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Mrs Barnowl

I heart sheep

Hello everyone, I'm new here, said hello 'formally' in the welcome section and thought I would just give a quick wave to any sheepy people here!
I really like the British breeds like Hebridean, Soay, Badger faced welsh, Shetland, ah the list is endless... If I could write a little poem to all my favourite sheep, my world would be a calmer place!

Hope to chat to everyone soon! Very Happy
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Hello!
Do you have any sheep or admire from afar?
Mutton

Hi there

I have Soay. Lovely lot.

(Well, apart from the one who is unofficially known as Tosser. Mutton stew is in his future.)
mousjoos

I love the idea of a sheep called "Tosser"
gregotyn

The idea of a sheep called tosser is good, but if he becomes a mutton stew, you will then need another tosser to take his place-'cos there is always one!
Welcome anyway, Mrs Barnowl-sheep people are a breed on their own. I had a few years ago, and pleased not to have any stock now-too knackered!
Mutton

Oh yeah, often one. The important thing is to make sure it isn't two........ Very Happy

Most of my sheep are lovely and friendly and not argumentative, look at me, I'm deprived, teenagers.
Mrs Barnowl

Hi there

I have Soay. Lovely lot.

(Well, apart from the one who is unofficially known as Tosser. Mutton stew is in his future.)


Ha! Love it, poor Tosser, he is probably just a chancer? The chancers are the funniest - if have patience for sheep antics. I really like Soay, heard they are hard to flock would you agree, is that the nature of Tosser?!

I'm a farmhand, have a few Hebbies as pets, but work with Swaledales/Mules/Texel/BFL. I really like the Hebbies as they are tough little cookies, out in the middle of the field in all weathers, no cowering behind walls for them (that I see, they nibble ash tree bark and rushes, a bit more like tiny cows than sheep, minus the tree bark bit - maybe it tastes salty or something?!)

So I am an admirer of other people's sheep also, a definite lurker around pens at the rare breed sales/shows wishing for two of everything.

Tried a bit of interest in horses but they are waaaay to complex for me, not grown up with them, love native ponies as they are solid as rocks but they are crafty as the day is long. Cows not fussed about. Would like to get to know hens. Often have my bins with me for some birding when looking round the sheep.
Mutton

Soay are browsers and eat most things. Also fairly tough though better with shelter from the rain as their wool is quite short. Ours have a shelter and can chose to be in or out.

In terms of flocking - I have heard they can be herded with sheep dogs, providing they are familiar with dogs and you stand the dogs further back than you would for modern sheep. More a matter of coaxing than herding.

We keep ours really tame - most will eat from my hand. We move them by getting them to follow a shaken sack of sheep food with handfuls going to the leaders to keep the interest. They do flock together - it tends to be a single or double file behind a leader. They also sit together to ruminate - sometimes all in one big mass, sometimes in two or three groups. They are very social and have long lasting friendships. Sometimes it is siblings, sometimes lambs born in the same season, sometimes mother and offspring. We had a mother and daughter who went round everywhere together until the mother died aged 14. The daughter was 12 at the time, and is now 13. Fortunately she and another old girl born the same season hang out together so not totally bereft.
When they move around the field (ours have a lot of gorse bushes) they often go in their sub groups or friend clusters. They ruminate in a group, and when a couple decide to move on, the rest often get up and follow and they wander off in a line then graze in a group, then settle down again.

Tosser - he's been picking fights with other wethers, yelling his head off because he wants extra food and then took to headbutting a fence post and baiting a ram on the other side, who then snapped the post and we had to mend it. Tosser was in with the non-breeding-this-year ewes and was mounting them when they let him - and getting thumped when not and then he thumped them back. We got fed-up and put him in with the ram. Things are a bit quieter now. He is not nearly so bold when big mean ram is the same side of the fence.
Mrs Barnowl

Soay are browsers and eat most things. Also fairly tough though better with shelter from the rain as their wool is quite short. Ours have a shelter and can chose to be in or out.

In terms of flocking - I have heard they can be herded with sheep dogs, providing they are familiar with dogs and you stand the dogs further back than you would for modern sheep. More a matter of coaxing than herding.

We keep ours really tame - most will eat from my hand. We move them by getting them to follow a shaken sack of sheep food with handfuls going to the leaders to keep the interest. They do flock together - it tends to be a single or double file behind a leader. They also sit together to ruminate - sometimes all in one big mass, sometimes in two or three groups. They are very social and have long lasting friendships. Sometimes it is siblings, sometimes lambs born in the same season, sometimes mother and offspring. We had a mother and daughter who went round everywhere together until the mother died aged 14. The daughter was 12 at the time, and is now 13. Fortunately she and another old girl born the same season hang out together so not totally bereft.
When they move around the field (ours have a lot of gorse bushes) they often go in their sub groups or friend clusters. They ruminate in a group, and when a couple decide to move on, the rest often get up and follow and they wander off in a line then graze in a group, then settle down again.

Tosser - he's been picking fights with other wethers, yelling his head off because he wants extra food and then took to headbutting a fence post and baiting a ram on the other side, who then snapped the post and we had to mend it. Tosser was in with the non-breeding-this-year ewes and was mounting them when they let him - and getting thumped when not and then he thumped them back. We got fed-up and put him in with the ram. Things are a bit quieter now. He is not nearly so bold when big mean ram is the same side of the fence.


Hi Mutton, sorry for delay in reply to your fascinating comment! Have a horrid head cold and was feeling very sorry for myself last night. Bit better now. Love hearing all the stories, I shall have some to share....

I agree that headbutting fence posts is beyond annoying to deal with, not funny at all - I can laugh at a lot of sheep antics but ruining things maybe not as funny. My new Hebbie ram has blatted a few fencing posts at the start of tupping, and then blatted me, just above my knee cap thank goodness and didn't make a running go at me, when I had the 'cheek' to check his back fat. He called it rude, I called it maintenance. I find the BFL tups generally much more friendly and 'soft' to handle. The shorter and more squat the carcass the more stubborn they are I think!

I shall think of some more chat. I would really like some soays but doubt i would be able to, unless I had my own land, I would have a few of everything going - would love to find a small something with a few acres that was affordable (laughs at the thought, even up north). A bedsit in a field if you will!
Mutton

BFL?
Blue faced leicester?


We have a variety of characters in the rams. The old ram, our first one, was on his third home when he came to us - and was tame and confident - smacked me a few times.
The current rams are a mix. Two - the old guy's sons - are stocky and feisty and we were very careful never to hand feed them as they were growing up. One has once whopped me - but at the time I was trying to call two wethers back through the fence and offering them sugar beet pellets and he was getting none so....
Then there is a leggier one, unrelated to the others, who is a gentle soul and doesn't like any sort of headbanging. I've finished up hand-feeding him to make sure he gets some feed, done that for years and he's never touched me. Just stands there with spaniel eyes asking for more.


Do your hebbies leap and bounce much?
Mrs Barnowl

Only once I've seen so far, when they jumped a stone wall, after getting a bit bored with the limited space, but they had to stay there for a while, so some posts and top wire sorted them out, they never tried again. They are in a huge field with other sheep at the moment and never look up, they have rushes, hay and all the rough grass the others won't touch, so they are happy.
I find them very quiet on the whole, but then I compare all sheeps to any pets I rear, and they all come off quiet!
Mutton

I've seen the Soay have bouncing competitions - that is what it looks like - that one will start bouncing and others join in.

The lambs in particular are fond of leaping on top of things and will run circuits and leaps. They are amazingly surefooted at what they can land on.

While many of them could leap a fence - especially if crashing through the top wire - on the whole they don't. Have enough forage, enough to do - can't be bothered. Some go under fences - that often starts as reaching under a gap under the fence to get at that bit of fresh grass and then they follow their noses.

It is mainly the lambs and youngsters who go exploring and the occasional individual with a taste for it. We've not had one "out" in over a year now - and that was a gap we hadn't spotted where they'd eaten down brambles.
Tavascarow

Hello Mrs B.
If you heart sheep then you will love this page from the BBC.
Mutton

Wow. What glorious photos. Mrs Barnowl

Hello, thank for that pic Tavascarow, that was lovely, I think the Herdwicks look have such gentle faces, like kind little old ladies...
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