Sheep are relatively skittish and are easily scared by loud noises, humans, predators, and other animals. Keep your flock calm by creating a quiet, open environment where your sheep can see approaching humans and animals easily, and are protected from predators.
Things that scare sheep
Sheep are prey animals and are on high alert for possible predators. They can interpret strange noises and sudden movements as threats.
Some of the things that commonly scare sheep are:
- Wind: Strong wind cause objects around your farm to make rattling and clanking noises. Securing loose objects can help keep your sheep calm in windy conditions.
- Sudden and loud noises: A strange noise triggers fear in sheep because it could signify something dangerous nearby. Some examples include thunder or a potential predator.
- Farm trucks: Another source of startling noise for sheep is farm equipment. Keep this in mind when designing your sheep barn layout.
- Humans or other animals approaching from the side: When sheep are approached from the side, it startles them. It’s better to approach sheep from the front.
- Isolation: Sheep are social animals, and the flock is a source of strength for them. Without other sheep, they can feel vulnerable and may become scared more easily.
- Sheepdogs: Because sheep assess sheepdogs as possible predators, they are an effective way to control a flock.
How do you calm a scared sheep?
If there is an obvious trigger, like a loud noise, stop the noise or move the sheep farther away from the trigger.
If humans or other animals are disturbing the sheep, give them space. If one sheep is acting afraid because it’s isolated, put it with the rest of the flock.
You’ll know when sheep are scared because they’ll lower their head and ears. They may run away when approached, or create distance. They may refuse gestures of affection and can be withdrawn if isolated for too long.
How to create an environment that keeps your sheep calm
Environmental modification is one of the most effective means to keep the sheep or ewe calm. Below are some of the changes you can make to accommodate your sheep better and reduce fear for the entire flock:
- Reduce loud noises and disturbances by dealing with the root cause. If it’s something within your sheep farm, consider quieter alternatives.
- Protect your flock of sheep from predators. Using electric fencing or natural barriers, such as trees and large rocks, you can keep predators away from your flock.
- Create an environment where your sheep can easily see everything around them. This way, they are less likely to be surprised by someone or something approaching.
- Ensure your sheep have enough room to move around safely. If there isn’t enough space, your sheep may feel trapped. Their survival instincts will lead to them becoming anxious.