What about having a few sheep to keep goats company?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by americanbulldog, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. americanbulldog

    americanbulldog American Hunter

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    What are the pro's and con's of having goats and sheep together? What do you think about sheep keeping goats company? Male sheep with male goats and females with females.
    Thanks
     
  2. Laurie J

    Laurie J Well-Known Member

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    We have 21 sheep with (currently) 26 babies. We also have 10 Nubian and Boer goats from age 4 to young kids. The sheep and goats keep to themselves in our case. Our ram has never bothered the goats. Here in Southwest Washington, we have a lot of out-of-control blackberry bushes and brush, which goats seem to prefer. The sheep take care of the pasture, and the goats the brush, so it's a perfect situation! No problem to report from me with running goats and sheep together.
     

  3. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    They normally run together just fine.
    But do becareful with the mineral salts or feed. Sheep can't have as much copper as the goats need.
     
  4. animal_kingdom

    animal_kingdom Well-Known Member

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    And...don't back off on the copper for your goats or you'll have truckloads of problems...This I have learned...
    Separate goat & sheep when you bring out the minerals ;)
     
  5. reluctantpatriot

    reluctantpatriot I am good without god.

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    The bucks and rams do ok together, but in sorting out the heirarchy, sheep and goats battle differently. Sheep run and ram while goats rear back on hind legs and crack heads together. The two distinct fighting methods can cause some issues if a ram and buck get highly aggressive when sorting out the pecking order, but otherwise, not really a problem.

    As for having separate minerals, that is impossible for me. When possible I give the bucks some Golden Minerals, but otherwise the main mineral/salt mix is formulated for sheep for proper copper level for them.

    Sheep and goats work out well when you have a wide variety of vegetation you need taken care of. What one species won't eat or doesn't like, the other one generally will.

    Goats and sheep are herd animals and get used to funny looking "goats" or "sheep" depending on which species you ask. :haha: Just keep the males away from the females as both goats and sheep will mount the female of the other species.
     
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  6. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    I just wanted to mention that there are many people who think that you have to have goats for brush control. Not true!! My sheep actually prefer blackberries, shrubs, cedar, etc to grass. All I have are sheep and I don't have any brush or briars left in my pasture. Also as many have said here keep males and females seperate. They actually can cross breed but they end up aborting the baby, which can throw your breeding season all off.
     
  7. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    My goats and sheep get along really well. They actually holler and fuss if I separate them.

    I couldn't figure out any way to get the goats and the sheep separate minerals on my place, so I have sheep minerals out free choice and the goats get "copper cookies" (a granola bar with a mashed up copper bolus mixed up in it). So far, so good.
     
  8. americanbulldog

    americanbulldog American Hunter

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    Wow, Jen that sounds kind of neat. So you have some sort of mineral licks out for the sheep and the goats don't bother with them, and then you have bars you give only to the goats that have copper?
    What type of licks? If a goat did get into the licks would they hurt them?
    Thanks.
     
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  9. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    The difference between goat and sheep minerals is the copper content - goats need it, sheep can't have it. So they all have access to the sheep minerals (Sweetlix is the brand my feed store carries) and once a week the goats each get a copper cookie. It's just easier than giving the goats a bolus.

    I make my own granola bars for snacks and just adapted the recipe for the goat cookies. It would be easy to just stick the copper onto a regular granola bar with some honey, though.
     
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  10. livestockmom

    livestockmom Well-Known Member

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    We have goats and sheep together too and we have Sweetlix loose minerals as well, free choice. That sounds interesting with the cookies, where do you get copper? How do you know how much to give them? I worry that giving their ration at one time would be harmful, but it has worked for you....(copper can be toxic) How did you learn how to do this, I would love to read more about it, sounds like it works well for you.
     
  11. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    For the copper dosages, I take the figures John Matthews gives in "Diseases of the Goat" (if you have goats and no vets in the area who can tell a goat from a sheep, you really need this book) and decrease them by 1/4 to avoid toxicity.

    Copper Sulfate is easy to find at garden stores (it's used as a fungicide) and feed stores (used for foot baths). It's really drying to the goat's mucous membranes, so that's something to keep in mind. The book's dosage is 254 grams/ kilogram of body weight.

    Copper oxide boluses you can find at feed stores (look in the cattle section), and online at Jeffer's. That dosage is 1 gram/ 10 kilograms body wieght (you will have to cut the boluses or mash them to get the right dosage).

    If you have a decent way to keep the sheep out of the goat minerals, that really is the way to go. I can't keep the sheep out of the goat minerals - they've figured out every obstacle I can think of. So the cookies are my compromise solution - the goats get enough copper that their coats come in nicely (I have cashmeres) and hooves are nice and strong, and the sheep don't get poisoned.

    As a note, if you have a vet who does know something about goats follow their advice! Also, this routine works well for my cashmere goats. You may need to adjust the dosages for dairy or meat goats. If your animals are doing well without the added copper, I personally wouldn't bother adding it - my goats were having problems with sparse coats and really soft hooves.
     
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  12. livestockmom

    livestockmom Well-Known Member

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    Jen, what a great goatie mom you are for researching that and figuring out how to make it work for you, fantastic!
     
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