Wild & Crazy Lambs

We purchased the 2 ewe lambs in the end of July when they were about 4 months old. The couple we purchased them from were quite elderly and the husband was very frail and had obviously had health problems.  It was pretty evident that the lamb flock was not handled a lot when we looked at and purchased them.

For several months we have worked with the lambs trying to calm them and get them acclimated to us touching them.  We haven’t had a lot of success, they would bolt past us daily as we let them out of the barn.  We would go into their pen and touch them, but instead of getting used to us they crowded themselves in the corner tucking their heads down pretending like they were not there.

In October one evening we were getting ready to put everyone away for the evening.  When we let the lambs in they went the wrong way, then panicked & began jumping around.  One of them hit the water spigot & broke the PVC piping completely off so that the water was spraying upwards in a geyser.  Mike dashed to the house to shut off the water.  This was the impetus for us to try to get these crazy lambs more calm.  We decided that we needed to do something because they will be very large animals, and thus dangerous to us if they remained so feral and always scared of us. Plus how we we ever trim hooves or deworm or shear them when we couldn’t even get close enough to touch them?

We thus started putting a head halter on them every morning & evening and we calmly walked…ok the first week or so dragged…out of the barn & to the pasture or wherever we wanted them to be. The first couple of weeks it was like having a 170 pound fish on the line.  They bucked, jumped and flailed around.  We just held on tight and short leashed them as much as possible until they calmed down, and then we would begin walking slowly.  We are amazed that after about 2 months of this, they are significantly calmer.  They are now even letting us touch them without freaking out.  A couple of times in the past 2 weeks they were in their pen & I went in to give them grain & I had to gently push them out of the way so i could put the grain in the feeder.  We feel successful in this training experiment.