Loving sheep now headbutting me!

4 yr old ewe just started headbutting me should I be concerned and how do I stop this behavior?


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Tamara

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I've had my sheep for about four years now. I've raised her since she was a lamb. She lived with two large boar goats. One had a tendency to headbutt. They passed sadly and now it's just her on the pasture. In the past six months she has begun to head butt me when I don't give her feed. The place where she's now staying is now up for sale. I found a perfect new place but I don't want her to headbutt the kind people at the new home or the other animals. She doesn't do it very often but how do I stop her from headbutting and rearing up. I first thought she was being playful because she was living alone. When I take her to the vet or around other people she does not headbutt. She has not spent much time with other animals or people. Is there anything I can do and should I be concerned. So far saying no walking away and showing her a halter has worked but I want it to stop all together. Thank you farm family. :)
 

mysunwolf

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All IMO... I think she needs a sheep friend so that they can headbutt each other and establish the flock hierarchy and just do sheep things together. That's most likely the problem. You could place her in her new home and see if she has any trouble--if she does, you could take her back and try training. My sheep sometimes nudge me or jump on me if they want grain or attention--I either knee them in the chest (like a dog) or "headbutt" them back with the palm of my hand, and they are slowly getting the message, but still do this when excited. Usually, my friendliest sheep do this. I just make sure to watch those sheep when there are small children around.
 

Sheepshape

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She DOES need company. She is treating you as a flock member as she has no flock.
A number of my sheep rub their faces/heads/necks very vigorously against me, or push their rears hard into my leg, but this is a sign of affection and can be seen with other flock members.
If she goes to a place where there are other sheep,they will sniff her,chase her and probably butt her a bit for the first day or so,but new flock members are usually readily accepted.
If a sheep tries to head butt,I generally say 'No' loudly and tap the nose (not so that it hurts,but so that they know who is boss). Rams or ewes with lambs are the usual culprits,and I had 6 rams up until a few weeks ago, but none head butted.
 

Bossroo

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Adding other sheep to make a new herd is a good solution until the new leader of the pack starts to butt a person. However , any feel good answer is only a dream... sheep only understand who is the BADDEST one around so be ready to beat the crap out of the headbutting offender to save yourself and others from injury.
 

norseofcourse

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When my ram started trying to headbutt me, I asked for help here. I was told that next time he tried it, to immediately take ahold of him and lay him down on the ground and hold him there, and that's what I did. I didn't yell or hit him or anything, just grabbed him and got him down on the ground, and held him there till he gave up and laid there quietly. Then I let him go and he got up. It worked for about a week, then he tried it again, and I did the same thing. He hasn't tried to butt me or anyone else since.

I agree that your sheep needs a friend - are there other sheep at the place you're moving her to? Or can you get another one?
 

Sheepshape

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I have managed to stop head butting in all but one ram I had (known as Ifor the A***hole).....he was a bit of a demon.....but my neighbour took him as a swop for his breeding ram (Being a seasoned farmer, he would know how to subdue him).
norseofcourse....I'd LIKE to try your method....but my rams can weigh 250-280,over twice my weight, so I have to teach them manners in a different fashion! Thankfully, my current 4 rams all know their place.
 

bcnewe2

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I was just thinking the same thing, how do you lay a huge ram down? To do that to my ram would take 2 maybe 3 people and he's not even mean.
I don't befriend my rams. And if my ewes were mean I wouldn't be "nice" about a correction. They have 2 inch think skulls, a little tap would be nothing. The OP needs to give her sheep a sheep friend. They are herd animals and really that would be the kindest thing to do.
As far as correcting a ram or a ewe for butting. I would wap them on the side of the face or head with a stock stick. Not lightly either. They need to know it was you and that you'll do it again. They aren't dogs, or really like pets. You can make a pet out of one but it's not going to love you like a dog or cat. It's going to love that you are the feeding person or the person that scratches an itch. Anymore than that seems a bit out there to me.
I have 1 pet sheep out of 20+/- she lets me handle her without restraint. GK's can come over and feed her, take pictures of her or pet her a bit. She still knows she is a sheep and doesn't look to me for her social life. She's a sheep!
 

norseofcourse

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norseofcourse....I'd LIKE to try your method....but my rams can weigh 250-280,over twice my weight, so I have to teach them manners in a different fashion!
Well, I never said he was a *big* ram :lol:

Sorry, I tend to forget a lot of sheep breeds are bigger than mine. And even getting mine down on the ground took a minute or so, since I'm not real experienced at it. There's some way of turning their head that's supposed to make it easy, but there's a big difference between watching someone do it, and doing it yourself, 'cause it sure didn't work as easily with Elding.
 

Bossroo

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It's just a matter of leverage ... I used to work with 80 -100 rams all of wich were 250 - 300 lbs. ( I was 165lbs.at the time) at a University study every day for years. Hold the ram's head under it's jaw with your Left hand, place your Left knee behind it's shoulder, twist it's head away and slightly upwards very fast rolling it's body over your Left knee and at the same time move your Right leg slightly backwards. The animal is now sitting onto it's rump. Grab one or both front legs to steady it and then one can do anything one needs to do. Then, If one needs to lay it down onto it's side, just move your left knee backwards and holding it's head under it's jaw with your Left hand ease it onto it's side ( quite fast using it's weight as leverage) and place your Right knee over and behind it's shoulder. Take a hold of it's front leg that is on the topside with your knee still on and behind it's shoulder and you have it totally under control. All this in one quick motion. This procedure takes only a couple seconds to do. :woot
 

Sheepshape

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With my big boys,even the very experienced shearer (who has won championships in the past) has a heck of a time in getting them onto their rumps. Here's one of them getting a 'haircut' last week....and that's not fat,that's muscle. thankfully the owner of this huge form (Goliath) is a real softie.
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