Friends of sheep - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By Foxhunter
  • 2 Post By Captain Evil
  • 4 Post By Foxhunter
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Friends of sheep

I have 3 equines. A riding pony, and rescue pony, and a BLM burro. I have a 25 acre pasture and a big square bale of hay in a tombstone horse feeder with a hay chix nibble net. Despite this, the riding pony became obese this winter. I had to pull her out of the pasture and put her in the dry lot/stall paddock combo on the other side of the property. She cannot see the pony and the burro. The rescue pony freaked out when I pulled her, but he seems to be fine now and making better friends with the burro. She seems fine, but I am worried about her mental health. I am riding her 5 miles a day 3-4 days a week weather, time, light permitting. Obviously, it will be a long time before she loses weight. I am weighing her hay and she has toys in the dry lot, but I am thinking of acquiring a sheep for her as a buddy. I do NOT want another equine. I want a small animal that consumes very little, and I used to own goats (too naughty) so I can trim hooves no problem. I am looking at an older, ewe hair sheep (no shearing). Does anyone have experience with a sheep and horse together? I am sure she has IR and will probably not be able to go to pasture until much, much later, when I have a better schedule and can get her Greenguard muzzle on her (when we actually have some grass), but she will still need to probably get put up in the dry lot. The dry lot fencing is horse panels, but I can zip tie some sheep panels to it if needed (my my I do love zip ties).

She lived with goats before and was fine, so I am not worried she will hurt the sheep. I just want her to have a friend that doesn't eat a lot, will bond, and is not creative enough to plot escape. Thoughts? Anyone have a sheep for a horse friend?
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 01:06 PM
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Majority of horses will bond with a sheep BUT you say you want an older ewe, the problem with this is that as they age so their teeth drop out making it very hard to keep weight on them.

Secondly, you will need meshed fencing to keep it in.
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
Majority of horses will bond with a sheep BUT you say you want an older ewe, the problem with this is that as they age so their teeth drop out making it very hard to keep weight on them.

Secondly, you will need meshed fencing to keep it in.
I can zip tie sheep/hog panels to the horse panels. My question is thus: would the sheep just wander away, ALONE, from the horse? Or will the sheep bond and stay close (like if one of the panels snaps off or something)? We live in a super dangerous area for a sheep to be alone if she wandered away (mountain lions, bobcat, bears, coyotes, feral dogs at times), but we have a burro and a big guardian dog that patrol the property, but it's no guarantee.

I will properly feed her and she will have a separate area to eat her food if needed - I am looking at something older but not like 10 - thinking around 4-6 years old - old enough to be less energetic - like a sheep looking for a retirement home.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
Majority of horses will bond with a sheep BUT you say you want an older ewe, the problem with this is that as they age so their teeth drop out making it very hard to keep weight on them.

Secondly, you will need meshed fencing to keep it in.
When I lived in Scotland, I heard of a dentist who quit working with people and only made dentures for sheep. Apparently, dentures can extend the life of a sheep my years, and more years means more babies & more wool, so it was financially feasible.

So maybe someone was pulling my leg, but I think I read it in the paper.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 03:43 PM
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No, your leg wasn't being pulled!

Many years ago this started but it never became a thing.

I was given an old ewe, she was about ten. She always had a single lamb. Her teeth all started to drop out but she did remain well. She was about twelve when she was attacked by a dog. She had a hole in her neck you could put a boot in. I got her into the back of the ATV and unloaded her into a stable. I had called a friend to come shoot her.

As she flopped her way in and turned she looked at me a bleated. I gave her some food and water and she ate and drank. I decided to give her a chance as she seemed to want to go on.

She wore a T shirt for a couple of months to keep the flies from the wound which slowly healed. Bless her she was so good and would let me dress the wound and change the shirt daily even when she was back out in the field.

Followimg Year she had twins, reared them both and then died a month after weaning.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 04:00 PM
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I don't have any answers but wanted to say anyone who has a picture of Beholder and Songbird is A Ok in my book.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by aubie View Post
I don't have any answers but wanted to say anyone who has a picture of Beholder and Songbird is A Ok in my book.
Thanks! That race was a thriller. Those nose at the wire finishes are my favorite.
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 05:08 PM
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With my two favorite jockeys. Gary hung it up for good not to long after that.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 08:25 PM
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An old sheep knows it's a sheep. It will become depressed and may get sick or die.

If you have to get a sheep, get a late castrated wether(male) that is under a year. Cheaper to boot. It has a lot more chance at "becoming" a horse and bonding than a mature sheep.
And 6yr old ewes aren't retired unless they are culls. 10-12yr breeding happens often.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-20-2020, 11:04 PM
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To elaborate upon what @secuono is saying: I would be more worried about the sheep bonding than I would about the horse. Sheep, for the most part, HATE being away from other sheep, unless they were raised differently. Having had to wrestle with sheep to draw blood before, I know that they can lose their minds just being pulled 10 feet away from their buddies, let alone living without them. You'd have more luck with something young and confident like a wether as noted above, but even then I'm not quite sure how it would end up working out.
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