ram?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by dirtywhitellama, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. dirtywhitellama

    dirtywhitellama I don't have llamas.

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    We don't have sheep yet and may not for a while (or possibly ever depending on how things go) but we'd like a couple at some point and just getting prepared information wise.

    I was wondering how difficult rams are to keep. Could I just keep one with a few ewes and have everything be fine? Are they aggressive or .... well I don't even know what questions to ask! I know we were looking into goats and definitely didn't want to keep a buck. I'm just wondering if a ram could be relatively convenient to keep?
     
  2. catahoula

    catahoula Well-Known Member

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    We have a ram that is very gentle, standoffish but gentle, his father however, is mean as heck. I beleive that temperment varies with rams, the same as it would with other animals. I have heard of people keeping thier ram with thier ewes all year round. I seperated our ram after our ewes lambed because I was afraid he might bully the lambs, in retrospect I don't think he would have. The other reason I seperated him from the ewes was because I didn't want lambs in Febuary. So if you don't care when you get lambs it wouldn't be a problem. Sheep are fun and easy to keep you should get some, I'm a sheep pusher.
     

  3. dirtywhitellama

    dirtywhitellama I don't have llamas.

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    I'd like to but we don't have the land for it now. Thanks for your reply. So basically if I want a ram who I can keep without extra hassle I need to look for one who's already proven to have a gentle disposition?
     
  4. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    We have a large ram that is just the biggest baby. He's a real sweetheart of a sheep and stays with our ewes all the time except just a couple of months before breeding. You don't have to pull your ram out, but that is our practice. I do know other people that have rams that are just down right awnery.
     
  5. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Our rams are gentle but I still don't trust them, especially during the breeding season. The ones that are the friendliest sometimes turn out to be the most dangerous during this time of year because they have no fear of humans.

    We have a portion of the pasture sectioned off with a cattle panel fence. That is the rams' pasture when they are not with the girls. However, when I first started raising sheep, I did keep my ram with the girls year round. Besides not knowing exactly when the girls were bred, I had no problems. The ram never bothered the lambs. He also never charged or butted us.
     
  6. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    I haven't found rams difficult to keep. We have five.
    You can certainly run him with your ewes year round, but you will always have to be conscious of the fact that you have a male breeding animal around. That means extra awareness when working with the sheep.
    Rams are unpredictable, end of story. They should be treated like any other male breeding animal, stud horse, bull, or cock. They can be respectful one day and snotty the next. There is always a first time for a ram to charge.
    I seperate my rams from my ewe flock because I like to spend a lot of time with the girls without having to worry about being knocked over.
     
  7. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have 6 rams all together, and none of them have ever caused problems...the only ram that has caused problems is one that I bought that had been raised by a school and let learn how to butt people....he went in the freezer. All our rams are progeny of our ewes....I dont ring the rams when lambs cos I like to see how they grow out before I decide whether they get to stay a ram or go in the freezer. ;)
     
  8. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    The first couple of years we had sheep, I borrowed a ram. He was nice and respectful, a bit shy and kept his distance from us.

    Then I bought a dorset ram lamb who was easy to deal with, but we only kept him for the first year, so he didn't have time to develop ram tendencies, which tend to show up around their third year.

    The dorset was followed by Walter, the icelandic ram lamb I purchased in January. He was six months old when we got him. He was a bit stand offish at first, which suited me just fine, but then he realized that I was the food wagon. Took just a few days, and he was following me around like a puppy dog. Somewhere between seven and eight months he tried (half heartedly) to ram into me. I smacked him upside the head with a garbage can lid. The battle began that day. I had to watch my every step with Walter, and he wasn't even a year old. By the time his first birthday rolled around, he was off to freezer camp, as it just wasn't safe for anyone to walk through a field that had him in it.

    So the moral of the story is...treat them all like rams and not like pets, because one of them is going to turn on you. I'd expected to get a couple years use out of Walter, but he was just way too aggressive. He had four sons here, one of which thinks he's a cocker spaniel...with horns. That boy is certainly headed to freezer camp like his father.

    Yes, you could keep your rams in with your ewes. Some will always be sweet. Some won't. No way of knowing for sure until somebody turns on you one day. I learned with Walter that a ram pen and a buddy for him was best. I wouldn't have had to be out in the field with him where he'd become accustomed to my presence; I could have just tossed hay over the fence and not come into contact with him, and perhaps he'd never have gotten so bad, so early.

    Of course, the whole thing often boils down to the size of your operation as well. And if you don't mind turning the rams every year or two into dinner, you can probably get by with the young ones running with your ewes. JMHO, or course :shrug:
     
  9. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    Dorpers cycle year round so I have to keep my ram seperate to control lambing times. When hes not with "the girls" he will HURT YOU!! He was very tame when younger but is very territorial. Any 300 lb animal can be dangerous even if "tame" so I would never turn my back on ANY ram. If he didnt make such pretty babies Id cull him, but theres no promise the next one would be any different.
     
  10. dirtywhitellama

    dirtywhitellama I don't have llamas.

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    Sounds like it will be extra hassle either way! Doesn't sound like we'd be getting a ram unless we really needed him around.
     
  11. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    If you're not into having purebred lambs (if they're for meat, it won't matter) you can always get an inexpensive ram lamb that's a mixed breed, keep it for breeding in the fall, then eat it. They're not a whole lot of trouble the first year, in general. Or just borrow one from your neighbor.
     
  12. jlo

    jlo Active Member

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    Our main breeding ram is an easy keeper. He went through a stage just before his first breeding season where he would get overexcited when we went out to feed and would butt you and the bucket from behind when you were walking to the trough. Enough to let you know he was there, but not really AGGRESSIVE. Nipped it in the bud by carrying water a few times instead of corn and tossing it in his face instead. He learned to keep his distance and is very well behaved toward us. He's a bit hard on the fences when he's separated from his ladies and is not afraid of dogs either, but I have ewes that are more trouble to handle than he is. We just don't coddle him or pet him or forget that he is a ram and keep a special eye open to him during breeding season. He's probably my favorite sheep on the farm. Definately has the most personality.

    I've heard some horror stories though, and we decided that we would not keep any animals that were really aggressive. If I felt like it was dangerous to walk in the field with him, I would get rid of him. I wouldn't be scared to keep a ram on the farm, I would just be aware of him, respect him, don't try to turn him into a pet, and if he starts acting up get rid of him. I've had more trouble with roosters than with our rams and ram lambs.
     
  13. dirtywhitellama

    dirtywhitellama I don't have llamas.

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    That leads me to another question, if one has to get rid of an older ram (older than the typical butchering age) does being a ram have a significant impact on the meat as opposed to being a ewe? if it does would castrating several weeks before help any? (I've read you can do that with pigs)

    I don't know if its something I would want to do or not but it's a possibility to keep in mind..
     
  14. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    From what I've heard from others, a ram really isn't going to taste rammy until about three years of age. The younger the animal, however, the more tender the meat. Older sheep are often turned into burger, sausage or pepperoni. We did the sausage and pepperoni with our young ram, as dh wanted to try it, and it's quite good! But many experienced shepherds will tell you they reserve that for the older sheep. So you could easily butcher a lamb for the usual cuts, and when you tire of your ram, get pepperoni and sausage!
     
  15. dirtywhitellama

    dirtywhitellama I don't have llamas.

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    Thanks, that definitely makes sense.

    By the way, I keep looking at Icelandic photos, and darn if they aren't the cutest things. Plenty of other very useful sheep are just a bit plain, with the whole roman nose and everything, but I haven't seen a photo of an icelandic I didn't get all cutsey over.
    edit: and I'm really excited for a couple if we ever get the space for them!


    Maybe there will be some for me to see at the spokane fair this week, we're going on sunday.....
     
  16. jlo

    jlo Active Member

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    We work a lot with a Nigerian clientele and they don't mind older mutton flavor--mature sheep are very hard for them to come by in our area (everyone sells lamb and everyone wants a mild flavor). Obviously they don't sell as high as tender lamb does, but we don't have a problem getting rid of older animals with our ethnic customers. They prefer mature beef too and I've been told that we won't have any problems getting rid of older cows and bulls--they prefer animals over 3 years old. I guess they just like the "stronger" flavors. And they know ways to cook it that we don't.

    We'ver never sold wethers as meat animals before. Haven't needed too. I've read that some ethnic markets really prefer them to be entact, but we haven't actually run into this yet. My biggest issue is that we really get to know our main rams and I get attached to them more easily than some of our really flock-y ewes.