Need advice whether to put our favorite wether down

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We have what used to be an extremely sweet wether about 1-year-old. He loves pets, wags his tail, everyone who meets him loves him.

A few nights back he knocked my 6 year old daughter down and wouldn't let her get back up. Thankfully my dog saw this (but couldn't get to her) and barked, my wife looked out the window and ran to help. My wife reports he was acting odd the entire time with her, and she felt unsafe too. I got home, checked him out and he was super friendly. Then my son reported him acting odd, but nothing came of it. I went out with my son and the wether was friendly and polite.

Now, I pretty much know what I need to do, but just needed a vote of confidence because he is beloved. Part of me is a little concerned some of it is him being aggressively friendly, not aggressively aggressive (he occasionally lightly kicks legs for pets if he wants attention). That is, maybe he accidentally knocked my daughter over, and everything else was a response to her screaming in fright, my wife being upset, etc.

But at the same time I can't risk it occuring again... If I think logically I only have one choice, because any risk is too much risk. But my compassionate side wants to give him one more chance, but that chance may be tragedy.

Anyway. Freezer camp, correct? Only choice I think. So sad, he's a friend of many people.
 

Baymule

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This is a tough one. I agree with no unsupervised kids going in the pen. If you give him another chance, that would have to be the new rule. The fact that he acted odd with your wife isn’t good.

The pawing with his foot for attention, basically y’all taught him that. He paws, he gets attention. I know, I did it too and have some spoiled brats. If he paws, water pistol squirts. If you keep him, you’ll have to break him of this habit. On a little kid, it hurts. Your daughter might like shooting him with the water pistol for misbehaving.

My question is, Do you know for a fact that both testicals were removed? Would it be worth it to have a vet scan him to double check?
 

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Or don't let your kids go in the pen alone. Sounds like he's a tad bit spoiled. A squirt bottle with water sprayed in his face will remind him to keep his distance. Or follow your gut... :hu

He's got free access to most of the yard
 

Ridgetop

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My question is, Do you know for a fact that both testicals were removed? Would it be worth it to have a vet scan him to double check?
That was my first thought about both testicles being removed. Sometimes when you can band a young ram lamb one of the little fellows can slide up above the band. If you don't realize it, then although he will be sterile, he still will have all the testosterone and inclinations of a ram. (The body heat will kill the sperm in the testicle retained inside the body cavity.)

About 25 years ago meat producers in Australia did a study to see if they could push the testicles up into the body cavity and then band the sac. This would effectively cause the rams to be sterile, but allow them to grow much faster than wethers. While the growth rate was good since the lambs were still rams and grew faster, they had trouble keeping the banded rams in large groups with ewe lambs. Since they were not wethers, the testosterone caused them to behave like rams - fighting, going after the ewe lambs, etc. The producers deemed the experiment to be not worth the faster growth rate.

Do you have a use for this wether other than as a pet? @Mike & Teresa have a wether they keep to teach the young lambs to come in the barn. If you have another use for him, then he may be worth keeping for that reason, but you won't be able to allow the younger children near him. Will they understand this and obey those restrictions? Or will you have an Old Yeller in the corn crib moment? Since he has free run of the yard, sounds like you will not be able to keep him separate from the little ones.

While poor training may have allowed this wether lamb to develop some bad habits (what is cute in a 5-10 lb. lamb is not cute in a 100-200 lb. wether) my suggestion would be to put him in freezer camp to avoid problems and let them raise another wether as a pet. Either you can sell the wether to someone else for meat or don't tell the children what they will be eating if you think they won't be able to accept it. Sorry :hugs

By the way, you didn't mention the breed or size of this animal.
 

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This is a tough one. I agree with no unsupervised kids going in the pen. If you give him another chance, that would have to be the new rule. The fact that he acted odd with your wife isn’t good.

The pawing with his foot for attention, basically y’all taught him that. He paws, he gets attention. I know, I did it too and have some spoiled brats. If he paws, water pistol squirts. If you keep him, you’ll have to break him of this habit. On a little kid, it hurts. Your daughter might like shooting him with the water pistol for misbehaving.

My question is, Do you know for a fact that both testicals were removed? Would it be worth it to have a vet scan him to double check?

Yea I think my puppies taught him that. The squirt bottle isn't a bad idea.

Our 3 sheep have access to the majority of the yard, and have never been any issue whatsoever with the kids. Super friendly, zero aggression.

This incident was recent and out of character. I wasn't home. One possibility is that he knocked her down accidentally. The other is we are lucky he didn't seriously harm her.

He's always been the friendliest, he acts like a dog and generally loves to be near people and get scritches.

I like the idea of squirt bottle, but I'm not sure how we keep the kids safe. They have play and chores outside, alone, on a regular basis. They collect eggs, feed the animals, etc. This has never been an issue.
 

SageHill

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Everyone has presented great information.
From the sounds of how you have things set up it doesn’t sound practical to keep the kids away from him. That would be the ONLY option besides the freezer.
It doesn’t matter what or how the aggression came about. The fact is - it IS there - no matter what causes or sets him off. Accidents will happen even in the best managed environments. Freezer or auction time and get a new lamb.
 

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That was my first thought about both testicles being removed. Sometimes when you can band a young ram lamb one of the little fellows can slide up above the band. If you don't realize it, then although he will be sterile, he still will have all the testosterone and inclinations of a ram. (The body heat will kill the sperm in the testicle retained inside the body cavity.)

About 25 years ago meat producers in Australia did a study to see if they could push the testicles up into the body cavity and then band the sac. This would effectively cause the rams to be sterile, but allow them to grow much faster than wethers. While the growth rate was good since the lambs were still rams and grew faster, they had trouble keeping the banded rams in large groups with ewe lambs. Since they were not wethers, the testosterone caused them to behave like rams - fighting, going after the ewe lambs, etc. The producers deemed the experiment to be not worth the faster growth rate.

Do you have a use for this wether other than as a pet? @Mike & Teresa have a wether they keep to teach the young lambs to come in the barn. If you have another use for him, then he may be worth keeping for that reason, but you won't be able to allow the younger children near him. Will they understand this and obey those restrictions? Or will you have an Old Yeller in the corn crib moment? Since he has free run of the yard, sounds like you will not be able to keep him separate from the little ones.

While poor training may have allowed this wether lamb to develop some bad habits (what is cute in a 5-10 lb. lamb is not cute in a 100-200 lb. wether) my suggestion would be to put him in freezer camp to avoid problems and let them raise another wether as a pet. Either you can sell the wether to someone else for meat or don't tell the children what they will be eating if you think they won't be able to accept it. Sorry :hugs

By the way, you didn't mention the breed or size of this animal.

He's a full sized Icelandic, maybe one year old. He had no bad habits until quite recently with the kicking thing which he learned this winter and I've been working to stop.

I have no idea about the testicles, these 3 sheep are our first foray into sheepdom and that's above my current paygrade. I'm hesitant to pay a vet to check given the likely outcome.

He was okay today but it's so hard to tell because I was around. The only way to be sure is if the kids are alone. But even then, he could be nice for a month...
 

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Everyone has presented great information.
From the sounds of how you have things set up it doesn’t sound practical to keep the kids away from him. That would be the ONLY option besides the freezer.
It doesn’t matter what or how the aggression came about. The fact is - it IS there - no matter what causes or sets him off. Accidents will happen even in the best managed environments. Freezer or auction time and get a new lamb.

I think this is correct, I just wish I saw the aggression for myself. It's so much harder not knowing for sure exactly what happened. He's such a friendly charmer and has long distance friends that look forward to seeing him when he visits.
 
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