7 yr wether suddenly having ram behavior

Petsheepnotfood

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Help! No one has heard of this. My 7 yr old wether has become aggressive and is after all the ewes relentlessly. He was banded as soon as they dropped enough to confidently band. He was banded by a 20 yr herder. I have 4 wethers and 7 ewes. He is the oldest, largest and up until this summer the gentlest. Never had interest in the ewes or any sign of aggression with people or anything else. He and 4 of the others were my bottle babies. He came at me in the field yesterday. I was not close to any other sheep or him. Had just feed them and was on the far side of the pasture when he started walking over. He stopped about 20 ft from me and lowered his head, thank God I saw him. I was next to the net wire fence so I was able to pull my self up enough to deter a direct hit. I yelled for him to stop, he backed up a couple of feet and butted again. He then stood next to me calmly until I started to move and then started again. I couldn't climb the fence where I was and needed to go about 10 feet to get to boards I could climb. Finally after repeating the standing still then avoiding repeated butt I made it to the boards. Started climbing he butted and broke the 2x6 board! Made it over the fence with broken ribs, bruises, sore as heck but no other broken bones. I'm very lucky but heartbroken. He was my baby. Can't imagine if we missed a testicle he wouldn't have started acting up before 7 yrs. Maybe an adrenal gland tumor producing testosterone? I still feel like a newbie, do I need to seperate him from the others? He won't leave the ewes alone and has butted a couple of the other wethers hard. He is extremely large, I can't flip him(my vet couldn't either). I can flip them if they are around 200 or under. I've tried to flip him when he was friendly and just standing there, it is completely out of the question now. I was going to get a cattle prong and staying out of the field with him if I can. Calling vet monday for advice too. Any ideas what is going on?
 

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So sorry to hear you were injured. I'll tag a few folks with sheep experience and maybe they can help. IMHO once mean, time for freezer camp. I know you say you don't eat them as they're pets, but I can't think that anyone else would take him from you as a pet if you tell them why you're getting rid of him (and you absolutely have to tell them!) As a wether, he's useless for breeding, so really all he's good for is as a pet or company for a lone (functional) ram, or dinner for someone.

@Bossroo @Sheepshape @mysunwolf @farmerjan and there may be others but I can't recall everyone's handle. Good luck with this issue.
 

Petsheepnotfood

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Thank you. We wouldn't get rid of him, he will be put down if he continues and is unmanageable. Hoping someone has some idea of what is causing it and a better way of handling it. We will try anything, it is very strange. Unbelievable gentle, then he starts turning into a ram in august after 7yrs then his butting started. After his first time with me, he has gone after my husband everytime he is out there but not as bad. My husband was watching for him and carrying a hoe handle. I keep a fence between us now.
 

mysunwolf

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I honestly would say to put him down for "wether mutton", as the old timers would say it sounds like he has turned. It's not often you hear about it with wether sheep, though I have heard about it with wether goats. Even if you can control him with the cattle prod, he will still be waiting for his moment to attack if you ever don't bring the cattle prod or have your back turned. Your guess is as good as mine as to why the sudden change--hormonal imbalance of some kind sounds right.
 

Roving Jacobs

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I wouldn't tolerate that behavior in a ram, much less a wether. If this is a random sudden change I'd guess there's something wrong with him and put him down. It's sad since he was your pet but your life is more important.
 

Bossroo

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Foxtail auwns get on the belly, inside the mouth or any where else. Then the migrate to any other organ, muscle, liver, heart, or lymph node in the body. Could also be a cancerous growth causing behavior issues. As a side note,( true story that my wife just told me yesterday ) recently one of my wire's friends got married. She had a cat and the new husband had a dog that did NOT like each other at all , fighting like cats and dogs will. The friend hired a pet phycho therapist to get the two to just get along. 6 months later and after spending $4,300 for treatments, the dog killed the cat. Moral is bbq this weather like yesterday before he severely injures someone else.
 

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Just for your consideration... I know you have stated that you won't/can't eat a pet. If this animal has truly gone rogue, there will be no salvaging him. You and your family as well as your other animals will have to fear for their lives. If you have company and someone gets hurt, you are liable! If you are truly going to put this bad guy down, that would be a tremendous waste of meat.

Please consider: Is there any possibility you could donate the animal to a food bank or maybe a church charity group through a local butcher if you won't eat him. Have the butcher price it out & you get a tax deduction for the animal's meat value. The butcher may also for his work contributed to charity, and MANY people don't go hungry this Christmas season. I personally would want some payback after 7 years of feeding and care followed by broken ribs... Mutton stew is awfully good. :drool justsayin'
 

Goat Whisperer

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I do not own sheep, but I do own dairy goats.

I agree with what has been said. I was going to say the same as LS- you could donate the meat if you don't want to eat him. But in all honesty, this animal needs to be put down/slaughtered IMHO.

I have a friend who went through something similar with her buck (intact). He was a perfect gentleman, easy going and very well mannered. Never had an issue. He suddenly went crazy, would try to attack and just lost his mind. They did butcher him and found that his gallbladder was huge and off color, and his testicles were wrapped in tight fascia. Other than that he was in amazing internal health.

I know your guy is a wether but thought I'd mention it. :idunno
 

Southern by choice

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I thought I'd mention it... rabies. Onset can cause aggressive behaviors. Many see the later stages of sluggishness etc...often gentle animals can become aggressive and aggressive animals can become docile
Livestock can get rabies. In NC we average 5 cases a year... we had 5 by September :\
The NC Dept of Ag stated our State vet is recommending rabies for livestock now.

One possible symptom- "increased sexual excitement or activity;"

I wanted to mention this so you can handle the animal appropriately and watch your other sheep
A few years back a farm down the road had to be shut down and quarantined for 6 months... the donkey showed the first symptoms and died, then several cattle... Rabies positive.
 

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