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Best Breed For Newbie

Discussion in 'Breeds & Breeding - Sheep' started by Nyboy, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Feb 16, 2017
    Nyboy

    Nyboy Chillin' with the herd

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    Hi at sometime in the future I would like to get a pair of sheep to help keep grass in home orchard short. I love mini animals and am thinking Babydoll or Shetland what are the pros and cons of each. I am a dog groomer and have shaved dogs for over 30 years, so can do same for sheep. Thank You
     
  2. Feb 16, 2017
    purplequeenvt

    purplequeenvt True BYH Addict

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    Babydoll Southdowns, while small, are still heavy and strong. They have a lot of wool and can struggle with wool blind (wool covering the eyes). I don't have a lot of experience with the breed as I've never owned them.

    Shetlands are fun little sheep that come in lots of colors and patterns. Adult ewes are generally around 80 lbs. They tend to be flighty sheep, but tame down nicely with a little bribery of grain and scratches. They are hardy sheep as well.
     
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  3. Feb 16, 2017
    Bossroo

    Bossroo Loving the herd life

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    Sheep and goats LOVE to eat nice and tender tree bark , branches, twigs as well as the leaves.
     
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  4. Feb 17, 2017
    Nyboy

    Nyboy Chillin' with the herd

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    Oh I knew goats would, but thought sheep would not. Article I read said wineyards used them because they only ate grass, left grape vines alone.
     
  5. Feb 17, 2017
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    My sheep browse on everything. We used them to help clear the briar infested acre we loosely called a pasture. They stood on their hind legs to nip off tree branches and leaves.
     
  6. Feb 17, 2017
    goatgurl

    goatgurl True BYH Addict

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    yup Nyboy, I had seen the same thing about sheep so when my lawnmower died late last summer I kept the goats out but let the sheep in the yard to 'mow the grass' and they ate almost every flower and shrub I had growing. i have katahdin's which are a hair sheep, no shearing required, and they browse as much as the goats but i have been told that the wool sheep like the shetlands don't. bigger trees are safe but they ate my honey berry bushes to the ground. hopefully more sheeple on here will help answer your question.
     
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  7. Feb 17, 2017
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Whatever they can reach..........
     
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  8. Feb 18, 2017
    purplequeenvt

    purplequeenvt True BYH Addict

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    Sheep will definitely nibble your trees. How much damage they do will depend on the individual animals and how many other types of forage they have available.

    They won't usually strip a tree unless it's a very yummy tree and/or there isn't enough tasty pasture available.

    You can wrap the trunks with hardware cloth to prevent the sheep from eating the bark. The leaves on any low hanging branches would eaten, but the rest would be safe.

    There are ways to safely graze around trees without killing them.
     
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  9. Feb 20, 2017
    norseofcourse

    norseofcourse True BYH Addict Golden Herd Member

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    My sheep eat almost anything, and last winter my ram did major damage to some apple trees that are probably 70 years old or so, eating large amounts of their bark. So yes, you may need to protect the trees in your orchard.

    Grapevines are one of my sheep's most favorite things. They won't eat the thick lower vine, but any leaves they can reach are eaten fast!
     
  10. Feb 21, 2017
    Nyboy

    Nyboy Chillin' with the herd

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    Thanks guys always pays to ask people that have animal .