Yes, sheep are occasionally killed by horses, particularly stallions, who appear to view the sheep as toys. Sheep that try to consume some of the horse’s feed will be attacked by certain horses.
Do horses get along with sheep?
Horses and sheep, in general, get along well once they’ve had some time to get to know one another. Horses are fight-or-flight animals, and if a sheep is introduced too soon, it may be perceived as a threat and attacked. Many horse and sheep owners remark that if introduced properly, they get along swimmingly.
Before you buy a horse and a flock of sheep and keep them together, make sure you understand their unique health and care needs, as well as some added safety considerations regarding keeping horses and sheep together.
Before you keep horses and sheep together, there are a few things you should know
Sheep Might Be Able to Escape Your Normal Horse Fences
If you want to buy a sheep to keep as a buddy for your horse, you’ll need to make sure you have enough fencing to keep them contained. Because of the size disparity between horses and sheep, a fence that keeps horses contained may not be enough to keep sheep contained.
Adding mesh or something similar to your current horse fences to fill in the holes that may otherwise serve as an escape route for sheep is a reasonably simple remedy. Even if you believe your fencing is in good shape, keep a watch on your sheep during the first several weeks. Sheep, like goats, are notorious for fleeing, so you should always be prepared to rescue them if necessary before they cause any harm.
Horses Can Be Afraid of Sheep So Use Caution
If you own horses, you’re probably well aware of how simple it is to terrify them. Plastic bags, strange shadows, or foreign sounds can all be used to communicate with them. Horses who are scared are a hazard to themselves and any other animals in the area. When they’re scared, they’re more likely to act rashly. Whether it’s running directly into a fence and harming themselves (as one of my horses did), or attacking whatever is scaring them.
While the majority of horse owners say that their horses and sheep get along nicely in the long term, the way you introduce your horse to sheep for the first time is crucial. Horses have been known to attack and even kill sheep, so here are a few pointers on how to introduce them safely.
- Begin slowly. With a fence between them, introduce the animals to each other.
- Allow your horse to get a whiff of the sheep on the opposite side of the fence.
- Before putting your horse and sheep in an open area together, keep bringing them into each other’s presence until they both feel at ease.
Once you’ve successfully united your horse and sheep in an open area, keep an eye on them for the next few weeks to make sure there aren’t any problems. If you’re giving your sheep or horse supplements or grains, keep them separated from each other to avoid fights.
Parasites and Diseases in Horses and Sheep
One of the most crucial things to examine before mixing any sort of livestock is whether the animals are known to induce sickness or diseases in each other, or if their parasites may be transferred between species.
Horses and sheep, however, do not have the same parasites. The good news is that the majority of diseases are animal-specific, and those that aren’t are quite infrequent. However, because I am not a certified veterinarian, do not consider my advice to be definitive. If you have any concerns about your animals’ health, always consult a veterinarian!
Horse’s Food Can Be Toxic For Sheep
Before combining sheep and horses, keep in mind that horse feed, treats, and other horse consumables can be extremely harmful to sheep since they typically contain copper. Furthermore, sheep feed may contain compounds that are hazardous to horses.
When you’re feeding your horses or sheep something special, keep them segregated from each other. Fully grown sheep will be comfortable on high-quality horse hay, but the grass should be their only source of nutrition. Make sure your food is stored in secure containers that your animals cannot easily get.
Any inquiries you have about your animals’ health should always be directed to your veterinarian or another certified health practitioner. Never disregard medical advice or put off obtaining it because of something you read on this or another website.
Benefits of Keeping Horses and Sheep Together
Horse and sheep diets can be beneficial to your land
It might be difficult to keep a large piece of property in good condition if you own a lot of it. The fact that keeping horses and sheep together enhances their pastures is something that many people appreciate.
Sheep, on the other hand, are less finicky than horses and prefer grass and hay. They’ll consume most of the weeds and other plants that horses dislike, resulting in fields that are both healthy and attractive.
Companion Sheep Are Less Expensive Than Owning Another Horse
You’ve probably heard that keeping a horse by itself is a bad idea. This is because horses are highly gregarious herd animals. It goes against their nature to confine them to a life of solitude, and it can lower their quality of life.
Owning a sheep, on the other hand, can be a less expensive method to give a good companion for your horse if two horses aren’t in your budget. While they still need to be cared for daily, owning a sheep is often less expensive than owning a second horse.
To summarize, horses and sheep or goats usually get along well in the same paddock, which helps to keep the paddock from becoming weedy and unappealing (sheep and goats have different preferences than horses), but some horses just do not enjoy sharing.