How do you call your sheep?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by John Hill, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    We have just been on a visit to Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) and we visited a small farm owned by an old friend of mine. He has five sheep and asked me 'How do you call your sheep?' What he meant was what pet name do we use when we want the sheep to come.

    This question set me back as, as I told him, we dont talk to the sheep at all. If we want the sheep to come we tell the dog and she goes and gets them.

    So, if you call your sheep what names do you use?
     
  2. LOL http://homesteadingtoday.com/images/icons/icon10.gif what a great thread!

    Our sheep do have names, but getting them to come to their names? Only a couple do that. My ram "Weasley" will come to his name and one of my ewe lambs "Marmalade" or "Marmalady" (she was a hard birth and came out neon orange... so....) knows her name. But mostly they recognize open arms and wiggling fingers mean skritches are in the offing.

    To get the whole flock in motion we use clapping hands to call them in. We've taught them that the sound of clapping means grain, so rather than the "push" mechanism of dogs, we use the "pull" mechanism of intermittent positive reinforcement. They get grain about every other time they come to the clap, which is a more powerful reinforcement than if we grained them every time.

    Icelandic sheep are fleet of feet and somewhat feral, so they don't herd well with dogs. But they can be motivated by grain, and they can learn to associate a sound (in our case clapping) with grain. To see some of our flock visit http://www.gatewaytostowe.com/CabinCam

    By the way... my mother says sheep don't like the "s" sound, and she always called the flock in by calling "Muck, muck, muck."

    T
     

  3. Snomama

    Snomama Well-Known Member

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    Well......we only had ewes to begin with so we just called "hey ladies" cheerfully and gave them grain every other time too, it works beautifully :) The ram comes now too, he doesn't mind being called a lady at all, but that may be because he is so very obviously "macho looking" he is not easily intimidated! :haha:

    I think you can come up with anything you like, just reinforce with the grain and they will come!

    Snomama
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We use a dog too but my SIL can call hey-ewe and they seem to come for her. If I whistle as if the dog is there they move well enough until they realize they're being deeked. They come for grain bucket rattles too, and you'd better have a good escape route planned!
     
  5. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    I imagine there would be a mass uprising with dogs carrying placards upon Parliament if farmers around here started communicating directly with their sheep!
     
  6. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    I usually holler sheeeeeep and they come running, but they do the same just on seeing me. Of course, they also know I'm the one that brings them the sheep formula referred to as goodie-goodie. They haven't had any in awhile but still come running when they hear my voice or see me on the deck.

    :D
     
  7. woolfool

    woolfool Member

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    I call "sheep sheep" or "sheepie sheepies" and they all perk up and know it is time to go in for the night. Robert or "baa"b for short knows his name and comes when I call. I know at Colonial Williamsburg they call "sheep sheep" and they come as well.

    Yelling "Clara, Nell, Phoebe, Ethel, Rachel, Mollie, Flossie and "baa"b" doesn't work too well :)

    Victoria
     
  8. BuffaloGal

    BuffaloGal Member

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    I just holler "Run!" They do.