Should I think about getting some sheep or not?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by TinaNWonderland, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. TinaNWonderland

    TinaNWonderland Well-Known Member

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    My husband came home yesterday and told me that he'd heard about a teeny breed of sheep called Baby doll sheep, so I looked 'em up on the internet. They look cute, and I like the idea of them being so small, about the size of my pygmy goats. I'm wondering if sheep might be something I'd be interested in getttin some day? So that's why I'm posting here to y'all experts! :)

    I have a couple pygmy goats and have heard that goats and sheep do fine together. This may be a stupid question, but I don't know crap about sheep so I'm gonna ask, will sheep and goats cross breed? I'm thinking no, but don't really know. And do you have to keep the male sheep seperated from the girl sheep like in goats, or do the ewes and rams stay together all the time?

    How does one find out if there is a place to sell wool in their area of the country? I know you can sell it "at market" by the pound, I just don't know where that "market" is! Or do most people sell the wool to people for spinning, and if so, do you sell over the internet or just advertise?

    I'm a vegetarian, so I don't care what they taste like, since I ain't gonna eat 'em! :haha:

    So, tell me all about sheep raising, pro and cons! If I get sheep, it'll probably be the Baby Doll kind, so advice on them would be great!
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Your goats will likely start out pushing them around, hopefully it would be short lived. We had pygmies and they'd butt the full sized suffolks as hard as they could. My evil North County Cheviots would properly defend themsleves but from my perspective it wasn't a happy mix, so we kept them seperate. Once you've had sheep for a while you'll find you like them better than goats anyhow! :D The biggest problem with keepign goats and sheep together is they need a different mineral mix. Goats need added copper sheep should not have supplimental copper (all animals need copper in some amount you just don't feed it to sheep in most circumstances ) Will they cross breed. Short answer is yes or maybe and they will certainly try, with poor results most of the time. Geeps do exist and there was a post on this here a while ago. Not sure how seasonal baby dolls are some breeds do OK with a ram present some will breed out of season and give you plenty of surprise lambs. No idea if baby doll wool is useful or prefered...... all wool has a market some where and I've seen unprocessed fleeces sold on ebay so somebody somewhere wants it. Raw wool is not worth much so don't plan on it adding alot to your income. Look for a local spinners and weavers guild, someone from there may buy it directly.
     

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    "Once you've had sheep for a while you'll find you like them better than goats anyhow! "

    Now see, I don't agree. ;) I'm pretty darned fond of my cashmeres. I have 2 cheviots I keep with my goats and they do fine most of the time. The goats are definitely dominant in the herd hierarchy and can get bossy - you have to keep an eye out for that. The goats and sheep have separate feed stanchions, I add goat minerals to the grain the goats get and keep sheep minerals out for everybody free choice. So far they're all healthy.
     
  4. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with Ross that I enjoy raising sheep more than I did goats. But is personal preference. My two best friends love their goats and don't care too much for sheep. :) I do like goats but have decided at this time to stick with sheep. I had pygmys, and the goats bullied the sheep terribly. (The goats had horns, and I didn't want to deal with disbudding.) We ended up getting rid of the goats before someone lost an eye.
    I raise both babydolls and shetlands. I like them both, but they both have different uses. Shetlands are actually smaller and lighter than the babydolls. They are also less expensive. Not knocking the dolls, Just giving you some things to think about. I like to say that the dolls have a thick, draft horse build, and the shetlands are more delicate and deer-like in build. I have trouble tipping even the doll ewe to do hooves, but can flip my shetland ram with no trouble.
    I sell skirted shetland fleece on the internet for $12 a pound average, depending on quality. I don't make much from fleece, as I'm kind of picky what I sell and I end up composting some of the fleeces if I don't like the amount of hay in it. The shetland is bred as a wool sheep, where the babydoll is actually a miniature southdown, which is a meat breed. At this point in time, I would classify the babydoll as an exotic or novelty breed. I personally find the babydoll fleece inferior to shetland wool and end up composing some of it due to a shorter staple than what some seem to prefer for spinning. The doll fleece is not as durable, and the dolls have more lanolin and get dirty easier. But I hear of some doll breeders who just love it. Again, personal preference.
    I don't like the taste of lamb, but I get about a dollar a pound on the hoof for extras or culls going to the sale barn.
    I find the personalities of the two breeds similar. Some are lap-sheep, some I can't get within 20 feet of, some in between. :) And they are both pleasing to the eye as both lambs and mature animals.
    I keep my rams seperated except during breeding season. I like to keep lambing down to a 6-8 week period of milder weather. Plus, I like to relax in my ewe pasture, sit down and cuddle and smootch with my girls. You cannot do that when a ram is in, as he might send you flying. Babydoll rams are just as unpredictable as any other ram. :eek:
    This is a great time of year to visit some farms, county and state fairs and talk to some shepherds, get your hands into some fleeces. Start with a few wethers and see how you like keeping them before investing a ton of money in them.
    Some who run sheep with goats get around the copper issue by putting goat blocks up where they sheep cannot get them. The goats will stand on their hind legs to get the salt. But if you have pygmy's, that may not work.
    Hope this helps...

    Juliann
    [​IMG]
     
  5. primroselane

    primroselane Well-Known Member

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  6. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have Nigerian Dwarf goats and full-size mixed breed sheep. I've kept them together right along and they are fine together. As someone mentioned, the goat mins must be kept away from the sheep. Not sure what would happen if I tried to add a new one to the group. I think the sheep are easier to be around, as they are less "mouthy", while the goats nibble and bite everything. I was feeding this morning, and a ewe was a bit frisky. She swung her head around and hit me in the hip, felt like a concrete block. Ow!
     
  7. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    It's getting to be that time of year for the sheep, and they are feeling it! I think we are looking at an early fall this year, the ewes are head-butting with each other, the rams are full of sass! My mare is getting fuzzy around the edges, she usually doesn't start her winter coat for another month or so!
    I hope everyone is stocked up on hay!