How do you "call" the sheep?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by New Mexican, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. New Mexican

    New Mexican Well-Known Member

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    Ok, we've had these babies for about 2 weeks. (they are 6 months old) I've noticed they are not running so scared now. I hang the laundry about everyday and drop a cup of 3-way grain once a day in a bucket.

    Now I'm wondering if it's time for me to start TRYING to get closer. But how?? Do I use a certain sound? Motion??

    I hate having pets/animals that I cannot pet!! :waa:

    Here they are...soooooooo adorable and graceful!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Shake the grain can before you pour it in, and call them (I call "here sheepies!"). Stand there while they come to eat it. Soon they'll come to hear the grain can rattle...eventually they'll come to hear you call because they'll associate your calling with the grain. Getting them to stand still for you to pet will take even longer - I had my sheep almsot 6 months before they got *that* friendly with me...chasing them down to give vaccination shots was unbelievable! LOL Easy as heck now - they ignore me while they're eating!

    -Sarah
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Pretty much the same for any animal, approach side on and avoid glaring at them in the eye. You can look at them just don't fixate on their eyes. A treat held at arms length should bring them in. Speak softly and move slowly.
     
  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Once they're coming when they hear the grain can rattle, sit down with the grain in your hand stretched out to them. At first they'll just sniff at the grain and skitter off, but eventually they'll take a nibble. Once they're ok with eating the grain out of your hand start giving them a little scritch while they're eating - no sudden moves here! Once they associate you yourself food and realize that scritches are awfully nice you'll have them coming right up to you.

    This can take a couple of months. It seems like a lot of work, but I have no problem getting my goats and sheep to go wherever I need them, they just follow me around. It helps that at random intervals sunflower seeds appear out of my pocket. ;)
     
  5. New Mexican

    New Mexican Well-Known Member

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    Great replies, thanks all. I've started taking a canful of grain now. before I had a small measure cup, but now I make the noise. they are not as skitish.

    The sad thing here......we have a 12 wk old Aussie pup who ran and ran after them yesterday. Poor things. They were so scared and ran in any direction. I tried to call the pup but she has endless energy! She eventually tired out but so did the sheep! I felt so badly. :(


    We wanted to get the pups (also have an 8 week old Aussie pup too) to get used to the sheep,but all they do is run after them!

    Oh well. Now I know it takes time, I'll need to learn patience......NOW!!
     
  6. jejabean

    jejabean Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anything about sheep, but I do know about dogs, and any pup would have done the same thing...I think you are trying to gedt two things accomplished at the same time, and it isn't going to work. Work on your dog's obedience first...then let him get used to the sheep.
     
  7. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    You'll definitely want to keep your pups on leash whenever they're outside. I've a friend who just lost 3 sheep due to her dogs (which she thought were sheep friendly) chasing them down and chewing on them while the poor things were still living. Your Aussie's have a strong herding drive, and untrained will be a menace.

    As for calling the sheep, there are some sheep which are just never too friendly. Of the four I've got, one isn't at all bashful, two are somewhat shy, and the fourth one is just plain wild. We got her at 8 weeks, and DD had her everywhere on a leash, so you'd expect she'd have been a bit more docile, but she's wilder than a march hare. She will, however, come when the grain can rattles!
     
  8. luvewes

    luvewes New Member

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    To get our flock in off the pastures we clap our hands. They are rewarded with their grain when they come in. To train them to come in by signal, you could shake the grain can, use signal, shake the grain can, use signal, etc. until the grain can was no longer necessary. They will catch on quick when they are rewarded by coming in.
     
  9. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Anything but late for breakfast... :)

    Seriously though, "Sheeeeep, sheep, sheep!!!"
    I trained them to come when called by giving them a treat (bread).
    It is handy.

    We also have herd dogs who will move them if that doesn't work. Or they'll move them anyways. One does not always know why the herd dog herds what the herd dog herds... :)

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    in Vermont
     
  10. Rosarybeads

    Rosarybeads Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought... I raised sheep growing up, and they were generally somewhat friendly but not touchable, obviously there were some that were nicer than others. Now that we bought some sheep, they were pretty much the same way, one was friendly but wouldn't let you touch, and the others generally kept their distance and would get spooked. Then we got some goats, and mixed them all together, two of the goats were milking goats, and so they were getting milked and grained every day. Needless to say, I have never seen the "sheepies" so friendly, the two ewes barely let you touch them now, and are starting to like it, ditto for the ram (but I won't.). So I don't know if you have any milking goats or friendly goats, but it is SOOO easy to work these sheep now, we wormed them, and it was easy, they get out, and it is easy... etc... Just a thought.
     
  11. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    My german mother was very specific when I got my sheep... they don't like the "s" sound. Now, mind you, she has a strong german accent, so maybe her "s" is different than mine? Anyhow, she said not to say "sheep, sheep, sheep" but "hup" or "cosh" (at least that's how it sounded) because they "like that sound better."

    Love Mom but I call my sheep in by going out and yelling "where'r my sheep? where'r my sheep?"

    Which, by the way, works about as well as sitting in the driveway and honking the horn would work. If I really want to see them, I rattle a grain pan!
     
  12. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    "I raised sheep growing up, and they were generally somewhat friendly but not touchable, obviously there were some that were nicer than others."

    is there such a thing as a consistently friendly sheep breed? i have never experieced a friendly handlable sheep
     
  13. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Heck, I would never talk to a sheep, everything is supposed to be relayed via the dog, lines of communication you know! :)


    Seriously, sheep are not quite as dumb as most of us think and can be taught to do simple 'tricks' with a little patience. As far as I know the food reward method is the only effective way of training!

    There are some simply trained sheep at The Agrodome in New Zealand. I understand they come from their pens as their names are called and take their positions according to their breed, fortunately there is a little snack waiting on each podium!

    I dont know about particulary touchable breeds but the most nasty little critter I have known was a southdown ram that never missed an opportunity to try and break my knees!
     
  14. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I'll see your southdown ram and raise you a horned Icelandic who was sweetness and light itself, happy to come for a scratch, until you went into his pen... then he turned in Mr. Hyde. Airborne charges! He wasn't going for knees, he was going for the chest!

    He was.. very.. tasty..
     
  15. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

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    With a shaking of a grain bucket :haha: works every time.
     
  16. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Both of mine are friendly. Seamus, the wether, will come up for a scritch and a snack but that's all the attention he wants. Kiwi, the ewe, will just about crawl into my lap given the opportunity. She wants scritches, belly rubs, cuddles, the whole works. They're both Brecknock Hill cheviot/Black Welsh Mountain cross.

    The 2 goats are just as friendly. They don't exactly volunteer for hoof trimming, vaccinations, and worming, but I don't have to do the sheep rodeo routine. I walk in, talk to them nicely, rattle the grain can suggestively, and grab the critter I need to work on.
     
  17. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    "Both of mine are friendly. Seamus, the wether, will come up for a scritch and a snack but that's all the attention he wants. Kiwi, the ewe, will just about crawl into my lap given the opportunity. She wants scritches, belly rubs, cuddles, the whole works. They're both Brecknock Hill cheviot/Black Welsh Mountain cross."

    well not to be critical- but since one is a wether i bet they were bottle babies.
    im just thinking, of course, but it seems to me that there is really only a pet market for goats. that would be great if-the milk was never 'goaty'-and if they stayed in fences like sheep do.
    too bad that sheep are not more like goats- i guess i hated the flakiness of them when i was young. probably cross dorset.
    it would be nice if the herdbred sheep were as handleable (on a general basis, not just the bottle fed 'pets') as herd bred goats are.
    what about jacob's sheep? seen them a couple times, thats it. supposedly the literature claims they are 'goatlike' in temperment. does this mean they are tamer and friendly or that they like to get out of fences??? ;)
     
  18. lisarichards

    lisarichards Well-Known Member

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    We have Shetlands and Icelandics, and all 14 of them like scratches and pats, and will eat treats from our hands. It took me about a month of working with each herd to get them that way, but now, if I go sit in their pens, they all groom and nuzzle me. The Shetlands ewes in particular make sure my long hair doesn't have any hay bits in it.

    Me with my Icelandic girls: http://www.mackhillfarm.com/gallery/11-26-04/125_2505_JFR

    Me and the Shetlands: http://www.mackhillfarm.com/gallery/12-13-04/126_2671_JFR

    I love my sheep!
     
  19. jacobs

    jacobs Well-Known Member

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    I raise jacob's sheep and like any other sheep if they are bottle fed they're very docile. If they're not, you can't touch them. When they lamb they become docile and seem to welcome the help for the first week or so. My wife still gets mad when I bring the ewes in the house to watch tv! I don't have to call my sheep, they call me. As soon as they here the door to the house close they head to the barn and start calling.