Acquired: Bred animal myself
Posted Oct 07, 2009
I like sheep. I like my goats better but I like my sheep. I started with some Cheviot and Cheviot-mixes. I loved spinning their wool and they were beautiful animals. I have photos of them grazing peacefully in the pasture.
BUT...(I may anger some owners here), with my (very) limited work with
this breed, I don't really recommend even the ewes or wethers as "pets" for children or young people unless they are gentled or bottle-fed as lambs. My
Cheviots were quite wild and never tamed no matter what I did. This
made it VERY difficult to deworm them or give them shots. The helper
and I often had to tackle them to catch them.
RAMS AREN'T PETS
Rams aren't pets and only an experienced, responsible breeder should keep one. Unlike many animals, don't try to make a pet of a ram-lamb. A "pet" ram (like some male deer) is more dangerous
because it's lost its fear of humans. There are certainly good rams out there, but you can't
really trust a ram. One day they're your best friend and the next
day they're trying to hurt you.
If you're going to keep a ram, you're
going to need a super-duper pen (some rams enjoy breaking 2 X 4's for
fun) to keep the ram IN and children OUT.
My ram, Eustace, was of course the sweetest one in the flock. He was always friendly. I knew that rams could "turn" and tried to exercise appropriate caution, but one day Eustace caught me out in the middle of a pasture with no stick or rock or anything nearby, and he kept running at me. If a neighbor hadn't been nearby on his tractor, Eustace might have really hurt me. Eustace left our farm that night.
The lady who had owned the flock before also had a ram turn on her. He knocked her down...ramming her hip. She told me, "If your ram-lamb comes up to you one day and starts bumping his head against your leg. Go, right then. Either put him in a cattle-panel pen or hook up to your trailer and take him to the nearest auction, because he's going to start being dangerous."
I enjoyed my Cheviots, but I've since switched to the smaller, colorful Shetlands and I enjoy them more. They seem more sedate. Some eat out of my hand. They are also easier to manage. I think that Cheviots can be GREAT for people who have the facilities and experience to properly care for them, but sheep in general are not good "beginner" animals to me.