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Sheep

 

What behaviors should we consider for sheep?
Sheep are prey animals and have a flight response. Therefore move quietly and slowly around them.  They are a herd animal and move in a “wave” or “flow” pattern away from point of threat.  To move a large number of sheep,  move them down alleyways, making sure all gates are closed so that the animals cannot escape.  Sheep tend to crowd away from approaching humans in a confined area, which creates a risk of crushing and suffocation of sheep when trapped against objects.  Sheep will panic if separated from the flock, and may leap into solid objects (fence, wall, you) in an effort to escape.  Rams can be aggressive. Use caution and never turn your back on them. 

moving sheep
Sheep herd showing classic wave pattern away from dog

What environmental conditions should we consider for sheep?
Keep sheep calm as they can overheat and suffer from  heat stress.  Provide good ventilation, clean bedding, and fresh water and food.

sheep with fan Fans increase sheep comfort

What is the proper way to hold or restrain a sheep?
Most sheep at  shows have been halter broke and taught to lead.  If they are not haltered; crowd the animal against a wall. Place one hand  under the chin and one at the base of the tail.  The tail can be used as a “go button” and  by lifting the chin the animal will stop.  One can also lead an  animal with one hand under the chin and the other hand placed behind the ears. Lift the chin to stop, and place your body in front of them to prevent forward movement. 

sheep jumping
Sheep "out of control "

What should we look for to identify a sick sheep?
Observe the sheep in the trailer looking for panting, droopy ears, and overall dullness suggestive of heat stress.  A lot of show animals have blankets on them; have the exhibitor remove the blanket  for a proper examination.  Check the face; lips, mouth, nose, eyes, and ears for any lesions, discharge or abnormalities.   Run your hands across the animal, checking for any lumps and or abscesses.  Part the wool in various places looking for parasites and fungus.  Run your hands down each leg checking for heat, swelling, lesions or abscesses.  Check  for diarrhea and the genitalia for swelling, discharge or abnormalities.  Change your gloves or wash your hands before moving onto another group of commingled animals.

check sheeps mouth
Examine mouth to check for abnormalities

Uloading sheep for vet check
Unloading healthy sheep
Sheep fitting for show
Fitting for show
comfortable sheep
Comfort with fans
Sheep wearing blankets
Blankets to keep clean