What is it called-- and what is happening when

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Terry W, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    I finally got my ram and his buddy wether this past weekend, and was 'reminded' about a potential cause of accidental death--

    These sheep are kind of wild-- no halter training at all. The collars I had gotten them are too big to use for control-- so I slipped a noose over the wether's neck-- of course, he fought it..several times-- At one point-- he dropped-- my brother asked if he had "passed out" and I told him I remeber it is something that happens "in nature" to make a predator lose interest-- but darn if I can't remember the name. It kind of reminds me of the myatonic goat thing- except all the joints are still relaxed.
    We had issues with a power outage last night-- and trying to load these guys back into my truck in order to keep them from being coyote food their first night here was a challenge!! It did not help matters any that a huge electrical storm was the cause of the power outage-- and I am sure the sheepies associated the storm with upheaval-- as the skies had opened up just before I loaded them into the truck when I picked them up!!!

    My brother just let me know there is still no power out there--so far out in the boonies-- even the people with generators have emergency lighting in the form of candles and oil lamps!!!
     
  2. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you were using a noose he may have passed out from lack of oxygen.

    My sheep are not halter trained either. They are trained to the sound of grain in a bucket. The next time you need to move your sheep, try leading them with a little grain.
     

  3. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Its called nearly choking to death...... :rolleyes:


    Lisa at Somerhill
     
  4. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    No-- it has a name--has something to do with stress-- And until these guys get to klnow I have treats in my poclet, and get "brave enough" to approach, I have to keep them under 100% personal control. I saw this happen with a flock I was hand shearing a few years ago-- it was like they would just stress out and go down. breathing is fast and shallow-- Owner sdaid some "saurvive" and others don't-- and the more often a sheep "passes out" like that, the l;ess likely oit will survive the next episode.

    there is no "choking" involved here-- When they try to back up and the "noose" tightens, I step around and bring them closer to me, and physically cause the loosening to happen as they get closer to me.( getting close to person= no choking, and food , a double reinfocement)

    I have decided to use a harnes-- dog type--_ to lead train these guys. but I need to get a smaller pair of harnesses-- they can back right out of these. There will be no ewes brought in until I can safely and securely handlle this ram and his buddy. Buying "wild" animals is not my choice in this situation, but when one has chosen something that is rare or hard to come by, one has to deal with the lack of handling by the previous owners. I can't imagiona not having every large animal on a place NOT trained to halter and lead, unless one is running a commercial operation and can afford the thousands of dollars in handling aids-- like chutes, squeeze boxes, and pneumatic syringes.

    Maybe this is the wrong forum-- IF someone thnks Barbadios blackbellies are American Blackbellies, or if you all assume I know absolutely nothing about animals I need to hang out with other rare breed people, and not with "show" people.
     
  5. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Well, in my case, you are talking to someone who has 100 plus sheep, and the idea of halter training them to lead around is kinda nutty for my situation. :rolleyes: If I were a show person, I would have them halter trained.
    We don't have much money - if fact, our sheep operation has always been on a showstring, but we do have a handling facility and chute. The sheep walk through it without much fanfare, and we can sort, worm, FAMACHA, vaccinate, band lambs, do bloodtesting, etc from it. In our case, its a MUST to make working with the sheep safe for them and for us. Since its safe and not a hassle, we get things done when they need to be.

    Its fun to watch - our guard dogs will actually lead the sheep to the barn for us. I just tell Luke to go the the barn, and the girls follow. He knows there is a biscuit in it for him. :rolleyes:

    I will say, once a year when we move the rams across the road to turn them in with the ewes, it would be nice to have them trained to walk on a leash. But we make do with a bucket of corn and someone behind to **** them along so they don't decide to zig instead of zag. :rolleyes:

    Sorry, I don't know the name of the syndrome you are asking about - it does not sound like a trait you'd want in your sheep if its something that could kill them.

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  6. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I'm kind of curious as to why you want to have collars on your sheep? I've never heard of anyone doing that (and no, I'm not a show person, and I do know what Barbados sheep are!). I keep collars on my goats, but only with close observation, because they can get caught on things and hang themselves, and I would imagine sheep would be at risk for that, also. When I had sheep, I did as Somerhill said, and used a bucket of grain to get them to follow me. Of course, they have to be trained to eat grain first, and yours might not be yet. Can you make a pen for the rams with cattle panels? I'm assuming the reason you had to put them back in your truck during the power outage was because you had electric fencing and it was out? I use cattle panel pens for my goats -- four panels and some kind of three-sided shelter is all they need, even in the winter (and there are some folks down the road with Barbados sheep who do just fine in our climate kept the same way). This type of pen is quick and easy to set up, although I do recommend putting an extra post in the middle of each panel, as the animals like to stand on the panels and they bow out after a while. You don't even need a gate. Just leave one end of a panel loose and fasten with a length of chain and a snap (I use a carabiner).

    Kathleen
     
  7. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    I use collars on my sheep. Lead them around like goats, even though some folks have told me sheep don't lead like goats. Sure is easier with a halter, though, to keep control over their heads (the big ones will pull you right off your feet!)

    Anyway, I suppose if you can see the noose loosening before your sheep falls to the ground, then you know it hasn't tightened to the point of choking him. But if he's pulling, then it's not loose...so perhaps a collar would be better. I don't think a harness would work with a sheep at all.

    I do know what you're talking about, though, as I've had sheep do the same thing. I find it far easier to get them accustomed to coming to the rattle of a grain can before I try leading them. Then I can have the rustle of just about anything catch their interest and they chase after me just about anywhere.
     
  8. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    Sometimes I have to take my sheep to graze on a collar and lead. I use a collar that doesn't 'choke', and I've seen my sheep do this exact same thing, always when I want them to go where They choose not...

    They buckle their front legs as just go down. It's like a brat having a tantrum.

    I've also seen them do it as a technique to hold onto their position in front of the feed trough... no collars for miles around...
     
  9. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Collars provoide color coding for those not really into the whys and wherefores of reproduction. When I had 12 dogs, I color coded the collars-- my young kids could not understand "in season" but they could understand no Blue collars in the same run with a red collar!! Blue collars and green collars or green and red were okay. ANyone who will be helping with my sheep probably wont be aware of the difference between a wether and a ram. Or they won't have any concern about which ram is with which ewe
    Also, I have several disabilities, and quite frankly, I HAVE to find ways of making things safe for me without having to expend a lot of energy or riskingmy boidy poarts zigging when I need to zag!

    We have coyotes in the area- Can't trust any fence that doesnt have a hot wire on top,. and a "scare" wire at the bottom on the outside. My stupid solar powered charger that I bought is not yet charged up--seems one has to charge it a full week the first time....fat lot of good it does me now--- but for the next time, I won't lose fence

    Put the sheep on the dog run wires today ( overhead trolley system) and watched their learning curve as they found the limits each tiome they tangled I went down the line, and gently untangled,. gave an all over hands on to the whole body, scratched under the chin, and then offered corn from my pocket, None takers directly from hand-- but they are now looking at the bucket qwhen I throw it in-- And it was a lot easier to get them from A to B after thge time was up-- about 4 hours of watching, helping, and letting them graze/browse Ernie likes Sedges, While Ira likes grass flower heads. Both are ignoring the plantains...

    oh, I did NOT name these guys...
     
  10. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    I don't wish to be rude but I will probably come across as being so - I feel bloody sorry for your sheep. Sheep are a nomadic animal which we have already confined to paddocks and in the case of some European countries, to barns and pens. Now your confining yours to dog wires. I don't like them for dogs and they're even worse for sheep.

    Like Somerhill, I run close to 100 sheep. I cannot imagine them all with collars. God forbid but most of them would be dead in short order as they strangled themselves on shrubby plants, fences, blackberry and whatever else got in the way. I do know the whys and wherefores of reproduction and don't need collars on either my sheep or dogs to keep tabs on it. If whoever is helping you with your sheep can't tell the difference between a ram and a wether, they shouldn't be there. You don't say what your disabilities are and while I take my hat off to you for giving it a go, don't make your stock suffer just so that you can handle them.

    In 30 years of keeping sheep I have never seen this "fainting" and hope I never do. Sheep don't play "dead" in the face of adversity; they either panic and run, or mob. There is a very real problem when they fall over in a faint and I would be looking very hard at my handling techniques if that started to happen.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  11. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    I did some Googling, and still could not find the name for what you were asking about. I did find a few times where myotonic sheep were mentioned in conjunction with goats. So maybe some hairsheep have this condition too. :shrug:

    I too notice that our sheep do not eat the large plantain leaves. However, my angora rabbits relish it. Funny.

    Speaking of handling sheep and FAMACHA - we worked our Katahdins last night - in the handling facility. :rolleyes: It went great - and I am pleased to say that of 46 ewes, 22 were "1", 22 were "2" and only two ranked as a "3" and needed deworming.

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  12. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Bloody sorry for my sheep-- are you British?

    with the fencing "down," it provided a good way to permit the sheep to graze UNDER SUPERVISION and also provide training.
    An overhead trolley is a far beter thing than a post in the ground, and it gioves them nore room , and a larger area in which they maintained side by side body contact with each other.
    And I do hopw to have 50 or more sheep within the next 4 years, but with NAIS and other invasiion of privacy issues, I will not draw attention to the situation from the road by having infrastructure that is not the absolute minimum visible from the road.

    I am well aware of the issues with collars and pasture hazards--but then, iam not running over 100 sheep right now without supervision-- when I had ny kennel, back in the days when I had money-- every animal recieved the training it needed to be a good, safe, pet when it left my premises.Any new owner could take the animal directly tothe vet, and truthfully say "it won't bite" Ishuld thing that basic haltering and leading would be a plus for safet concerns in a large animal situation-- after all, if ou are trailering a few head to a "show", and heaven forbid something happens-- do you want some ignorant animal control person shooting your sheep because it won't lead? Dop you want the sheep breaking it's neck because it doesn't understand that leading by halter is not going to hurt it?
    My flock has a very specific breeding program being set up-- and when I share the genetics of my ram with another flock-- I want to know that that flocks owner will be able to handle him safely, and that he will not get hurt -- making sure his genetics are available for a very long time. Other people in my group are looking for the "as close to origin" genetics possible that they have in their flocks for me--my flock will also be used for some research purposes-- again, a need for easy to handle animals.

    I have always marched to the beat of my own drum--that is what makes it possible for me to do things when others would be confined to a nursing home.....
     
  13. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Nope, Ronny is from New Zealand.

    Well, when you do get up to 50 sheep in the next few years, you will want to devise some sort of handling facility for ease of handling a large group and for your own safety. It does not have to be that expensive, and can be paid for out of the proceeds of sales of breeding stock and butcher's lambs. I'd say the bare minimum could be a series of pens that can be divided to make them smaller so you can continually "squeeze" the sheep into a small, tight group. This keeps them from milling, and they feel safer being an anonymous part of a group.
    The pens can be made from T posts and livestock panels, with the area right before the chute built of something less flexible - scrap lumber or plywood.
    The chute should be solid sides and narrow enough that they move single file and cannot turn around. If it can be made in a "V" shape so its wider at the top than at the bottom, all the better. Have the gate at the exit something that will let light through because sheep like to move toward light. Make the chute long enough that at least 4-5 sheep can enter and stand so they have security in numbers. If its indoors, light the area well, as sheep do not like shadows.
    If you can only purchase one thing - make it a sorting gate. These are wonderful things! :rolleyes: You can sort into 2-3 different pens without catching and movng each individual. I like to have 2 small pens at the exit to the chute in any event so if you notice someone needs special attention while you are working with the sheep, you can sort them out and work on them once you are finished with the main flock.
    We do have a gun for injections, and a back-pack wormer. They are a certainly timesaving devices, and would be great if you don't have much help, or your "help" is not very experienced. We got by for several years without them, but its amazing how much simpler they make working the sheep. The sheep seem to appreciate it, too.
    Hope you don't mind the advice. :nerd:

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  14. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    yes-- sorting gates-- I had those in place for the kennel-- And Temple Grandins books are quite informative when it comes to moving large numbers of animals efficiently. I learned several years ago, how to 'push" sheep in the direction I want them to go in a large open area-- without benefit of another person or even a dog--one takes advantage of their instincts to move them-- so even a "cripple" like me can do it. My One Service Dog wears a visor to keep her eyes hidden from "prey" animals-- works wonders for their ease-- I can even take her to the Zoo without causing undue stress among the "inmates" ( the orangutans all rush to the display window to look at HER)

    These two boys have proven beneficial already-- they "weedwhacked" the bases of a few trees yesterday- the line was set up so they could not wrap around anything, could be in physical contact with each other, and had both sun and shgade available. This morning, I pulled up some purslane, and offered it through the fence panel and it was teken from my hand-- they seem to be willing to take greens sticking out form the hand sooner than the corn, so I will be offering green tidbits, then work to loose corn in my palm--when I follow the line to the boiys, then I am able to pick them up from that darn "dropped on the ground, won't move" position to a standing position, talk to them, ;ightly run my hand over the back and down legs-- give them a scratch and a tidbit, and let them walk away-- Now, I have to teach my brother to never "follow" the sheep, and to not look them in the eye. Ira got loose and went running into the wooods, and brother followed, pushing him deeper--he had noticed Ira wanted to be near Ernie, but was going about trying to get him turned into the proper direction the wrong way--

    positive reinforcement comes in many forms- it works for just about all animals. I can train a raptor to come to hand-- I have trained a rabbit to come when called-- Now, to try to train the neighbors to keep their nasty dogs confined to their properties!!!
     
  15. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Temple Grandin - I've read some articles, and my friend is letting me borrow her book this weekend. I look forward to reading it.

    The hardest thing for me to remember is not to step toward a group of sheep that have turned around to face me. Your instinct is to move toward them to try to push them through a gate, etc. And of course, their instinct is to run past you. :rolleyes: I'm getting better at talking a step backwards to take the pressure off.

    The sheep are gradually getting me trained. :rolleyes:
    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  16. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Yes, your stepping back is a positive reinforcement-- believe it or not That "satepping back" method is what we use when training a raptor to be handled.

    And sheep training you? as a long time dopg trainer-- and many others have said this as well-- its not ttraining the animals that is the iussue-- it's training the persaon.

    Had a potential disaster that got turned around to benefit today-- A stray dog got after the boys,-- My Basenji was all for taking it on, and the Chessie was barking his fool head off. Needles to say, the Boys were traumatized, but after the stray had been smacked with a piece of lumber ( 2 by 4, I think) he ran off-- hopefully to never return. I sat in my chair, and it was like they realized that I can protect them-- they both snuggled up next to me as they blew-- I talked to them, and rubbed their faces> I wanted them to lay down on some of the damper, cooler soil, but they would not comply-- no biggie-- I just waited it out with them. Made note to self-- since I have them in ana rea that basically is powerless ( we run an extension cord from a pole) to keep a few extra :"instant ice" packs in the farm First Aid kit. So now THAT list is growing> I woinder if the boys would be miffed if I could only get pink vetwrap?
     
  17. kirsten

    kirsten Well-Known Member

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    No one thinks it is called "playing dead?"
    I didn't know chickens played dead either until I saw it. It works against an agressor.
    But of course the best way to train animals is with treats or grain. I do not feed my sheep free choice, I feed them once a day shaking the grain and calling them. I condition them from the outset. You want your sheep to do interesting things though... Dogs have leashes becuase they run ahead. Sheep follow their shepherd. You could think more like a sheep, I think. And if you really want to succeed, make super good friends with the head ewe, forget about the ram becuase if the head ewe will come a running' then you will have everybody no problem. Worry about the girls. After all, your ram is going to want to be wherever they are. kirsten
     
  18. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    I only have the ram and wether-- :) see, there are no ladies available yet- which is just as well for now. I am dealing with a "rare" breed, and my source of sheep is from a consortium where we are to work as a larger "unit' to increase the numbers while maintaining quality. I hopefuully will be getting a couple older, "proven" ewes- as in throwing good polled heads- in the fall, and they may have already been bred-- I am asking for bred ewes in order to increase my flock genetic diversity without having to borrow a ram, and making him travel, to cover the ladies, when I want to increase genetic base,

    My closest source for my foundation does nost handle her sheep they way i need to. i dont have herding dogs-- nor do i want them at this point. Now, when numbers get up, sure, I can use a HD. Right now, i will practice on the boys, get to know some of the basics for the breed and develope the information forms based on how these two mature and react to different situations-- I have the advantage of being female--many spoecies, a first timer is best off using the sex that would be less dominant in a situation-- so me being a strange "head ewe" is better than me being a ram!!!

    I found when the ram drops to his knees-- "NO! I DON'T WANNA GO!" I simpley step back, and actually reach under his chest and put him backn up on thse front feet-- he then steps along a few more feet. I let him nibble grass on the way-- so that following or walking alongside side me is not something that restricts his need for food. Of curse, when he takes his corn from my hand-- things will get easier--but gosh, habving the two of them realize I can defend them was, in a way, a godsend.
     
  19. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    I had this happen several years ago when we first got LGDs. We had the dog with a group of sheep, and later turned a Cheviot ewe in with his group. She took one look at him loping up to meet her, and turned and ran straight through the fence and practically into my arms. :rolleyes:

    The older ewes also learn that we are a source of help when they need it. They expect us to be able to heal sick or weak lambs; some of the ewes come to me when they cannot find their lambs in the jumble that happens in the evening at feeding time.

    Its an object lesson of the Good Shepherd.
    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com