks before the ground here turns white for good.
     
  5. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Mine will come in from the rain, but freezing weather and snow don't seem to bother them. As for being smart, well, animals do surivive in the wild with no barns. I figure if they're comfortable, they'll stay out, and if they're not, they'll come in. Same holds true for all barnyard animals...at least in my experience. (I'd only worry if they were about to drop lambs.)
     
  6. Firethorn

    Firethorn Well-Known Member

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    I dont have any (YET) but one of the reasons have chosen them as one of my dream breeds is the fact that they do well in such conditions. Sheep are not dumb animals. They know where they can get safety if they feel they need it. This breed is one that survived well without people interfearing.
    If you can get them in good. If they refuse I would leave it be.
    I am not an expert.just my 2 cents.
    Mrs C
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Domestic sheep are not wild sheep by any stretch, and keep in mind wild flocks survive or fail with untimely deaths often wiping out entire groups! Once gotten into routine they'll prefer shelter from the rain even without a treat, and you'll benefit from healthier stock.
     
  8. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

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    YES lets point out again that sheep do know when they are too cold, but lets say it's night and sheepA finds a whole in the fence and there is some good fodder on the other side he goes through and then can't find the way back, the temp drops enough to make him seek shelter but he can't get to it, now during the day it's light enough and pleasent enough to jaunt out to check on your flock every so often. But at night when it's freezing, or storming so that you cannot hear him bleating you'll lose a sheep if not many. And I am sorry but sheep are stupid, scientificaly and logicaly, they know what they need to do to survive but if achieving that takes anything other than walking chewing or headbutting they're out.
     
  9. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

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    MaKettle,

    As was already mentioned, Just lock them up at night with some hay, perhaps a light too (if there is one), for encouragement.
    Sheep are quick learners (creatures of habit), once they catch on to the routine they will eventually go in on their own (1-2 weeks?)
    I always recommend that for people who get new lambs from me as well as practice the same for new chickens who come to our place....
     
  10. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

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    Gee Philip,

    It is 19 degrees, here in southern Wisconsin, with blowing snow. 12 degrees this morning and we haven't even started winter yet !!!
     
  11. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Celtic compared to cattle, sheep are gifted. They panic easily and listen to their stomachs a bit too much, but I've been amazed time and again how easily it it to train my sheep to do most everything I need them to do. 90% is doing tasks in a consistant and calm manner that works with what sheep expect. After 12 years raising sheep I'll never go back to cattle, those blockheads deserve a McDonalds ending.