So, because it’s tiresome to always be the dumbest farmers on the block, today we (royal we) built a corral. This means we don’t have to get Frank to wrangle sheep quite so much.
Though Frank likes to wrangle sheep and he doesn’t mind.
We wanted to give some wormer to the sheep. We’re using an herbal wormer that is natural and can be given monthly as a medication and a preventative. 52 built a corral in a corner of the sheep’s current pasture, and we formulated a plan.
We would mix the herbal wormer in with some of their feed in a pan. One of us would go into the corral with the feed and bring in one sheep at a time while the other of us would cut the rest of the sheep off at the pass.
I volunteered to be the one to go into the corral with the feed as cutting the rest of the sheep off at the pass sounded scary.
Mostly because the rest of the sheep includes Mr. Cotswold.
Backing up…. I am terrified of Mr. Cotswold. One time last winter, for some reason that I can no longer recall, after dark (and it does get dark really early in the winter here), I went into the sheep pasture to close the gate on the other side. We were shutting them off from the other pasture. I can’t remember all the details of why, but I was halfway across the pitch black pasture when I knew the sheep were coming behind me. Mr. Cotswold had rammed me from behind previously on several occasions and I was already leery of him. In a thoughtless second, I thought to turn so I could “see” him coming.
Well, of course I couldn’t see him coming. It was pitch black. Mr. Cotswold rammed me head on, in my lower abdomen. I couldn’t see anything. It was so dark. I barely kept my feet and I just started crying and screaming because it hurt so bad. You have no idea how swiftly, and how strongly, a 200-pound ram can hit you until you’ve been hit by one. They can fly you off your feet. I was in the middle of this black-black pasture all by myself, in pain, and so scared that Mr. Cotswold would hit me again before I could get out. I grabbed the fenceline and stumbled my way in terror to the other gate and finally out.
That hurt for months. I cry just thinking about it because I was so scared that night. None of our other farm animals have ever scared me. But that ram…. Oh, yeah, I’m terrified of him.
I have not gone into a field alone with Mr. Cotswold since, and I don’t like to go into the field even with someone else there. I stay out of the sheep pasture.
Anyway! Back to the new makeshift corral and the herbal wormer…. Going into the sheep pasture is a big, big deal to me. Sheep, unless they are a bottle lamb like Annabelle, just want your food, they don’t care about you. When you try to do something official like give them wormer or a shot, they RUN AWAY. So, 52 and I went into the sheep pasture this evening, me hiding behind him. I was going to go into the pen and he was going to cut the rest off at the pass. We got one in.
IT TURNED OUT TO BE MR. COTSWOLD.
I was trapped in the pen with Mr. Cotswold.
That was THE LAST ONE I wanted to be with in the corral. But trying to get one in and cut the rest off was more difficult than we expected and THAT WAS THE ONE THAT CAME IN.
It was like being shut up in a closet with Hannibal Lecter. I freaked out. Quivering, blibbering-blubbering mass. Mr. Cotswold loves the feed-herbal wormer combo and he couldn’t get enough of it.
While he was eating it, that was the longest two minutes of my life.
And then I was even more scared because I didn’t have any more and I was afraid he might kill me for that.
52 shielded me all the way out then he went into the pen and he corralled the rest of them while I just handed him pans of feed and wormer over the fence. I can handle every animal on the farm except that ram.
And I’m just sayin’……… We will probably not have sheep forever.
Because I am scared of him.
OMG! No way would I EVER get close to Mr Cotswold! Suzanne, I know you had great pain from this…WOW! Thanks for sharing!
On September 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm
I think it’s time for Hannibal, er, Mr Cotswold to find a new home. You shouldn’t have to live in fear of your sheep.
On September 5, 2010 at 7:35 pm
I bet 52 was terrified that winter night, too, not from fear for himself, but because you were in need of rescuing and he was not able make out where you were at so he could come to your aid.
That is how honorable men are…protective of “their womenfolk”. Just let someone or something try to hurt you and “your man” is on it like white on rice.
On September 5, 2010 at 7:35 pm
if that had been me, I’d never have gotten in the same fence with that bully again. Thank goodness you are okay. Hmm…do you really need sheep?
On September 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm
Maybe sheep are okay, maybe it’s just Mr. Cotswald. Can you get a baby ram to bottle feed? Or maybe goats are just better!
On September 5, 2010 at 7:47 pm
Nancy S. says:
I’m a newbie farmer and I think that as I try out different types of livestock, I’m going to find some that suit me more than others. Maybe you don’t like sheep, and maybe you don’t like nasty animals. I’d “cull” him as they say in the biz! (at least I’d talk about it … I’m not quite a farmer yet!)
On September 5, 2010 at 8:04 pm
Nancy S. says:
I wanted to ask you, how do you handle worming your goats? Do you use an herbal wormer on them as well? and does it work? thanks! i need some worming advice!
On September 5, 2010 at 8:05 pm
Suzanne McMinn says:
Nancy, we’ve tried several different times of wormers with the goats. Currently, we’re trying the natural herbal wormers on them. It’s good for all the animals. We’re usiing the herbal wormers from Molly’s Herbals (just google that).
On September 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm
Border Collie or an Ausssie. You need a herding dog to work sheep and help teach them who is boss. Also, never go into a sheep pen without a shepherd’s crook.
On September 5, 2010 at 8:49 pm
Darlene in Ks says:
Oh my, I think that is a first for this blog. Just close your eyes Princess Vanassa, you don’t need to see that nonsense.
On September 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm
Oh my gosh!! how scarey, no wonder you dont want to cuddle him 🙂 I’m glad you made it out unharmed today!!
On September 5, 2010 at 9:07 pm
Oh no, Suzanne! I am so sorry that happened to you! I, also, would get rid of him. We got rid of the rooster because we were so afraid of him.
I would never go into the pen alone with Mr. Cotswold, either!
On September 5, 2010 at 9:08 pm
claudia w says:
I was quaking in my shoes reading that! I am so glad you are okay. I didn’t think sheep were that (ahem) rambucious. Get rid of him. I don’t want you hurt again! (I think there are a lot of others who don’t want you hurt again too)
On September 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm
I think Mr. Cotswold should be renamed Mr. Mutton and given a new home in the oven. :wave:
On September 5, 2010 at 9:40 pm
Mr. Cotswold is giving sheepies a bad name! Does he still have his man-parts? If so, remove those babies if you don’t need him for breeding. Mr. C would make a much better wether than he does a ram…that’ll show him!
You need some nice cuddly Shetlands. Mine like to sit in your lap and they wag their tails when you pet them.
On September 5, 2010 at 9:47 pm
Suz in the Tules says:
Why don’t you get one of those zapper things? One time might make him think twice about attacking ‘that woman with the stinger’?
They are scary, though. And hormonally aggressive. My friends’ two rams had a big head-butting contest every time she moved them into another pasture.
On September 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm
i feel scared for you
i think mr costwald needs to go (though you need a male sheep around for obvious reasons)
and…like i’ve said before
you need a border collie, kelpie, aussie…something to work those sheep for you
i’ve just started training my bc rescue on sheep and this woman i train with–you should see what her dogs can do with sheep…seriously
i had one sheep once…and that was enough
though i’m considering more to train the dog now, lol
no rams though
On September 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm
Many shepherds keep ram lambs to use for breeding (they are mature enough to breed at/around six months), and sell or wether them before they get too large and mean. There are a few breeds of sheep where the rams are complacent creatures, but as a whole rams are very dangerous animals–and usually very underestimated. I keep my ram(s) in a separate pasture except during the fall breeding season–that way I can interact with my ewe flock the rest of the time (and control the time the lambs will arrive). If you only have one ram, keep a couple of wethers and keep him with them (however you will have to have a quite a bit of space between him and the ewes so he won’t go through/over/under the fence). My pastures are set up that I never have to enter the ram pens–when I want to corral them for treatment, I set up cattle panel pens, which can be folded in smaller and smaller. I’ve lived with a nasty mean merino ram for years and this has kept us both alive. It really sounds like Mr. Cotswold needs to leave after this breeding season–a hard decision, but one you won’t regret–besides the fact that he will soon be breeding his daughters..then grand-daughters etc…….And please don’t use a ram lamb that has been bottle fed–they absolutely know no boundaries and can turn out to be the meanest ones in the long run, no matter how sweet as babes. Take care and good luck!
On September 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm
Karen Anne says:
I’m with Linda on this. I can take care of myself, thank you very much.
On September 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm
I’ll be darned! Suzanne, you poor thing! How terrifying! That rotten sheep! I have learned a lot about sheep in the posts of others; really fascinating. I thought sheep were pretty passive but I guess those rams are something else!
On September 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm
Wow, Tammy, that was interesting reading. Suzanne, I’m sure you see the handwriting on the wall. He has got to go! You could be crippled for life. What a horrible thought! My father raised horned Hereford cattle. He bought a young Larry Domino XIII for stud. He was a beauty, but grew so large!… and strong. He was playful which combined with his size and strength made him dangerous. He was like a pet, but when he got playful with Daddy one day, he penned him to the barn wall. He scared my dad. It must have really scared him, because he soon sold him. I think he may have cried, but it was the sensible thing to do.
On September 5, 2010 at 10:18 pm
:snuggle: I never had sheep, but I always thought I would like to. They look so peaceful grazing in the fields. Now, after hearing your experience,I may rethink that idea.
On September 5, 2010 at 11:12 pm
Hi there. I’m reading your blog from New Zealand where we know a little something about sheep!! One of your previous commenters had it right, keep your ram separate from the main flock unless it’s tupping time. Give him a couple of wethered ram lambs for company until they are ready for the freezer and get rid of your ram after a couple of seasons. I have just got rid of mine (a big merino with MASSIVE horns) whom I was also very wary of as he was crazy. NEVER NEVER NEVER keep a bottle fed ram entire (not casatrated), they will certainly be the most dangerous animal on your farm. They have no boundaries and absolutely no fear of people, when hormones are raging they have been known to severely injure and even kill people here.
This is my first season breeding sheep and whilst the lambs are gorgeous, sheep themselves are pretty stupid and skittish to deal with. As farm animals go they are fairly high maintenance with worming, dagging, shearing (x2 each year) and then lambing. A point of interest, most small block farmers here in NZ will only worm a sheep when they need it as they can develop a drench resistance really easily. Run cattle and sheep together as they do not share the same worm burden where as cattle and goats do. I could go on and on about sheep and what I have learnt over the last year. Don’t give up though – the lambs are soooo cute and they taste DELICIOUS!!
On September 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm
Sorry – me again!! Another good reason to keep your ram separate is so that you can spend time with your ewes, get to know them, just sit in the paddock with them. It makes lambing time a lot easier, the ewes are not scared of you and you can get close to them to assist with lambing if necessary. Also they are happy to let you attend to the lambs, dock the tails and put the bands on the boys bits!
On September 5, 2010 at 11:47 pm
I agree with the others, Suzanne, (not that you asked our opinion) but you don’t need that from any of your animals. Stay safe!! :hug:
On September 6, 2010 at 12:05 am
Poor Suzanne! I knew that gitting hit by a ram wouldn’t feel good but you brought forth the reality of just how bad it COULD feel. I’d would be terrified of him too! I guess you need him around in order to have baby lambs in the spring, but keep your eye on that one! Can he be bribed with cookies????
On September 6, 2010 at 1:22 am
Hannibal Lecter? It sounded a bit more like that horror movie from New Zealand. In the movie the sheep turned into man eating beasts.
On September 6, 2010 at 1:47 am
What is your business with the sheep? (I don’t mean “you have no business with them” but what kind of commerce do they provide?) If they’re just pets or you just want the wool, get rid of the ram. Pass him on to someone who has business breeding sheep.
If you plan on eating them and so you need to breed them to provide more, you can still get rid of him and just use someone else’s ram to breed them annually. Then 11 months of the year you do not need to be terrified of a ram who is just doing what feral males do.
Why torture yourself?
On September 6, 2010 at 5:41 am
Suzanne McMinn says:
Johanna, our main intention with the sheep is wool (and we have some to sell if anyone is interested! email me!) but we do want lambs, too.
I really appreciate those of you with sheep experience commenting here. Thank you!!
On September 6, 2010 at 6:38 am
I know nothing about sheep…never had any and don’t plan to, but have read this post and all the responses anyway.
I didn’t know the adult males could be so ferocious and weigh so much.
Glad you weren’t hurt any worse….I would be moving him on.
We do that with cows, if one is mean or crazy; they are gone! Same with roosters.
On September 6, 2010 at 6:45 am
rain swazey says:
😕 My favorite expression-“head em off at the pass”!!!–but from our experience with our animals it sure never works like it seemed to for John Wayne/Clint Eastwood either!!! :sheep: Shetlands are the BEST sheep-miss my shetlands more then my little nigerian goats!! But miss them all-hopefully will always be able to control my chickens-but the roosters go to rooster heaven/crock pot!! :sheepjump: :chicken: :chicken: :chicken: :chicken:
On September 6, 2010 at 8:11 am
Well, Suzanne, I don’t have sheep. But if you want to keep Mr. Cotswold, the first thing I would try is carrying a BIG stick and when he comes near you, whack him good with it and whack him everytime he even thinks about getting close to you until figures out who’s the boss. I’m sure it won’t hurt him, but it will get his attention. I would always have a stick in my hand when I went near him. And carry a flashlight and blind him with it.
The thing about animals is they sense fear and take advantage of it. I know it’s hard to hide fear, but you can let him know he’s not the boss….YOU ARE. Good luck!!!
On September 6, 2010 at 10:04 am
I usually don’t comment ‘twice’ but I just want to say, please don’t try to take on your ram with a stick! Rams are programmed to fight–even while playing with other rams it’s all about ‘play fighting’. When you start whacking on them, then they think you are out to fight and wooo-boy what fun. (I learned this the hard way with my first ram–I think I could have broken three legs with that stick and he would have still came after me–I didn’t of course, but I was mad enough to) Remember the photos of the bighorn sheep crashing together? That just gives you an indication of how hard a ram’s head is and how brutal their fight instinct is. If you have a young ramling or one that is not overly aggressive then sometimes water squirted into their eyes can earn respect and clearance–but all bets are off during breeding season. I have Shetlands, so if they show aggressiveness as even a small ram, they are whisked off their feet, plopped on their backs and held immobile for several minutes while I tell them off. This can work on an adult Shetland too, but of course it gets much harder as they are bigger. It is about earning respect and ‘being top ram’, but it won’t happen through whacking them. Mr. Cotswold is way to big for any of this though–and with some rams it never works anyway. One last thing–there is a product called a ‘ram shield’. It is basically a halter with a leather piece that goes across their eyes. They can see out sideways but not to the front. They can still walk/run/eat/breed, but it slows them down when they go to ram. It can make a good short term solution for a mean ram. Tammy
On September 6, 2010 at 11:01 am
Wow, I have learned a lot in this post!! And all my natural instincts would have been WRONG, too. Luckily it will be a while before we have sheep, so I have time to learn. I agree with the majority – time for Mr. C to find a new home. I don’t even know if I would eat him – the evil may somehow transfer thru the meat (j/k!) He is really great looking, but ‘nuts’ is no good!!! Be safe out there! :happypuppy:
On September 6, 2010 at 4:03 pm
Please do listen to Tammy! Your ram is completely normal, unfortunately. The first sheep advice I got was “never trust the ram”. And do not keep a bottle fed ram lamb “whole”, they need to be castrated asap. Rams that have little fear of humans are the most dangerous, keeping them separate is the best solution. But time and $$$$ for a new strong pen (and it needs to be really strong for a 200 pound ram + wether buddies) may not be handy, so until then, you might try keeping a squirt bottle with 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water to give him a pause if he even looks your way. The ram shield sounds pretty good too. You may still want to trade him out for a less tame fellow (that way you can keep some of his daughters in your flock too). But always keep in mind that a ram has a job, it’s just not being your friend!
On September 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm
The only animal on our place that I’m afraid of is THE RAM. He’s rammed me a few times too, though not as hard as Mr. Cotswold got you. I like my friend’s idea – I should sell my ram and take my five ewes to her house in the fall to be bred! She brings her goats to my house for the same purpose – she can’t stand the stick of a buck.
On September 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm
STINK -that’s supposed to be “stink of a buck”. LOL
On September 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm
As a beef farmer, my experience a few years back with a 22-head flock was a learning experience! Lewis, our ram from hell, also felt really good about himself if he could blast a human. I came up with a quick trick that worked for me while in the yard with them for feeding or checking or whatever: put a 3-5 gallon bucket with a bale on it over his head. Lewis still wanted to grind me into the ground, but couldn’t see and was confused. He would stay near me (therefore not shaking off the bucket) until I was done with the girls, then I would just take off the bucket as I escaped.
It is not fun to be blasted by those fellows.
On September 7, 2010 at 9:12 am
Carol Langille says:
Oh my, Suzanne!!! So sorry you had that experience with Mr Cotswald last year. Why in the world didn’t you tell us about it then??
I’ve never been around many sheep and no rams at all but my sister did have a bottle lamb once who, when grown, loved to butt us all on occasion. I decided that little baby lambies were precious and I loved them but great big grown sheep can just take a hike!
On September 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm
This is a late entry into this thread…but the various breeds have various temperaments! Due to the fact that it is just myself and my two daughters on our place, livestock selection is based as often on temperament as it is on conformation. We have nubian dairy goats, Dexter cattle, and Dorper sheep. The one drawback to the Dorpers, if you are wanting wool, is that they are a hair sheep developed strictly for meat. They are a little smaller than some breeds, don’t have to be sheared (around here you almost can’t find anyone to do it anymore), and are very docile in temperament although a bit skittish, and produce fine meat. Our rams have never offered to indulge in such misbehavior. I don’t know any of the other Dorper producers who have had trouble with aggressive rams either…and a number of them have raised some of the more traditional sheep breeds and switched to Dorpers for the reasons mentioned above. If you want to stay in sheep, you might want to look into Dorpers.
On May 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm
Wow, after that attack, the kid gloves would’ve come off and I would have gone Harry Callahan on that punk ram, changed his name to Mutton Head, and then put him in my freezer. :devil: You can get ram straws to impregnate your ewes instead of having to feed and house a murderous ram. I’m just glad you made it out of that scrape alive.
On March 4, 2014 at 11:04 pm