Just one Lamb?
Thinking about getting a lamb this year to put some extra meat in the freezer. We have 3 horses that the lamb might be with, but most likely he'll be by himself with about 5 chickens and 6 ducks for company...
Would you recommend getting one lamb or at least 2? First time sheep owner, btw
Chickens and ducks do not count as a herd for a lamb or goat. They don't view the lamb as part of the flock, and the lamb won't recognize them as part of the herd. They can exist in the same place, oftentimes (my chickens fly over the fences to scratch around in fallen hay), but are too dissimilar. Also, how would you keep the lamb out of the chicken feed? Gorging on chicken feed would likely be a death sentence via a condition called bloat. So that means, you'd need to house your lambs separately from the fowl, in their own pasture with their own shelter.
I am not trying to sound mean or harsh. And I am SO GLAD you are doing your research before bringing any animal home. What I am trying to say is to get two, and to keep them in their own pen.
Be careful with the lamb/s around horses as well. Some horses are OK with sheep or goats. Others will kill them with no hesitation.
No worries with the birds- they're free range and only get fed in the winter, so by the time lambs get here there will be no feed for them to get into.
What kind of fencing would you recommend? I have regular farm fencing over about 2 acres (the square kind) and more than 5 acres hot fenced. Can lambs be trained to a hot fence?
Thanks for your info :)
Actually, two is good enough for happy lambs. They'll be each other's best buddies. And one lamb shouldn't cost much more than two, especially if most of their feed comes in the form of grazing.
As for fencing, I honestly couldn't help you there. I keep goats (their social/herd needs are the same), and if a fence can't hold water, it can't hold a goat, hah. It seems like a lot of sheep respect electric fences, though, if they're trained to it. I have seen many sheep contently fenced with hot wire and make no attempts to escape. Goats with hot wire doesn't work so well, they'll just take the shock to get at the nummies on the other side (even if you crank up the power, omg). The square field fencing should hold them just fine, too.
Yea sorry if I initially sounded harsh. But there are so many people out there dead set on keeping one goat, or one sheep. Or keeping said goat or sheep in their chicken coop. Or other things that are definitely not in the best interest of the animal. I won't sell my goats to anyone intending to keep a single animal. They must either buy a pair of goats, or they must already have other goats. A lot of sheep breeders are the same with their lambs, though you can find ones to sell singletons, even if it isn't healthy for the animal.
Get more than one. We had a goat at our barn until very recently, and he was lonely without a goat or sheep buddy. He would follow people around and get in the way, and antagonize the horses. It got so bad that they had to find a new home for him because he was REALLY upsetting them. He roamed over from whatever property he was originally located I guess because of the other animals, but there wasn't really anyone for him to socialize with.
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Two seems to be just as much work as one. You could always sell the extra when they are ready for slaughter if you don't want it need the surplus meat.
Growing up I lived on a sheep ranch. More than one is better. Also be careful with them around horse feeds because they have added copper and sheep need NO added copper.
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I will be getting a pair of lambs for the first time too. I spoke with a sheep person and they use an electric netting. I bought two of these to go completely around my already fenced in pen which I will be keeping them in. The reason for the netting in my area is to keep the coyotes OUT.
we have coyotes in our area too, but I'm situated just close enough to a busy district that I think they won't bother the lambs- maybe =o
Also, my mare is a dog and coyote killer- she comes in handy when there's other small animals around, like the chickens and ducks, not so much when the neighbors dog gets loose =s
In the right situation I think they can be kept alone. In the years I was in 4h I only ever had one lamb at a time. My first one bonded with me especially strongly due to not having others. We did have other animals though. Cows and horses. She had her own stall that they could interact but she was never in harm. My second ewe did have a stall mate whom she fell in love with. My mustang. They are still lovebirds to this day.
I'm not saying it is preferred to house a lamb alone but it can be done with a minimal amount of stress.
And for the record. My girls are now all very happy in a pasture with horses in cows.
(Well... As happy as they can be after being attacked by wild dogs yesterday)
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