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Author Topic: Sheep....and bees.  (Read 2739 times)

Offline Beekissed

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Sheep....and bees.
« on: March 15, 2010, 01:48:16 AM »
I am starting a small flock of hair sheep, of which I currently own two ewes.  They do such an admirable job of keeping my yard and orchard trimmed to perfection.  I intend to keep my top bar hives in their pasture as well and I'm thinking that the bees won't bother them too much when these gals graze next to the hives.

Anyone have any experience with this?  I know their wool/hair will prevent most stings....but I still don't want a mad stampede through fences if the gals get zinged while trimming around the hives.   :-\
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Offline Natalie

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Re: Sheep....and bees.
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2010, 12:23:54 PM »
My sheep does not bother the hives but I have a pygmy goat that had taken to standing on top of my topbar hives over the winter.
I haven't seen her do it since the bees became active so I don't know if she senses that or not.
I have hair sheep as well, although they have a thick coat in the winter when they shed I would think they could still feel a sting.
I don't think the bees will go after them just for grazing near the hives but they can be sensitive to smells which will set them off.
Sometimes when you inspect the hive alot of bees will stay in the air and be more protective of their area for a while.
Even when they go back in the hive the guards will shoot out when they sense you near the hive.
I would keep the animals out of the pasture on the days you inspect.
Even the nicest bees can have a bad day, especially during a dearth, they will be on edge and more prone to stinging you just for being near their hives.
It may best to put an enclosure around the hives just to keep it from getting kicked over.

Offline thomashton

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Re: Sheep....and bees.
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2010, 01:32:00 PM »
I have had three goats pastured with two hives and never had a problem. Part of the reason could be though that the hives sit on stands 18" above the ground though.
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Sheep....and bees.
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2010, 11:14:11 PM »
Do you have the Souy Sheep?  That's the  hair type of sheep that I'd like to get.  Right now I have french sheep: A Cheviot, and another breed that starts with a ch but I have a mental block on recalling the name.  The ram is the Cheviot (retired 4H project) and the other is the ewe.  When I got her last fall she was still to young to breed but I just might end up with a summer lamb as I'm still in the process of building the separate paddock for  the ram and billy.
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Offline Beekissed

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Re: Sheep....and bees.
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2010, 04:22:21 AM »
I would love to find a Soay in my area, but no, I don't have any.  I have St. Croix/Katahdin cross ewes and will be buying a black Dorper ram at the end of this month.  Possible will be adding a Barbados/St. Croix ewe to the bunch as well. 

As you can tell, I like diversity and colorful animals!   :)  It would make my day to add a Soay to the flock! 

I don't worry much about these gals knocking over or climbing on the hives as they will be TBHs and will be pretty stable and heavy.  These sheep have been a joy to have around....minimal effort to manage them, easy to contain, easy keepers. 

I like livestock that are hardy and easy keepers.  I guess that is why I am gravitating towards the TBHs and a natural style of beekeeping.  I like to let nature sort 'em out, for the most part.  What I have left is the hardiest, most thrifty stock~be it chickens, sheep or bees.  That suits me just fine!   8-)
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Offline bulldog

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Re: Sheep....and bees.
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2010, 10:28:00 AM »
just curious, do you have to protect your fruit trees, do sheep eat the bark off the trees ?
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Offline WALTC

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Re: Sheep....and bees.
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2010, 04:32:47 PM »
I have dopers that graze in the same pasture that my bees reside, but I keep a little fence around my hives just to make sure we don't have an accident.  So far I haven't seen any distress on the part of sheep or bees.

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Sheep....and bees.
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2010, 09:44:29 PM »
just curious, do you have to protect your fruit trees, do sheep eat the bark off the trees ?

The sheep don't but the goats sure do.  A simple fix is to wrap the tree trunk with 1 or 2 inch mesh chicken wire, wrap it tight to the trunk, a few split lips from trying to eat the bark and they get the idea.  I also have my bee yard fenced off from the rest of the orchard as most grazing animals will use the hives for scratching posts and goats love to jump on top of them. 
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Offline Beekissed

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Re: Sheep....and bees.
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2010, 10:07:51 PM »
My sheep didn't bother my apple trees until a visiting ram decided to start stripping the bark...I had to protect my trees after that.  Now that he is gone my girls have went back to NOT eating the trees.  They just joined in the fun while their boyfriend was here.

The sheep, BTW, have learned to avoid the hive!  LOL  One of them bedded down beside the hive and pretty soon she started flinching and jerking....then she leaped to her feet and ran!  So funny and they haven't tried bedding down by the bees since then. 
"...he maketh me to lie down in green pastures..."