Keeping bucks and rams together, is it a good idea? Do you have or want a menagerie of homestead animals, but are not sure if you can house them together? What we do and don’t do, or would and wouldn’t do when keeping our male sheep and goats together.
Many people (mostly in production agriculture) think you should not be keeping sheep and goats together. And even more specifically you shouldn’t be keeping bucks and rams together.
And this is for a few good reasons
1. head-butters can injure each other.
2. Goats can breed with sheep what they make is called a geep its rare, they usually don’t survive but it can happen.
3. Minerals that a goat needs (like copper) can be fatal to a sheep.
But… let’s be honest a homestead is a unique thing.
Homesteaders are often trying to make as much work as possible on a smaller space. Most homesteaders don’t have hundreds of acres.
No, we need more to be done efficiently in smaller spaces, pastures, and pens.
Keeping bucks and rams together
If you have a homestead and you are much like us have a variety, you may be trying to figure out who you can and can’t keep together.
You can’t keep your bucks or rams with breeding ewes or does, especially when you don’t want them breeding.
But you may not want to or have space to keep all breeding males in their own pens separately.
Not to mention breeding males of all kinds can be difficult to control when they want to get to the ladies right?
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When to separate bucks from rams
When is it best to separate the two?
Drawing the line at safety is best.
That being said you know your animals and the combination of what you have better than anyone.
Maybe you have very intense head-butters then maybe separate is best.
Maybe you have more docile guys.
Maybe they are evenly matched and both have horns, or alternatively, both don’t have horns.
Watching and knowing your animals is always the best best.
How we keep our bucks with the rams
We have a unique situation and this is where you must really know your animals.
We have two Nubian bucks and two Teeswater rams. The rams are polled and have no horns, whereas our older Nubian Buck is disbudded or (dehorned).
However, our younger Nubian Buck has beautiful horns just as Mother nature intended.
The concern is that the buck will get to head butting with the rams. Horn vs no horns can be dangerous.
Our young buck however is quite the gentle guy. He spent his first 8 months of life with dogs only, so he kinda thinks he is a dog, he never head butts anything. Basically, this guy is a lover and not a fighter.
If everything was polled or disbudded I wouldn’t worry too much. Or if everyone had horns I’d likely feel the same.
However, with a mixed batch of horns and no horns, we get away with this by knowing the temperaments of all the boys.
Teeswater is a pretty gentle type of sheep, and our Nubians also happen to be very docile (however not all are).
Can you keep bucks and rams together? Absolutely! Can it be done in every situation? To that, I say no. In a case-by-case situation, it can be a great housing solution to be keeping bucks and rams together. Knowing the behavior of your animals is really the recipe for success.
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Beth is a mother of 6 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.