Are sheep good for this purpose

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Going Quackers, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I am interested in an animal that will clean up what the horses leave behind(hay, pasture) etc are sheep suitable for this purpose? If so any recommendations on breeds. thank you.
     
  2. WallabyOfChaos

    WallabyOfChaos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, let me start off by saying that no animal will eat hay that has been soiled by urine, feces, or a muddy mixture thereof. So any filthy hay you have laying around on the ground can be written off as a loss and shoveled out.

    We own sheep and horses and we prefer a grazing rotation rather than pasturing the two together. The sheep will eat the weeds and other "undesirable" plants that horses leave behind, which helps keeps our pastures clean and the grass healthy. The problem with our horses is that they will chase and stomp the sheep if given the chance. If you had very brushy pastures with lots of cover, then the sheep can easily out maneuver the horses through the tangle of branches, etc. But if you have open pastures a horse can easily overtake a sheep and either kill or fatally cripple it. Feed is another issue. Sheep are very sensitive to copper and university studies have shown toxicity to occur with amounts as little as 30 ppm. The minimum amount of copper necessary for a horse is more than enough to kill a sheep. If you feed loose mineral labeled specifically for horses, then you will need to place it out of reach of the sheep. You will also need to feed them separately as horse feed contains far too much copper for a sheep to safely ingest. Other than that, if you own mature horses and know for an absolute fact that they are good with small animals like sheep and goats, then there should be no reason that they can't live together.
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm rather confused on how you would make an assumption that i would think any animal would eat food that wasn't in proper condition, secondly i have no such filth laying about my farm. Now all that said, i do appreciate you sharing your experiences with your sheep and horses though.

    Around here it's quite common to keep both in shared quarters, although obviously not all situations will work with all animals so i will keep this under advisement.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  4. WallabyOfChaos

    WallabyOfChaos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There was no assumption made about you or the way you keep your farm and livestock, and I apologize that you took it that way. We are one of the largest sheep producers in our area so we have a lot of people stop and ask about sheep and how to keep them. Unfortunately, most livestock raisers (mostly cattlemen) in our area look down on sheep and goats and when they ask if they will eat what their stock leaves behind, that is exactly what they mean. "I don't want to feed them separately, so will sheep or goats eat what is left behind when my cows have stomped it all in to the dirt?" Again, I apologize for the miscommunication and I hope you have fun with your sheep if you decide to buy some.
     
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    My horses did not like to have sheep anywhere near them, so they would bite and kick the sheep. It was OK in a huge pasture (quarter section) because the sheep quickly learned to keep well away from the horses and to run if horse ears got pinned back.

    The sheep would eat weeds that the horses did not eat.

    I never had any waste hay in the ground. The livestock got what they would clean up and each feeding and hay was fed where it wouldn't be spoiled if it touched the ground. Horses would then pick it up off the ground and eat it. Some of the alfalfa leaf got left because it was too small for the horses to pick up and the sheep would vacuum that up.

    Sheep were fed in a different areas because the horses would not allow them to eat with them. The sheep were closed inside a barn at night and they were fed after they were locked up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
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