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Do sheep and goats get along? Expand / Collapse
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Posted 7/27/2010 7:23:47 PM
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We have a small "special needs" misfit farm and have recently gotten a blind 4 month old goat.  She's simply adorable, but totally defenseless.  She's bonded with us immensely and now cries whenever we're not with her.  We put her with a horse who she ran into and it promptly kicked her unconscious.  We tried her with three different goats, a baby, a sweet nanny, and even a three-legged goat.  All "blindsided" her and beat her up.  So....she's by herself, except when she's with us.  Our dogs love her and so do the cats, but they're coyote bait at night and stay in the house.  She's safe in her little garage, but she's sooo lonely.   We can't have any poultry because my husband has histoplasmosis.  Does anyone know if a lamb would be aggressive, or any other animal that might befriend a confused, blind, helpless goat?  Thank you for any help!
Post #21566
Posted 7/28/2010 5:01:18 AM


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I keep sheep and goats together some of the time, and they can get along, but I am not sure that you wouldn't have the same problem with a lamb as you did with another kid. In the herd, sheep and goats establish a "peck order" - they do this in a variety of ways, that includes by butting one another, but also, I think, just by body language and the way they look at each other. For example - yesterday I put my sheep and goats in a field together for the first time in a few months...The does immediately went up to the older ewes and faced them off: i.e. looked them in the eye, then went head to head, heads down. The other thing my does do is stick their ears out like airplane wings, heads down and stand up on their hind legs in challenge. My sheep usually just back down to them! This doesn't go on for long in my herd any more, because they all seem to pretty much know their place by now...but...I got to thinking about it. If your kid is blind she can't see the displays and know how to show her submission...has she always been blind? Has she been raised with a herd? Animals need to learn the rules of the herd from other animals to be able to fit in with them. I have a dairy heifer that we raised from 6 weeks old with our goats, sheep, donkey and pony. When she had to be bred, she had to go live with a cow herd (and the bull!) for a month and the poor dear had a hard time and got beat up on even by smaller heifers because she didn't really know she was a cow and how to act around other cows!
How long did you leave your kid with the other goats? If she's not getting seriously hurt, it may be that you need to let her work out how to show she knows her place with another goat (she will always be bottom rung, I am guessing). Or what about getting a livestock guardian dog to take care of her? (seeing eye dog?) Seriously, if you have a coyote problem anyway, a Great Pyrenees might be a good addition to your mini farm...they can have their issues, but I love mine and think she's totally worth it. If you can find a pup to raise with her, I imagine they'd be inseparable...
The only other thing I have to say about sheep and goats together - goats need a lot more copper in their diet than sheep and need a different mineral at least some of the time (copper at the level goats need is toxic to sheep). Although I sometimes let me sheep and goats graze together, I tend to separate them now the majority of the time so the goats can get the mineral they need without poisoning my sheep!

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Goats and sheep and chickens and turkeys, a cow, a duck, a pony, a donkey, three dogs, too many cats, a rabbit, a hamster, a small boy, my husband and me on a small farm in middle Tennessee...
Post #21570
Posted 7/28/2010 9:51:31 AM
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Thank you for all your advice.  I'm glad to know about the differences of feed for goats/sheep, so we won't be getting a lamb.  I never thought about it that she doesn't know submission stances.  We got her as a 3-month-old.  She was with her mamma and a couple other goats, but that's why the owners gave her to us - she was getting chronically beat up.  We do have a large "guard" dog who looks after everyone on our farm during the day, and she does like the goat, but our amazing watchdog sleeps at the foot of our bed at night since our critters are safe in barns.  We actually had a Pyr here for a couple days as a pound rescue, but Macy (our big dog) hated her and it didn't work out since Macy insisted that she's the only big dog we need.  I know Cookie (the blind goat) will be bottom rung, but it's heartbreaking.  I like the pup idea though.  As I mentioned, we can't have poultry.  Even a mini of some sort would probably dominate her and get peeved if Cookie accidently ran into it.  We already have four dogs...but I do like the idea of having a pup being raised with her.  We're bit of softies here; are there any medium size dogs that are hardy enough to stand Illinois winters in a barn?  Thank you again for helping us avoid the lamb blunder!
Post #21578
Posted 7/28/2010 1:47:49 PM


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I don't know about a medium sized dog that is also a livestock guardian...I'd recommend a great pyrenees or anatolian shepherd (and as you know, they aren't small!). Did you say your big "watch" dog is female? Our female pyrenees does NOT like our big indoor female dog - but tolerates the male just fine. Was the pyrenees you had the same sex as your watch dog? That might be the trouble...and/or if you got a pyr pup maybe you wouldn't have the issues you did with the adult one. I'd be very careful with a non-Livestock Guardian Dog breed as a companion.
As far as tolerating winters is concerned my pyr is by far the happiest in the winter. I tried to get her to sleep in the barn when it was 15 degrees F outside last winter and she was having none of it - insisted on sleeping in the middle of the dry lot next to the round bale of hay. They grow such thick coats that the cold doesn't seem to bother them. I actually worry more about her in the hot Tennessee summers!




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Goats and sheep and chickens and turkeys, a cow, a duck, a pony, a donkey, three dogs, too many cats, a rabbit, a hamster, a small boy, my husband and me on a small farm in middle Tennessee...
Post #21583
Posted 7/28/2010 3:32:34 PM


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Pretty much any goat/sheep you put her with will be trying to establish dominance to start with.  Its natural, but will be very hard for her with her problems. 

My advice would be to get a bottle-baby goat to raise with her. One that is a month old or younger.  Being so young, it will respect her for her size alone to start with, and by the time its bigger, they will be bonded.  Even if it tries to establish dominance to start with, it won't hurt her, being small.

They can grow up together and they should pal around quite nicely.  Of course if its a buck it will need wethered right away.

I concur with not getting a sheep due to the mineral problem.

Emily Dixon
Ozark Jewels
Nubians and Lamanchas
www.ozarkjewels.net

Morningland Dairy Raw Milk Cheeses.
www.morninglanddairy.com

Post #21595
Posted 7/28/2010 8:49:49 PM
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It sounds like a good thing you have for the misfits. Sheep and goats are perfect together. We have a Boer buck and a Dorper ram that have a really strong bond and they love doing everything together. They're in a pasture together with the girls of their species and we've seen them help each other 'flirt' with the girls. I'd say deffidently get your little blind goat a buddy lamb.

There are two types of people:Those who can walk away from the farm and those who cannot. Those who can walk away should not walk but run to a much easier lifestyle.
Post #21602
Posted 7/29/2010 6:18:20 PM
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Thank you all for your replies and helpful advice!  Macy is a female rott/shepherd pound dog that mothers all of our critters.  She's amazing, but we've not had any luck with her welcoming any larger dog.  We have a chihuahua and maltese who were puppy mill rescues and they get along great with her, but she's definitely pack leader of the farm.  We also have a poor old (16+) blind, deaf, senile, barely walking, little dog (left on the doorstep New Year's Eve in our Illinois winter two years ago), but the whole crew just ignore her if she happens to toddle in front of them.  That's why we're reluctant to take on another dog, especially a big one, at this time.  We also have four cats, each with their own deformity and/or lack of brains, but they aren't sure about the goat either.  Then there's the foundered mare with a chronic bad attitude (that kicked the goat), the ancient gelding with a head injury, and the retired racehorse with her own issues.  They all have each other, so Cookie the goat is out of luck there too.  We tried a bottle baby goat our neighbor had, but it was all over Cookie and she was scared to death.  Does anyone know if we had her bred to a tiny Pygmy, would the baby eventually try to dominate her as well?  The lamb idea might work if we fed them separately - but this late in the year, I'm not even sure where to find a tiny lamb.  Anyone out there have another blind goat or sheep they want to sell?! :)  Thank you again everyone - happy farming!
Post #21631
Posted 7/30/2010 6:50:48 AM


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Just like when I introduce any new goat, I would let them(blind goat and small bottle baby) live in the same area for a week, but separated by a panel.  Something they can smell, feel and taste each other through, but it still separates them.  Usually they end up sleeping/chewing cud next to each other through the panel, just for the comfort of another live being.

This allows them to get to know each other, but with boundaries.  Then when you put them together, they will still have an adjustment period, but it won't be nearly as bad.  Even another blind animal will need an adjustment period.

Emily Dixon
Ozark Jewels
Nubians and Lamanchas
www.ozarkjewels.net

Morningland Dairy Raw Milk Cheeses.
www.morninglanddairy.com

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