DreamWeaver Sheep

Registered Olde English Babydoll Sheep and Fine Wool  Fleece

​Useful Solutions


I am not a tall person so keeping a sheep quiet while I trimming it's feet or checking the underside is difficult.   I purchased a Deck Chair (called a Sheep Chair by some) to help me with these chores.  It is a tubular rectangular frame with netting that is adjusted to the size of the sheep.  It has 'legs' which keep it several inches off the ground and 'handles' used to hold it up against a fence and which are then used to tip the sheep out of the chair when the work is done.  The sheep is backed up and flipped into the chair.  Once they are in the chair their ability to move is limited..even for my largest ram.  I can quickly trim feet and check them out.  I put a piece of canvas in the bottom half of the chair so that their feet and tails don't get caught in the netting when loading or unloading.  


I  use good quality pony nippers and a hoof pick to trim feet.  The hoof pick I use to pull all dirt out of the hoof so I can clearly see the length of the toe.   It is easy to get one edge of the pony nippers under the long side of the hoof and to bring them up even with the pad to trim. The nippers don't require as much hand strength as the traditional foot trimmers which gives me more control. 


Thrifty Ideas


​Like many people we are trying to establish a flock of sheep composed of solid breeding stock on a budget. I am fortunate in that my husband is very handy with designing cost effective solutions.


1.  Sheep feeders

  •  Made from six-foot long  wooden deck railings.  My husband used these to build a feeder on one side of the sheep shed.  They are placed at an angle so I can load hay from the top.  He built a small tray out of wood under the feeder so I can feed supplements with the hay.  We put a thin piece of plywood about half-way down the inside of the railings to to prevent the sheep from pulling hay all over each other and on the ground.  There is enough room at the bottom to allow them to pull mouthfuls of hay. 


2.  Ewe and lamb collars.

  • Until the lambs were scrapie-tagged I used some collars I made to quickly identify mom and baby(ies).   Nylon webbing  in various colors,  plastic buckles ( which are 1/4" wider than the webbing, fabric glue. (all Items are available on Ebay).  For the mom's collars I used an old medium size dog collar to gauge the length need (don't forget to include several extra inches for the buckles and adjustments).  For the lamb collars I measured the necks of the  largest and smallest lamb using pieces of string then I added several inches to accommodate the buckles and to anticipate growing lambs. For each collar, after I cut the nylon to length,  I folded over  each end  1/4"  and glued it down to prevent raveling.  I then assembled the collars using the dog collar as the pattern.  I did have a tendency to reverse the snap and buckle. To resolve that I closed the snap and buckle and attached the nylon.  I created combinations based on mom's and baby or babies.  There is lots of extra nylon so if next year I need a few more lamb collars it will be no problem matching them to a set I already have.  


3.  Creep Feeders/Pickup Bed Pen

  • ​ Creep Feeders:  3  six-foot long deck railings ($32.00 at Home Depot or Lowes). He cut one deck railing in half (creating two 3-foot sections)  He hinged each 3 foot section to a 6 foot section.  He had left over garage door hinges that he used.   We placed each creep feeder in a corner of the sheep shed.  We tested with the lambs and took out one rail on the corner.  The feeders were handy on vaccination and tagging days.  Once the lambs went into the creep feeders for their morning rations I blocked the exit with a piece of plywood.    The rails are low enough to allow me to to pick up and carry  a lamb to be worked on, leaving the others safely contained. 

 

  • Pickup Bed Pen:  The two feeders can also be used to create a pen in a pick-up truck.  My husband used both feeders to create a rectangle pen. Using metal braces he bolted the pen to a 3/4" piece of plywood in the truck bed.  We tied the 2 sections  together (top, middle, and bottom) leaving one 3-foot side so it could open as a gate.  He fashioned a top using an old gate and wire tied it over the pen.   Once the sheep were loaded we tied the gate shut.  The sheep were comfortable as the sides of the pick-up protected them but air flowed freely.  Once on the road they laid down until we reached our destination. 


4. Portable Field Shelters 

          16 foot long wire horse panel (60" high), Two - 12 foot 2x6,  Two -five foot 2x6.

          Two -  1/2 inch pipe, 5.5 feet long.

          10 -  3/4 inch pipe brackets 

          Build a frame 12 long by 5 feet wide. (Reinforce the corners on the outside so that it will hold up to being move). 

          On the inside of each 5 feet wide board, attach the pipe brackets with wood screws, spacing them so that the square of a horse panel will go over them. 

           Drill a 3/4 inch hole at the end of the long side of the frame.  This hole is to slide the pipe through so it must line up with the holes in the pipe brackets. 

          Place the short end of the horse panel along the short side of the frame, lining it up so that the pipe brackets fall between the squares.  Slide the pipe in

          through each bracket. (The horse panel will be next to the wood.  The pipe will be in front of the horse panel.). 

           Bend the horse panel fitting the other end into the frame linking it up and inserting the pipe as instructed above. 

           Attach a tarp over the horse panel to keep out rain and too much sun. 

           If you are in an area of high winds a Y brace can be added in the middle of each side to the top of the panel to prevent the wind from shifting the top.