Tips for Taming a Sheep

Most people know nothing about taming a sheep and often search for tips for taming a sheep. The sheep is not an animal to become tame like cats and dogs. Due to its ancestral characteristics, it has a fleeing behavior when it senses any threat. This behavior makes it very challenging to do any grooming. Even you cannot deworm them or clean their hoves properly.

Sheep are susceptible animals. They exhibit more stress behavior than goats. Even a small shock can be very lethal for sheep and may cause death. It is also advised that keep your sheep in a flock size of at least two to three. Flock size also protects the sheep from undergoing a shock. By understanding the behavior of the sheep, you can easily tame them. Here are some of the tips that can be beneficial for taming a sheep:

Confine sheep in a small area

A sheep is more sensitive than a goat. Goats show resilience towards humans. But a sheep would not feel comfortable with your touch and may run away. For this, separate the sheep from the main flock and put them in a separate enclosure for 1-2 weeks. By that time, the sheep becomes used to your presence and will not run away or ignore you, which is quite good.

Provide Food to the sheep

This strategy works with almost every sheep. But some sheep don’t fall prone to this. So this strategy can be applied generally but not universally.

Feed the sheep your hand. This is the very first step to get in contact with the sheep. At first, the sheep will ignore you, but the regular offering will make it eat from your hand. Once it starts eating, you should begin to touch and stroke it. By repeating the process, the sheep will get used to your touch.

How to win sheep’s attention?

A great way of winning the sheep’s attention is by offering it some food. Strat feeding by hand and, if comfortable, feed it twice a day or at least one time daily. Food is the way of winning hearts, so apply it. Here are some tips:

  • Fill a bucket with sheep nuts and clatter it to call the sheep. The sheep will learn from this activity. It will help you reach the sheep in the fields and perform any grooming or trimming of feet.
  • If you put food in the bucket to feed the sheep, stay close to it until it finishes off. But make sure the sheep eats from your hand. After eating food, the sheep can have a good Scratching or cuddling session with you.
  • If the sheep are reluctant to eat food from your hand, feed them by the bucket in your hand and continue offering some food by hand occasionally. If they do not eat from the bucket you are holding, place the food on the ground and stay close to them. Continue the same process, and eventually, they will start eating by your hand.
  • Some sheep are very stubborn about eating due to their fleeing instinct. You should confine them in a cage and spend much time while feeding them. This will counter their natural drive.

Get down to the sheep level.

Sit down, kneel and crouch with the sheep. Your sheep will start to come close to you and feel relaxed when getting down to its level. Avoid standing straight close to it until your sheep is comfortable with you.

Avoid sudden actions

Sheep are fleeing animals and get away quickly if they see any sharp or sudden movements. Approach very slowly to the sheep, and if they try to get away, don’t haste towards them. This will make them believe that you are a threat and continue to do the same thing again.

They will accept you as a genuine threat and try to get away every time you approach them. It is necessary to maintain a calm attitude and behavior as taming your sheep will take some time.

It is very unreasonable that some sheep owners want to do the taming as quickly as possible, which is absurd.

Cuddles

Sheep are prone to scratch their front legs, neck, and chin. Approach your sheep with gentle movement. Please don’t make them run away. Once they are pretty comfortable with you, they want to be cuddled. Start by scratching between the front legs, neck, and chin. Once you proceed in this manner, they will not be reluctant to be coddled on their belly or back. Keep a steady speed in doing this. Please don’t be too harsh to scratch or cuddle them. Your touch should be soothing and comforting to the sheep. Once you complete all these steps, the sheep will find you as its relaxing toy and will stand for hours waiting for you to cuddle and scratch it.

Patience

Patience is the key to great victory. The tips for taming a sheep will be useless if you show hastiness. Keep a routine to visit your sheep. Sheep are very different animals. They would take extra time to be tamed compared to dogs and cats. So, you will have to show some extra effort to complete this task.

It is a time-consuming process, but the outcome will be a treat for you in the end. Never lose your hope. Keep trying and trying until you achieve your goal. In the end, it all matters what your efforts were and how you would achieve them. Sheep taming is quite a complex and challenging task to perform. Your calmness is essential for ultimate success.

Give attention to your sheep.

Like dogs, sheep remember faces and have a great memory. Your sheep will be much aware of you, also very much shy towards others. If you sit close to your sheep, they will start gathering around you for scratching, cuddling, and attention. They get half asleep once you start scratching their favorite spots. They really want to relax and chill beside you on a warm sunny day. Sometimes, they start shoving and pawing you if you ignore them.

Despite this, you are not on the field every day for scratching and cuddling them. If you gather them for trimming, they become suspicious and run away. You have to spend quality time with them on a routine basis to rectify all your previous mishaps. Sometimes, you are not able to spend time with them due to holidays or some other urgency. They will not forget your face thoroughly. Instead, you can have their attention back in a couple of days.

Age

Handling a young lamb is way easier than the older sheep. Young lambs are very nervous and jumpy. Their feet are not trim, and their fleece is not shear in the beginning due to their delicate nature. Older sheep are difficult to tame because they have not been in human contact for long and show excellent human touch resistance.

Company

Sheep are a bit confused animals. They follow the flock, think, feed, and also move as a flock. They feel happy in the company of the herd. If you separate the sheep from the flock, it will feel very nervous and may undergo a shock, which will be a loss. Moreover, keep the flock size 2-3; otherwise, it will be difficult for you to manage them.

Tips for Halter drill

Halter training is very much crucial for sheep restraining. If the sheep are not engaging with you, then you may use a sheep halter to get in contact with and restrain them. At first, sheep will not accept the halter and will jump. But after routine training, they become incline to it. Docile sheep take the halter with quite an ease. Sheep halters are available in the market and fit quite easily on every sheep’s head.

Here are some tips for halter taming:

  • Take the first step gently by offering them food. Put the halter gently on the head while keeping the nuts close to them. After putting on the halter, offer them food as a treat. Keep performing the steps regularly until your sheep did not show any unusual behavior.
  • You are offering your sheep food or sheep nuts while putting on the halter.
  • Give a reward to your sheep for every good action, like cuddling, scratching, etc.
  • Keep the lead loose in the beginning. This will help the sheep to feel relaxed.
  • Get down to the level of sheep and give them a fussing experience. It helps your sheep to release the pressure imparted by the halter.

Conclusion

You will find different tips for training a sheep as every person is quite different from others. Every person has his experiences. But some steps are general and can be applied to every sheep. Remember, every sheep is different from others. Taming a sheep requires a lot of hard work and patience. Your bond with the sheep is proof of your ability to manage the whole flock.

References

  • https://patchworksheep.co.uk/taming-training/

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