Other common names: Border Cheviot; South Country Cheviot
According to the Cheviot Sheep Society, "The Cheviot originated in the Cheviot Hills, on the border of England and Scotland. Recognized as a hardy sheep as early as 1372, Cheviots did well in those bleak, windswept conditions, with their strong constitution, easy lambing, well developed mothering instinct, and fast maturity. The Cheviot ewe can be found grazing up to 3,000 feet and is expected to live off the hill throughout the year."
The Cheviot Sheep was introduced to the United States from Scotland in the early 1800s. Cheviots are now common in the United Kingdom, Scotland, Wales, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Other breeds which originated with the Border Cheviot include the North Country Cheviot Sheep and the Brecknock Hill Cheviot Sheep. Miniature Cheviot Sheep are small Cheviots with a registry in the United States.
Appearance / health:
According to the American Cheviot Sheep Society, "As sheep weights go, it is definitely one of the smaller breeds but one of the most distinctive in appearance. Much of its distinctive appearance is due to the high carriage of the head and the quick, coordinated stride. The head is carried high, and the ears are carried together, erect and forward. There is no wool on the head or face in front of the ears, nor is there wool below the knees and the hocks. The head, legs, and ears are covered with very fine white hair. Their bare heads, attractive white color and absence of horns give them a very aristocratic bearing. Nostrils and hooves should be black in color. Rams in good condition mature at 160 to 200 lbs., ewes from 130 to 170 lbs."
One of the most common ailments among sheep is a viral skin disease called soremouth or “orf.” Ringworm or “club lamb fungus” is a rash also common among sheep. And much like “mad cow disease,” sheep can have a similar neurological ailment called “scrapie.” Sheep health issues should be addressed by a qualified veterinarian. Good health is promoted by sanitary habitat conditions and proper nutrition.
Behavior / temperament:
Sheep are herd animals that rely on staying together as a flock to protect themselves from predators. They are highly sensitive to predators because they are basically “prey animals.” They sense the presence of threat from several hundred feet away (they are able to twist and turn their ears to detect potential danger) and instinctively flee instead of fight or attack. While fleeing, sheep run in a winding pattern to be able to see what is behind them.
As domesticated animals, sheep make good pets because they are docile and easily connect with humans, especially lambs that are bottle-fed. Miniature breeds and sheep that have hair instead of fur make ideal pets. Raising pet sheep is a popular project in the 4-H youth organization. Cheviot sheep are alert and active. They require minimal husbandry because ewes have good maternal instincts.
Housing / diet:
Sheep are grazing animals and do well living their entire lives outdoors. They get sufficient exercise and fresh air out in the field. They do need shelter from bad storms and unusually hot days. Many sheep keepers install field structures to provide shade, for example, hutches, domes, carports, and makeshift sheds. A common shade structure is a hoop house, like an open hangar or a greenhouse, which has a metal arched frame covered with tarp or other heavy-duty fabric.
Some sheep owners keep their flock in a barn or similar enclosure to protect them from predators. These enclosures must have very good ventilation because moisture and poor air conditions lead to the sheep’s poor health.
For warmth and comfort, bedding material should be provided. The best bedding is absorbent, clean, and dry. Some options are straw, wood shaving, sawdust, corncobs, dried corn stalks, peat, hemp, paper, and alfalfa hay. Preference is determined by cost, availability, convenience, and type of sheep. Wool sheep will not appreciate sawdust because it gets in their fleece. Paper is highly absorbent but difficult to manage in the field.
Lambs start with their mother’s milk and a light diet of pasture grass at two weeks old. After weaning the lambs from ewe’s milk at six weeks old, they can start eating dry feed of grains (wheat, oats, barley, cottonseed, corn), soybean and peanut hulls, and hay. The main diet of sheep is fresh grass and other forage and pasture vegetation. The pasture must be fertile and large enough to support the grazing of sheep for about seven hours a day (morning and afternoon). Fresh water must be constantly available, especially during the warm months and if the diet is mostly dry hay. Supplements are recommended, and must be given in the middle of the day to balance the sheep’s food intake.
mild flavor, heavy milkers, devoted mothers, easy keepers, good carcass quality, roughest weathers
nervous breed, superduper pen, aggressive breed, scares
dual use sheep, hardy hill breed, open moorland, minimal death loss, broad backs
Bambam. A great sheep
We knew nothing about sheep. We'd viewed them from afar and thought they had no real personality.How wrong we were.We raised Bambam from a baby,bottle feeding her and she became a friendly,incredibly calm sheep.She got on well with everyone,people and other animals. She even ran from the top of the paddock to the bottom fence whenever she saw our car return home,in order to say hello.
In terms of cost and so forth: Bambam was shorn once a year. She was very fit and healthy.She never suffered from any illness. We weren't interested in her meat as the thought of killing her was too much for us. Her wool,however,was good quality and we had no problems selling her fleece for a good price.
She really cost us very little.
A great breed..
From dafydd Jan 30 2015 2:04AM
Best to prevent and Needed to Treat
Regular hoof trimming is important in the health of your sheep and can help reduce foot rot occurrence. Irregular hoofs can keep in mud/dirt and abnormal gaits that can help promote infection. Additionally, once foot rot occurs, trimming off disease portions of the hoof can help speed recovery, but must be combined with antibiotic treatment. By itself, hoof trimming is effective in treatment and along with other management practices is not the only thing needed to prevent the condition. .
From drkirkley 300 days ago
Henrietta - not a typical Cheviot
I bought Henrietta as one of a small group of sheep that served as my starter flock. She was about five years old and came bred for March lambing. She was my first purebred Cheviot ewe; the rest of the group were Cheviot crosses.
I have worked with Cheviots on several farms, which is why I wanted this breed. In addition to Henrietta, I purchased several other purebred Cheviot ewes to speed up the growth of my flock. I quickly discovered that, while this breed has many desirable qualities - specifically they are hardy, lamb easily on their own, often produce twins, do well on a strictly grass/hay diet and have a good carcass size for meat production - the Cheviot is not the sheep for me.
My main issue with Cheviots is how flighty they are. I actually initially wanted them in part for this reason. I use working sheepdogs to manage my sheep and need breeds that won't become 'dogged' (i.e. that won't lose their fear of the dog and stop moving away from them). I also prefer sheep who are somewhat fearful of people because otherwise they can end up knocking you down when they run to you to get away from the dog. If you've ever been hit by a sheep, you'll know that this is not a particularly enjoyable experience. Not to mention dangerous to the integrity of your knees and ankles.
The Cheviot, however, I've found to be too flighty for my taste. They are very good for working with my trained dogs, but find them very challenging to actually train young dogs with. I have one Cheviot in particular who will leap tall fences in a single bound, as if they weren't even there, when she spots a dog coming. And once she jumps the fence the rest realize how brilliant an idea that is and follow suit. Within seconds I can find myself standing in an empty field, accompanied only by my dog.
Even worse than fence jumping, those not nimble enough to make it over will run headlong into the fence in hopes of knocking it down. This can lead to fence damage, and even to injury or death in the sheep (although fortunately I've never had this happen on my farm).
Henrietta, however, is nothing like what I have described above. Despite her genetics, she is my most calm and laid back ewe in the flock. This actually causes me problems at the opposite end of the spectrum. Trying to get her to move anywhere is a challenge. Even with a dog. She gives my border collies a dirty look, yawns, and goes back to grazing. But she is definitely the exception to the rule, at least in my experience..
From HeleneMarie Jan 16 2015 7:49PM