New to Sheep

AimeeDx

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Hi everyone,
I've recently purchased 2 dorper ewe lambs, unfortunately i can only get them in two months as they are only 9 days old. I was just going to ask for any advice since we are new to sheep. We've dog fenced a little corral close to the house, connected to a big paddock, we are planning to also barb wire it since there are wild dogs around, any advice for keeping them safe? Also, we read that dorper has a very mild taste, is this true? we won't be eating these two, but their little babes. :drool lamb chops....

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mysunwolf

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Welcome to BYH! There are lots of sheeple around. Dorpers are such an awesome choice for meat sheep, and they look great even so young!

As to safety, I would highly recommend electric wire instead of barbed for keeping out predators. Not sure what kind of predators you have over there in Australia, but here the biggest threats are wild dogs and coyotes, in addition to mountain lions, wolves, and bears in some areas. On the outside of the fence, run one strand about 6 inches up from the ground, and another one near the top of the fence. You can also lock them in a more secure area such as a barn at night, sometimes this is helpful. And really the best protection would be a livestock guardian dog. We have one LGD for our 4 acres and he does an awesome job keeping out all kinds of predators.

And on taste, everyone will have a different opinion! I personally prefer the taste of a coarse-wooled sheep to a hair sheep, but they all taste much better to me when they are properly finished on rich feeds :drool All lamb meat is delicious, some is more delicious.
 

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I wouldn't personally recommend barbed wire for sheep or goats... You'd be much better off with woven wire fencing designed for goats & sheep.
 

norseofcourse

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Welcome from Ohio, and congrats on your new sheep! Will you get a ram too, or take the sheep to someone for breeding when the time comes?
 

AimeeDx

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Why is barbed wire bad for sheep? And we were also thinking about electric fence. The main predator here is wild dogs and surprising foxes, The person we are getting them from told me some occasionally try to get the new born lambs. What do you guys think about sheep bells? And we will either be getting a baby lamb once the ewes are old enough, get them covered and once he is about 12 months old get the butcher out, or keep a ram, not sure yet.
 

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animals tend to like to eat the grass on the other side of the fence. A nice wooly sheep sticking its head and neck through barbed wire (think fish hooks) is a recipe for disaster. Once tangled, the fight will commence, and I'm pretty sure the barbed wire is gonna win.
 

Mike CHS

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We have had Dorper and Dorper/Katahdin cross and we liked both. Before we had access to the hair sheep all we ever had was that purchased and imported from Australia or New Zealand which we assume were wool sheep. We prefer the milder taste of the hair sheep so like was said, everyone has their preferred taste.
 

secuono

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Barbed wire doesn't keep dogs nor foxes out, it also does not keep sheep and goats in. Barbed wire works for cattle and horses, but horses sometimes love to shred themselves on it.

Woven mesh with small holes will keep in lambs and sheep. It will partly keep out fox, but the hotwire will keep foxes from digging under. I don't know how high a wild dog can jump, but coyote and wolf here can easily jump 4ft if need be. Some climb the fence, so hotwire along the top usually helps keep them out.
LGDs keep dogs and other canine predators out from jumping the fence.
If you only have a few sheep, lock them up at night in very secure pen or barn. But if the predator gets into such a small pen, it usually ends up killing or injuring more than one, since they're basically all lined up for him.

What is the breeder doing for predators and fencing? Go out and see their place, go tonother sheep breeders and also ask them what and how they keep sheep in your area.
 

Mike CHS

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Not to mention a good woven wire gives the hair sheep a place to lean into and rub off their shedding hair in the spring. :)

We have whole sections of fence that looks like it is in a cotton field from them rubbing on it.
 
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