Adding a Lamb to the Goat Herd

JimLad

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I've only had goats for a few months and it's very early Spring here but already I'm seeing a huge difference in the vegetation. I now have more grass than the three Embdens can handle and can see and much more coming up.
This due to the goats letting the light in.
So I'm thinking... How would a lamb work out?
Would have to be bottle fed since I bring the four young goats out to pasture each day and the deal is THEY follow ME.

Any thoughts?
 

D and L Meadows

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Sheep are excellent grazers. Not so much browsers, like goats. We useto keep sheep and goats together and the main issue was they need different minerals. We put the goats minerals up high so they had to jump on something to get it since sheep rarely jump. Sheep can’t have goat minerals because of the copper but goats are fine eating sheep minerals, but do need their own. Other than that, it went fine.
 

secuono

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Sheep aren't like goats, who can easily decide that they're weird looking dogs. Sheep usually end up reverting back to being sheep after weaning or when the treats stop.
Sheep cannot eat goat food, goat meds, goat minerals. You'll have to be careful about those. Make sure to get a hair sheep!
Otherwise, it could work, but sheep also like browsing. Same with horses, both will eat trees, vines, shrubs and so on.
Are the goats polled? Will the sheep be polled or horned? Make sure they match in that respect. Goats fight differently than sheep, up and then down, while sheep just go straight, they could be injured from that difference.
 

JimLad

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All good advice. Thanks.
I got a response to my ad almost immediately and brought home a three month old ewe.
 

JimLad

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As I feared, the doe who was bullied the most is bullying the lamb.
I'll give her time to settle in but in the meantime I can keep them apart when I'm not around.
I have to the option of bringing her brother home if it makes things easier.
She's crying constantly but the owner said to expect that.
 

Ridgetop

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They are jockeying for herd position. Don't worry unless they are able to injure each other. Horns?

Are you planning to breed this ewe lamb? If you have a buck for your goats, it will probably go after the ewe when she cycles. If you have a ram and doe goats then vice versa. When it is not breeding season, no problem if these goats and sheep are seasonal breeders.

One problem you may have is that while both sheep and goats are browsers, your goats are less likely to be able to get all the nutrition they need from grass alone. I suggest that you get a couple of young wethers to help graze down the grass. When they have finished grazing it down but no later than 7 months old, put them in the freezer. Otherwise, you will need to be careful about too much copper for your ewe in the goat ration. Some sheep breeds can handle more copper than others while some are much ore sensitive to copper.
 

JimLad

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Thanks Ridgetop:
Well it's been over a week now and everything is going great.
The bullying seems to have stopped, it was only ever one goat, and I give her her own shed at night so that they are not confined together.
The grass still isn't being touched but the lamb eats lots of weeds that these goats don't and her browsing habits are pretty well in sync with the herd.
I've taken care of my only buck and am waiting for his package to drop off.
I was hoping that she would love the oxeye daisy. Maybe the plants need to mature a bit more.
We'll see.
They will bloom next week.
She has no interest in hay but she did eat some alfalfa pellets during a rainstorm, today.
All in all, she seems well fed and happy.
I don't intend keeping her over the winter so I may trade her for a male and butcher him.
Will be a good deal for someone on Vancouver Island.
 

Ridgetop

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Some of the forage that is available is not palatable as green feed, but later when it turns browns seems to taste better in its dry state. According to an article posted by Ulf Kinzel, feeding sheep on dried pasture forage is just as nutritious or even more so, because the green pasture has such a high water content When the sheep eat dry pasture they are getting the nutrients in a more concentrated state. Our sheep avoid some of the weeds when they are green, but when they are dead and dry they gobble them up. Our itchy weed is one of these, it is a smaller type of stinging nettle. They devour it when it has dried out so perhaps the green nettle has a bitter taste.
 

JimLad

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That's really nice to know.
The Southern tip of Vancouver Island, where we are, experiences a summer drought every year (we pay for it in spades from Autumn to Spring) and all of that green turns to brown and growth comes to a standstill.
With your facts in mind, I am really looking forward to seeing how much of an impact the herd will have.
 

Ridgetop

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We are in southern California. When we get rain the hills turn bright green with weeds, winter grass, and here on our 6 acres, wild mustard and itchy weed. The sheep will graze on the wild mustard starting with the first shoots, then the flowers, and finally the stemmy older growth, They avoid the green itchy weed unless we stop feeding them entirely and force them to eat it. After everything dies to brown, things change, the itchy is relished along with the mustard and anything else growing. Depending on how much rain we have gotten (lots in the past 2 years - almost none for the 5 years previously) they will eat throughout the summer into fall when there is nothing left standing. This is good since they eat everything off by wildfire season. We keep n eye on their body condition scores since we are breeding in an accelerated program, and if necessary give them a hay feed at night when they come in.
 
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