Wethers for pets - is it worth it?

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2 years 9 months ago - 2 years 9 months ago #555628 by tn71
Background: we're grazing some in-lamb ewes on our small lifestyle block, in which payment for the grazing would be some weaned lambs. These lambs will be pets, not meat. EDIT: by pets, I mean animals to graze the grass, and to enjoy looking at.

Initially the thought was to get the ewe lambs for an easy solution, but now we're wondering whether we want any ram lambs - we're watching them all grow up together, and we might grow a liking to a ram. Before we get too attached to any specific lambs, I'm wondering if wethers make good pets. We won't be looking to bread the sheep, and they'll be all together in the same paddock, so would want to castrate them (though I've heard this can be hit or miss).

What are peoples opinions around castrating ram lambs, and having them as pets?

Thanks
Last edit: 2 years 9 months ago by tn71.

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2 years 9 months ago #555629 by linrae
Dont have ram lambs as pets .Even a pretty fit experienced person cannot handle them most of the time when they were once pets.
Your kids possibly badly injured if ram attacks.
Most pet sheep are a pain in the a---e dont get to friendly with them.If you have lifestyle block put some in the pot/oven.
What do you mean by pets ,to look at ?? ,kids to play with ?? you will be suprised at the problems they can create.

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2 years 9 months ago #555630 by tn71
Don't have them as pets, even if they're castrated?
We do have young children, but the sheep/children will generally be seperated by a fence, aside from when feeding them treats.
By pets, I mean to look at, and potentially for kids to play with, if they're friendly enough. They will not be for meat.
Why do you consider pet sheep as a pain?

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2 years 9 months ago #555631 by linrae
Pet SHEEP and thats what they will be in 6mths.
If not bottle feed from start you will not be able to tame them very much,
Try feeding treats in the paddock with them and they will knock hell out of the kids,
Talk to local parents ,especially those whose kids may raise a lamb for pet day.
How are you going to shear or,drench them.
Have you got yards or will you dive tackle in paddock to catch them.
They will be a 6mth wonder for the kids if they cant catch them.
Just my thoughts from past experiences with 3 strapping sons

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2 years 9 months ago #555632 by tn71
They won't be bottle fed. Fair call on that one.
We do currently feed the mothers in the paddock with the children, and there is no aggression with them. You believe weathers will be more aggressive? Sorry, I'm finding it difficult to tell if you're talking about sheep in general or only weathers.
I'm planning on building a stock yard for shearing and drenching. I'll get a local guy in for the shearing, as I'd rather it get done properly than me learning on them.
They pet part mostly comes from them being lawnmowers, and something to look at more than playing with them. I'm mostly wondering if weathers are much more of a pain to look after than ewes.

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2 years 9 months ago #555633 by linrae
How many do you think you will have and what size block
If only 2-4 shearer sometimes brings games with him.
Seems like you want them DO NOT HAVE RAMS AS PETS
Whether or ewe
What size flock and land size important what's ur location makes difference on no you can run

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2 years 9 months ago #555634 by Stikkibeek
Castrated male sheep can make good pets, but must be castrated! Do not attempt to have a Ram lamb that is entire, as they become unafraid of people and are the ones that can knock you over and hurt you badly. For children that are small, I would not consider any lamb as a pet after they are grown up, as when they do grow up they weigh a lot and even if it's not a deliberate "attack" they are still big enough when fully grown to do some damage. They do make good pets to raise if you want to teach kids responsibility for care and for pet day at school but after that should be moved on.

. Pets on a farm for small children, could be hens, guinea pigs, cats, probably not dogs as they need training and discipline and need control where livestock is concerned. They are subject to rules about wandering and around livestock. For older children a dog could be beneficial, in teaching children responsibility, make good companion animals, and may become a good watchdog with correct training and obedience. Some vet clubs run effective puppy schools and dog obedience, so dogs and their owners can develop a good relationship.
Neutered male goats also make good pets, but would require good fences. They are super intelligent animals and very affectionate if hand reared and nicely handled.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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2 years 9 months ago #555635 by tn71
There is around 5000 m2 of pasture, plus a big lawn if we're desperate. So was planning on having 4 ewes. The block is in the buller region, so generally good grass growth. Not afraid to use supplements if needed.
My neighbour has sheep too (40 or so), so I'll just try tag onto his shearing times. The guy I'm grazign the sheep for is another neighbour, so there are options. We're a road of lifestyle blocks. I understand what you mean - something I have yet to confirm.
No, no interest is a ram.

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2 years 9 months ago #555636 by linrae
Have you discussed with your neighbours .That would be one of first things if you have no experience in stock management.Why build a yard for 4 sheep, can you walk them to neighbours for shearing etc.
Whats the aversion to knocking them off each year and bringing new ones for tucker on .Makes sense otherwise you will probably need more in spring grass growth period and less over winter
Study what Stikkibeek said makes sense

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2 years 9 months ago #555637 by tn71
Yeah, I understand that if rams aren't properly castrated, they can be an issue.
I probably should have placed a better definition on what I meant by pets - I meant more around animals that we have on our block that aren't there for meat. They're there to keep the grass down, and for our kids to learn about animal husbandry.
For reference, the sheep we have at the moment are good around the kids while we're feeding them treats, and so while they're lambing, we're trying to keep that relationship going, hoping for the best.

Thanks for the advise. We do have a dog already - he's very good with the kids, and generally good around stock. He also stays behind the sheep netting, and so we have no issues there.
Goats might happen one day. Good to know there is positivity there, We don't have high fences, however. In this case we're going with sheep mostly because we know the owner.

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2 years 9 months ago #555638 by tn71
I have experience with cows, just not with sheep. I have spoken to a few people around (including the neighbours) regarding looking after sheep, so there is plenty of help if I need it. Walking to the neighbour could be possible, though yards will be a nice project, and handy to have no matter what.
The aversion is that I don't eat meat. Sounds funny, being that I'm on a lifestlye block, but that comes from growing up a farm.
I understand grass management. The plan is to be understocked and go from there. I'll plant some plantain, and we'll be feeding treats, I'll also by hay if needed, so they should get enough.

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2 years 9 months ago - 2 years 9 months ago #555639 by linrae
I have no problem with that.
Just be careful with sheep and the kids,
If dogs gets into paddock with sheep dont let kids go running in to get him it could happen

Put up what happens so others can follow you experiences.
Last edit: 2 years 9 months ago by linrae.

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2 years 9 months ago #555640 by tn71
Thanks. We'll be with the kids at all times (at this stage anyway), so we'll be fine there. But I hear what you're saying; especially with how kids like heading off by themselves and doing things independantly.

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2 years 9 months ago #555641 by linrae
Graze wethers at least someone will get some return from the EWE lambs/sheep and wethers give no return unless with Rosemary and Mint sauce

Good luck

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2 years 9 months ago #555642 by tonybaker
Realistically, the kids will only be interested for a month or two so don't overthink things. If you really want sheep then get Wiltshires or Dorpers that don't need shearing.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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