Wethers for pets - is it worth it?

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2 years 9 months ago #555660 by tn71
That's good to hear. We'll see how we go in regards to choosing. It does make me think to have one, given what's been said.
Thanks for the food advice.
I hear wool can make good weed matting if felted correctly - something I'll try out.

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2 years 9 months ago #555661 by tonybaker
With Dorpers/Wilshires I have always given them all the vege trimmings from the kitchen and they look forward to them, they even eat citrus peel! They really do know what not to eat, maybe they will nibble at it first and come back to it a few days later if it's ok. Of course, you always have to have grass and tree trimmings available to them or they will be forced to eat things they are not supposed to. Unless your land is wet, you should not have any issues with their feet. Occasionally they may develop a limp for a few days but they get over it. You may hear that they jump fences, but I can assure you that, unless they are very hungry they will stay put. Compared to "normal" breeds, they are streets ahead and farmers are only just starting to realise this.

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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2 years 9 months ago #555667 by tn71
Thanks for the advise. I wasn't thinking of giving them the compost. Good to know about the dorpers too.

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2 years 9 months ago #555670 by Ronney

Thanks, Ronnie; that's all great to know. For my own clarity, are there any issues running wethers with ewes?

Good to know about the silver beet too. The nuts are something i might need to take into consideration (I'm currently doing it with the ewes).

Cheers

No, there are no issues whatsoever in running wethers with ewes or rams - and I think running them with a ram for company was mentioned earlier.

I mentioned silver beet but they also get the leaves from cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. One likes spring onion and leek! Another likes parsley and lettuce. No accounting for taste but they don't get enough of it for it to be a dietary problem. Keep potato out of the equation unless you are prepared to cook it for them - and then they probably won't want it. Raw potato ferments in the gut of rumens and pigs and can kill them if they get too much of it. Naturally, they won't touch potato plants or tomato plants as they are part of the nightshade family.

I've had nothing to do with Dorpers and never will because of the area I live in - high rainfall and clay making for feet problems - so I stick with Romney's although sadly we no longer have the Romney Marsh but what is now called the NZ Romney. Wool for small producers isn't worth a tin of shit and I have something like 30 fadges sitting in our barn which is slowly being distributed around the fruit trees - and neighbours fruit trees. You don't need to felt it. For what it's worth, I lay out fertiliser around the tree, a layer of compost, a layer of raw wool and another layer of compost. It makes for an excellent mulch in the summer and helps stabilize the warmth in the winter. Can't beat it.

You're on a learning curve with sheep. Most people hate them, I love them.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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2 years 9 months ago #555672 by tn71
Great to hear. I wouldn't think so, but good to know that before trying it.
Thanks for the advise on the vegies. Always good to give them a bit of variety in their diet.
I'll give the wool/compost mix a go, cheers - we have some fruit trees, so it'll be good.

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2 years 9 months ago #555674 by VioletFarmer
Welcome to LSB life poster, we have had pet wethers/ ewe's, have never had an issue- unless I'm holding a bucket in the paddock and ANY sheep comes running thinking its treat time! (I know you said their will be no rams on your property, if that changes, in my experience, they are usually only aggressive coming up to mating time, and when they are in with the ewe's & a few weeks after you take him out. But, I'm always very cautious when in the paddock with one.) Have had a few wethers & ewes that were 8-10 years old when I moved here, they had been bottle raised & spoilt & over fed by my mother in law & had tipped the scales at 104kg for the biggest one, when the shearer put him over the scales. I personally considered having sheep of that age & weight a waste of land use & they all had joint/ feet issues & it was not easy at all to shear them. So, like others have said, read up & keep an eye on feed levels, break feed if possible- I break feed our 5 acres all year round, so ewe's don't get over fat & so we can save pasture for hay & bailage. Also, like others have said, wethers really do make the best pets. I have a 10 day old ram lamb- soon to be wethered, who is not bottle fed, but he comes up for an ear scratch every morning I'm out feeding the ewes. Any pet ewe lambs I've had are not as friendly once weaned, as the wethers, but they do become quite friendly again about a month or two before they lamb- at 22-24 months old. We have 3 wethers in with our ram as paddock mates, and they do go in with the ewes at times also- no issues there, although they do tend to keep to the other side of the paddock mostly. Good luck with what ever you decide, sounds like you have good neighbours for advice too :)

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2 years 9 months ago #555675 by tn71
Thanks for your thoughts. I think the biggest issue for us would be not overfeeding them - as you say it'll cause more issues than good, so we need to keep on top of it. Great to hear another positive experience with the weathers. It sounds like it's worth pursuing one as a 'pet'.
Thanks. Yes, we're very fortunate with the amount of people around with a few sheep, so we will be bothering them more when we get our own.

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