Barbados sheep?

henhilton(8)December 20, 2008

We are contemplating getting some Barbados sheep, but will need to construct a fence to keep them away from the house. Does anybody have any advice about whether a cattle guard across the driveway would safely contain them, or will we have to install a gate?

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oberhasli1

I would guess you would need a gate. I know sheep can jump and would hop over a cattle guard. I have goats and they can jump and would have no qualms about leaping over a guard if there was anything interesting on the other side.

Bonnie

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 11:07AM
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thinknpink

Sheep can jump while young, but they really are not a smart animal at all. I would think they might get hurt on a cattle guard. I would use a gate. New(ish) to sheep also. I have St. Croix pure breed. Why Barbados?? Just asking?? Zone 8 also.

thinknpink

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 3:03PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Barbados are fairly smart.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 4:58PM
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henhilton(8)

A friend of mine has a herd of Barbados and will let me have a few (delivered, even) to get me started on the cheap. He's willing to throw in a "spare" donkey he has, as well.

Barbados are hair sheep. Easier to keep in my hot climate, since I'm not interested in messing with the wool. And, the meat is much leaner than the standard wool sheep.

Actually, in the last few days my friend's sheep have managed to get from their pasture to one of his cattle pastures, which has only a cattle guard across the road. He said he'll let me know if the guard stops them or not, since he has other things concerning him right now and no time to immediately fix the multiple places they are getting under the fence (water crossings that are bone dry).

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 6:34PM
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ewesfullchicks

I've been raising sheep for approx. 12 years now, but have only had Barbados for a year or so. They are a particularly "flighty" breed of sheep, so a stout fences/gates are a must, NOT a cattle-guard.

The plus side is...they are a hair sheep - no shearing, they are VERY prolific, and they are reasonably resistant to parasites (VERY important in the gulf coast area). Mine have been easy lambers and good mothers.

The down side is....they are very nervous, so can be difficult to catch to worm, and DO need good fencing, but NOT nearly as bad as I'd anticipated. They're also rather small, so don't grow out for meat as well as other breeds.

Overall, however, I've been pleased with mine, and I think they're a good addition. Particularly, as they're crossed with a Katahdin or Dorper male, which tends to increase the size of the off-spring.

Enjoy!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 8:49PM
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henhilton(8)

Thanks for the response, ewesfullchicks! I've been reading up on sheep in general and Barbados in particular. (I always try to educate myself well before setting my heart on acquiring any new type of critter.)

I thought that what with being bred to live in a hot climate, and the much lower parasite load they host, they sounded like a good choice. My friend seems very happy with his, but he mainly just uses them as a pasture clean-up crew between his cattle rotations. Says they are much less trouble than goats (and I like lamb much better than goat meat, anyhow!)

Somebody else I talked to mentioned using a ram of a different breed because he felt their meat is too lean. And you say yours are easy lambers, even with the larger off-spring? I'm going to go look up those breeds you just mentioned.

I am a bit worried about your comment that they are flighty. My friend's sheep have seemed pretty calm whenever I've gone into the herd. Very friendly and curious. We have very stout fencing around here - to keep our big dogs on our own property - hog wire with 2 strands of barbed wire on top. I'm hoping the dogs won't completely freak the sheep out while we're training the canines to become accustomed to them. (The dogs will be on the other side of the fence.) I was toying with the idea of taking about 4 or 5 ewes who are experienced mothers and already bred. Maybe not such a good idea if getting upset could cause them to abort? Maybe let them get used to the dogs first?

Any and all first-hand experience is greatly appreciated! The way our friend keeps his herd is not really very comparable to the way we would be keeping them.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 12:47AM
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henhilton(8)

We're moving along on Project Sheep. None of my neighbor's sheep crossed the cattle guard while in that pasture, but we have decided to just use gates, anyhow. Better safe than sorry. We're starting on the fencing this weekend. I have told my friend I'll be happy to take any "orphans," of which he has already had several this winter. He already gave those to a neighbor boy, but if he comes up with more (he doesn't care to mess with them, himself)I figure having a couple of lambs growing up in the barn will help keep us motivated! Hub and I have a bad habit of dragging projects out sometimes, and I want that sheep shed to get built!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 4:30PM
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lisasurfgirl_gmail_com

Hi. I would like them. I have a great home if they are still available.
Thanks. Lisa

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 4:42PM
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tracydr(9b)

Very good breed if you want to do herding or have herding trials. Very heat tolerant. Nice breed.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 6:56PM
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