sheep as pets - Dorper sheepWe have talked a lot about the animals we have here at Glencoe Country B&B, and specifically about keeping sheep as pets. All our animals have names and are very spoiled. The goats only have to hear my voice and they come running for treats. There is one group we haven’t talked about much and that is the sheep…the girls. They will come running and try to mug you for the treat bucket.

We currently have three different breeds of sheep: Dorper, Wiltipoll and Hampshire Down.

The two Dorpers came to us at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when the abattoir closed down. They are Roger Ram and his sister. Dorpers are a self-shedding sheep developed in South Africa. They were bred to produce a very hardy, fast maturing sheep meat used for both lamb and mutton. Roger is our current ram and has produced many lambs for us. He is a character and loves a good scratch. He can get naughty, though, and you do need to watch him or he will give you a butt. His sister is just all about the food and it is hard to get her head out of the bucket.

Wiltipoll sheep were developed in Australia from the Wiltshire horn sheep with the infusion of Border Leicester, Poll Dorset, Poll Merino and Perendale. They are also a self-shedding polled sheep. The girls are Abigail, Justine, Lucy and Francis. Although I have had them from lambs, they are a nervous sheep who do not like to be handled very much. They do always come running when there is food on offer, though. They are excellent mothers and we currently have six lambs here. The girls will live out their lives here, but we will not increase our numbers of Wiltipoll sheep because we are going to increase our Hampshire Down numbers.

sheep as pets - Hampshire Down sheepHampshire Downs are part of the old heritage sheep breeds, developed in 1829 becoming officially recognised in 1861. They are a cross of Southdowns with the Old Hampshire, the Wiltshire horn and the Berkshire Nott, which is now extinct. They produce a springy, medium-staple wool, but are bred for fast-maturing prime lambs. They are a strong, reliable breed. They have black faces and legs with a long roman nose. We have Mini, Sophie, Sage, and Rosemary. They are big girls weighing around 80kg, but have a calm temperament and are easy to work with. Mini and Sage love their hips scratched and lean into you to get a good scratch. I wish I had a camera when George the shearer came in December. Rosemary is a very, very big girl and when George had her sitting up to shear her belly, she toppled over taking him with her. We are getting an ‘A-grade’ Hampshire Down Ram for the girls. Gordon Ram will be coming within the next two weeks. He has been hand raised and I have been told, if allowed, will take over the couch – a very friendly boy…which is what we want; we need to be able handle him, as he will be a big boy. Hopefully, he and Roger will be friends. Roger was good friends with another Ram we had for a while, so I hope he will be friends with Gordon, too. We will be hoping for mainly ewe lambs later in the year. Our guests will be invited to pat and cuddle the lambs, so they become friendly and used to being handled – it’s essentially like having sheep as pets.

We have lots of animals here at Glencoe Country B&B, and we’re a pet-friendly guesthouse – so bring your pet when you come and stay with us.

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