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Headbutting

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Sheep' started by skeleroo, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. Jul 6, 2018
    skeleroo

    skeleroo Exploring the pasture

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    I've had sheep now since December. I've got five katahdin/dorper ewes and a blackbelly ram. He was born in September and I got him from a petting zoo that were overrun with lambs.

    He's always been a nice guy. I haven't been overly friendly with him because I didn't want to encourage any bad behaviors but I'm assuming because of the petting zoo upbringing he's always sought attention.

    He's getting bigger now and his horns are... well they're not teeny tiny cute little nubs. He's been doing some headbutting with me lately and I have no idea who to curb this behavior. He walks up to me if I'm in the field with them and will stand next to me and just hang out, and then all of a sudden he will smack his horn into my knees. I'm not pleased. And he only does it to me, not my husband.

    Anyone have any ideas what I can do to stop this?
     
  2. Jul 6, 2018
    mysunwolf

    mysunwolf Herd Master

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    I hate to tell people this because you never know where they are with their animals. But honestly this guy should be butchered. Either that or find him a nice pen with a ram or wether buddy and never go in there. He will get worse as he gets older, and he can hurt or kill you easily. You can try tricks to change his behavior, but guaranteed he will find another window of opportunity one day when you have your guard down.
     
  3. Jul 6, 2018
    skeleroo

    skeleroo Exploring the pasture

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    So this isn't typical behavior for all rams? I want a ram to use for breeding for the girls and I was planning on cycling him out after a few seasons. Will all rams act this way?
     
  4. Jul 6, 2018
    Roving Jacobs

    Roving Jacobs Seeing Spots

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    Always keep an eye on him and when he goes to smack you with a horn act like you've lost your dang mind. Flip him, yell at him, growl in his face, just put the fear of God into him. If he's disrespecting you he needs to be taught you won't take it. It doesn't sound like he's charging you or being super aggressive, just feeling full of himself as a young stud and pushing boundaries. It's your job to not give him a chance to push them with you though. He can learn to go hang out elsewhere when you're in the field.
     
    mystang89 likes this.
  5. Jul 6, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    I had a ram that tagged me when ever he got the chance. I carried a plastic grocery bag, he was terrified of it. I flapped it at him, ran at him and chased him as he ran away, flapping the bag and yelling. He is in the freezer, changed his name to Ramburger. I have his son now. If he gets too full of himself, he will be freezer meat too. I am planning on using him for a couple of lambings, then buying a registered Katahdin ram.

    Your ram will get worse. Is it worth a broken leg or worse? If you want to keep him for a couple of seasons, pen him up and never go in his pen when you are alone. ALWAYS have someone on the outside of the pen in case you need help-and that goes for ANYONE who goes in his pen.

    Since you have Dorper/Katahdin ewes, do you really want to breed horns into your flock? Or are you going to slaughter all his offspring?
     
  6. Jul 8, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 True BYH Addict

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    I agree with roving Jacob. Do WHATEVER you have to in order to assert dominance. We have a ram that does the same to my wife and children. He doesn't do it to me. He comes up to me but never headbutts. I have flipped him and just stayed on top of him looking him in the eye then when he tries to get up I keep him pinned. There are other things done as well I believe have helped.

    My children tried what Baymule said and unfortunately they couldn't get it to work. Now if they are out there they stay right next to me. I hope you find whatever works.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  7. Jul 9, 2018
    Donna R. Raybon

    Donna R. Raybon Loving the herd life

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    A ram is the most dangerous animal on the farm. More so than a bull. When I sheep trialed my BCs, the oldtimer sheepmen would hammer into my head that fact and to NEVER enter a pen/field without a BC at heel to make ram behave. I never had any problems with my rams, but, I always had the BCs at heel. I had friends who had attacks from rams- one ended up airlifted to have spleen removed and other had bones in his hand crushed (he actually had just reach over the fence to turn on the water and ram got him.)
     
    mysunwolf, mystang89 and Baymule like this.
  8. Jul 10, 2018
    secuono

    secuono Herd Master

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    There are a couple breeds where the ram is relatively safe, but only if the breeder culls any nasty ones that are born. And even then, how it is raised matters and that in general, you should know where they are at all times.
    Just good practice to be aware.
    Flipping him down or nailing his butt might teach him to leave you alone or it might not work. Only one way to find out.
     
    mystang89 likes this.