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Hair Sheep Info...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by NateinFL, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. NateinFL

    NateinFL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 7, 2009
    Wesley Chapel FL
    Hi, I just have a few quick questions if anyone has answers to them I'd appreciate it. I recently purchased hair sheep, hardy and easy keepers. They are on a half acre.

    I bought them as I read they as the Barbados and Katahdins are self-sustaining practically.

    1. Do I need to trim hooves? If so, how often, they won't let me get close enough so I have no idea if they even need trimming.

    2. Do I need to build them a lean to? Will they freeze during the winter or huddle near my house, where they go when it rains.

    3. Will the two brothers with horns fight badly when they reach maturity? At what age can they breed?

    4. I have read as long as there is grass they don't need to be supplemented, that is the great thing about the breeds, is that okay to do?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Nathan

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  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I have read as long as there is grass they don't need to be supplemented, that is the great thing about the breeds, is that okay to do?

    Not really

    A little grain is good for them when they are growing, and ALL of those need to put on some weight.

    They DO need a good shelter so they can stay dry

    They WILL need hooves trimmed once in a while, so you'll have to learn how to get control of them

    The Rams will be ready to breed at about 4 months, and the ewes can concieve about the same time.

    You should keep them seperate until the ewes are about 8 months old, and nearly full sized

    Here's some more info:

    http://www.sheep101.info/
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  3. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Western MA
    Yes they will need shelter!! YOU need shelter, dont you?? [​IMG]
    EVERY domestic animal needs shelter of some sort. A place to get out of the sun, rain, wind...
    Good luck! They are cute.. [​IMG]
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    1. Do I need to trim hooves? If so, how often, they won't let me get close enough so I have no idea if they even need trimming. Check hooves a couple of times a year....for this you will need somewhere you can contain them and keep them still for the procedure. This goes better if you have a partner to help you. Sheep are pretty easy once you get hold of them.

    2. Do I need to build them a lean to? Will they freeze during the winter or huddle near my house, where they go when it rains. Your sheep will do better with at least a three-sided shelter in which they can lounge during harsh weather conditions(relax, they will not freeze). They do not, however, do well in heated shelters or damp, unventilated barns.

    3. Will the two brothers with horns fight badly when they reach maturity? At what age can they breed? Your boys can start breeding as early as 3 months, so you need a place to keep them separate from the ewes. Hair breeds can breed all year round as the ewes can heat every month. Your boys will fight...you will have to make sure they don't fight to the death...it happens.

    4. I have read as long as there is grass they don't need to be supplemented, that is the great thing about the breeds, is that okay to do? You really do NOT need to supplement hair sheep with grains and they do better if you do not feed a lot of grains. You will need to watch your pregnant and nursing ewes...you may want to make sure they are in good condition with good loose minerals and quality hay/pasture prior to breeding, lambing and during nursing. Some people grain lightly during these times but if your sheep are in good condition and have quality grass/hay, they shouldn't need it.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!​
     
  5. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    I feel that grazing alone is not enough for them. I supplement with alfalfa and three way hay.
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I didn't know you had hair sheep! What breeds? [​IMG]
     
  7. carolinagirl58

    carolinagirl58 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lugoff, SC
    When I was supplementing my hair sheep (Katahdins and Barbados Blackbellys), they looked thinner and did not spend as much time on pasture. Now that they are off feed and on pasture 100% of the time, they look MUCH better.
     
  8. NateinFL

    NateinFL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 7, 2009
    Wesley Chapel FL
    Thank you for the very helpful information, I knew I could count on BYC people to give me straight answers, web searches did not answer questions I had.

    The sheep are Katahdins (2 boys and 1 girl) and a Blackbelly (likely American).

    They have put on quite a bit of weight since I bought them, 3 were not being kept well when I bought them.

    Also, I have no way of separating the 2 brothers from the 2 ewes, is that mandatory? I've had them for about a month now and they love each other, always together. The smaller ewe I noticed gets pushed around a bit but nothing major.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Also, I have no way of separating the 2 brothers from the 2 ewes, is that mandatory?

    Well....it kinda is. That is, if you want to continue to have healthy sheep. Your boys could breed your ewes right now, which is too young for your ewes to really be having offspring. It happens and it isn't always a death knell but it does lead to possible uterine prolapse, nutritional deficiencies, slower growth and even death during lambing. It's just not good animal husbandry to breed too young and too often and that is exactly what will happen if you never separate your rams from your ewes-sort of like keeping male and female rabbits together at all times~not a good idea.

    Hair sheep are different than wool breeds in their nutritional needs, their breeding and their hardiness. They don't do well if pampered and supplemented and seem to thrive on grass, roughage, stemmy hay, etc. They also have the added benefit of being able to breed "out of season", meaning they can breed all year round when woolly breeds can, but don't usually, come into heat in the summer months.

    If you keep your rams with your ewes you will never know when a lamb is due, never be able to prepare and watch your sheep closely to avert any lambing/pregnancy issues like nutritional deficiencies, difficult lambing, rejection of the lambs at birth, etc. If you don't know when it will happen, you may not know they have had them until it's too late to help in a crisis. This can result in ewe and lamb death that is unnecessary.

    When I was supplementing my hair sheep (Katahdins and Barbados Blackbellys), they looked thinner and did not spend as much time on pasture. Now that they are off feed and on pasture 100% of the time, they look MUCH better.

    Carolina, that is the same experience I've heard from where I bought my Kats. The farmer had always raised woolly breeds all his life and finally had switched over to hair breeds and was attempting to supplement them like he had always supplemented his woollies. He found he had the same problems in the hair breeds when he did this that he had with the woollies...which is why he got out of keeping woollies in the first place. When he stopped supplementing the hair sheep with grains their general health increased, multiple birthing increased, lamb fatality went way down, they needed dewormed less and they just stayed in better condition during and after pregnancy.

    I found this to be true on my hair sheep as well....they stayed very fat and sleek on just grass and then hay in the winter months. If one breeds appropriately then the ewes have adequate nutrition from the rich grasses in April and May to flush them for lambing and nursing. I can see where one would have to supplement feed if one planned lambing for Feb and Mar, particularly where I live.​
     

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