View Full Version : HELP : Colt eating sheep!

09-01-07, 08:44 PM
Hello all!

I have a problem.

My colt is killing and eating our sheep.
My partner has caught him pawing a sheep, so he yelled out at him. Tibalts response was to pik up the sheep in his teeth and run off, he then threw it.

We have found a couple more mauled sheep, and I found him with lots of blood on his muzzle the other day.
Today I actually saw him tearing up a dead sheep and eating it.


What the heck! does anyone know why he is doing this?

Thanks everyone!

10-01-07, 12:22 AM
Just for fun. For heaven's sake remove him from sheep. Horses re more likely to kill sheep than live with them.

10-01-07, 01:06 AM
Yep, just for the sake of it.

Please tell us after seeing him in the act you have taken him away from the poor sheep to protect them, after letting it go on from reading your post for couple days you would hope it registered that hes attacking them.

10-01-07, 01:29 AM
Ok, thanks for you really useful advice guys.

Yep. I would have thought it was obvious too - IT WAS.

and it is a problem, that is why I am asking for advice.

I live on a rural property in the wheatbelt where the usual fencing is electric, keeps horses, cows and sheep where they should be - generally.

We have extaordinary sheep - they wont stay where they should be.

Maybe I should ask - How do you keep sheep on one side of an electric fence, when it is working strongly enough to zap a cow, but wont keep the sheep in.

Of course I'm working on that.
It's not very common for horses to attack sheep at all. That's why i'm asking.

10-01-07, 01:33 AM
Remove him from all the other animals. He's too rough in his games. Have him gelded asap, if you can see his canines (fighting tearing teeth that mainly only mature male horses have) have them filed.

10-01-07, 01:41 AM
what type of fencing have you got? how many strands of electric?
He is obviously feeling threatend and he is protecting his domain, I must admit I have never heard of a horse attacking sheep before and seems so violent.
I have seen a stallion kill a dog before,(he was been attacked) but never in my life have I seen a stallion/colt kill another animal before. Very unusual behaviour.

The only thing I can suggest is removing him from that particular paddock, ASAP, where the sheep can get through, until you can do something to reinforce the existing fence.

10-01-07, 01:51 AM
It is actually very common, and seems to be very popular amongst geldings from my own experience. It's just a form of amusement...not much you can do other than keep them seperated. I actually have three horses on the property atm who I suspect would do the same...one a gelding (who already has a track record of a dog, cat and several chickens), a filly, and possibly the stallion (although I suspect he'd be more likely to ignore them...but you never know).

Re the electric...it's not an effective fencing for sheep as their wool acts as an insulator. You need to use ringlock.


"A ship in the harbour is safe...but that is not what ships are built for."

10-01-07, 01:53 AM
Its 4 strand off a panther 120000 unit on a 100 acre property, I chucks out enough zap for cattle.

We've got one of those remote meters to test your fencing and It works fine.

Apart from this, this colt is a dream. He doesnt attack other animals, or horses, is great to handle.

He hasn't actually got his canines yet. Just effective baby nippers.

Thanks for your imput guys, I appreciate it.

10-01-07, 01:54 AM
I was just about to say what speller said.

Have him removed until you can put the sheep fencing up I think its called ring lock (Woven Wire Fence) but feel free to correct me on that.

Have the colt gelded ASAP.

Or if you cant move the horse move the sheep.

10-01-07, 01:59 AM
Very interesting Werdun. Thanks :)

If the sheep are shorn does that still insulate? They actually came from a strip grazing property where the guy had no probs with then escaping. He used to use a portable unit, and his fencing was only set for sheep. He used to only use a one strand polywire to keep them contained.

Thankyou though. I'm not trying to be difficult :)

10-01-07, 02:00 AM
Just a question, Why do I need to have him gelded?

He's a great horse apart from this.

10-01-07, 02:00 AM
It is more common for horses to attack sheep (or other small animals) than not.!! Use mesh for the sheep paddocks and get the horse something else to play with. And yups, fluffy sheep are able to just walk through hot fences. Get mesh, shear the sheep.

10-01-07, 02:03 AM
To Werdon, I checked out your site.

Werdon is lovely :)

10-01-07, 02:04 AM
>If the sheep are shorn does that still insulate?

I believe it does improve after shearing, but once they've learnt that they can get through (with wool), they will often just keep doing it...they'll just go through faster!

Re the strip grazing, if they have something yummy to graze and get moved when the feed gets low, they will be less likely to go anywhere. Do you have much feed around?


"A ship in the harbour is safe...but that is not what ships are built for."

Red Dun
10-01-07, 02:15 AM
Geez, sorry I am no help whatsoever as never heard of that problem, but feel for you (and the sheep). Is he eating the flesh or just ripping the wool off for something to do?

I guess the sheep's wool protects them from the 'hot wires' so therefore the little beggars can go where they like?

Any chance of making a sheep proof paddock for your colt and using hot wire to keep him away from the mesh? He might also need some 'entertainment' like a ball and a drum to play with. Colts tend to like to play if he has no other horses to amuse himself with.

Best of luck!

horses running
10-01-07, 02:37 AM
Hi. Having worked on a sheep station out west (many years ago) - Sheep are definately insulated from the effect of the electric fencing by their fleece, and I know even our long haired cattle are to a certain extent. As the sheep ARE getting through the electric fence, and your horse IS killing them, for whatever reason, it would seem that some sort of wire (sheep proof) fencing will be necessary. though maybe you need only use it around the colts paddock to stop them getting near him.
Also, in regard to his attacking the sheep - and eating them .... does your colt have a salt lick??? I wonder if possibly it all started as a game, and then, if lacking in salt, once tasting the salty blood, is eating them for that reason?

10-01-07, 02:42 AM
He is just being a colt as others have said. He would possibly do the same with dogs cats chooks and CHILDREN ..... so just be careful. I t is just another responsibility of owning a stallion.

10-01-07, 02:46 AM
Firstly it is quite common for horses to attack sheep (or rather it is certainly not uncommon). I have never seen a mare do it though but I have had and have seen many geldings do it as well as stallions. Stallions tend to be more aggressive though. I had a stallion that if he was in the paddock we were mustering, would come up once the sheep were in a mob, pick one out with his teeth, throw it up then jump over the top and kick it as he passed. The only way we could prevent it was to not have him in with sheep. It doesnít seem to be boredom, lack of friends, lack of feed etc as I have seen horses do it in 200 acre paddocks with lots of feed and lots of friends.
No - electric fencing will not keep sheep out once they have learnt to go through it, esp if they are unshorn. Chicken wire / ring lock is the best - followed by barbed if threaded at each second hole (although I wouldnít want barbed on my colts paddock!) If you cant use ring lock or chicken wire how many wires are in the fence and how tight? If every hole is threaded (up to mid thigh height) and tensioned properly most sheep literally cant squeeze through.
good luck.

10-01-07, 02:53 AM
I to think you will find it common and not just in stallions/colts.
I have seen it happen a lot and have to keep them seperate all the time.No long have that problem.
Sheep arnt the smartist and dont know to stay away.Chooks are also chased as well as dogs,goats.
I would lean towards hes palying and is to ruff for them which wouldnt be all that hard to be.
Best of luck


Rosemoor Park
10-01-07, 02:53 AM
I'd suggest its more of a territorial game.

A colt we had a few years ago kept trying to kill our cats

(cats that had grown up on a horse farm.. with no fear for large animals)

no reason why you should geld him.

just keep them seperated... you really need sheep/dog fencing, you can buy it in a roll of however many metres & isnt that expensive.

or, if you really dont want to get rid of the colt, I suggest you build a paddock for him away from the sheep & thats sheep proof! (realise it might be hard to sheep proof 100 acres)

10-01-07, 03:05 AM
I agree with Werdun i am sure it is just a form of amusement for him.
Poor sheep though!
Obviously they need to be seperated i wouldnt geld him on those grounds alone as i dont think that will stop him anyway.

I line the inside of my foal paddocks with a form of chicken wire,that the grape vine people use it to dry fruit on . I use that so foals cant go under or through fences and i find its safe because the holes are very small and feet cant go through. That type of fence might prevent your sheep going through. I also have electric tape on all fencing.

Best of luck very tough one

10-01-07, 03:12 AM
Not only colts-had a mare agisted here who was deadly on goats-ran then struck them with front hoof breaking spine.
The doe she killed had been a expensive dairy goat.I got the message and separated them.Had a rescue donkey who hated sheep and picked them up and threw them tearing their flesh in the process(We at fist thought it was our dogs and they were under a dark cloud till we saw him in the act)Years ago another friend, a camel man ,had camped and left the humps at the stock yards next to a pen of sheep.Next morning he found the camels had leant over and picked up sheep and thrown them out.Poor woolies, what is it about them?

'Nother stallion- a stdbred used to catch and kill the stable cats -probably boredom -.
I saw somewhere some mesh electric fence advertised.Can't recall where but recently-it was said to be very effective for sheep etc and of course would be.they can't run through or under the mesh.Alos in dry dry weather sometimes electric fences are not as effetive.

Suzie Q
10-01-07, 03:33 AM
I heard a story about a guy who bought sheep. He was told that sheep were insulated from an electric fence and not to use one.

So he set up an electric fence and tied bits of alfoil from it. The sheep being curious would go to touch the alfoil with their noses and get a shock.

Which worked for keeping them in the paddock. But when he went to move the sheep, everytime something shined on the ground they turned and ran in the opposite direction!

10-01-07, 03:46 AM
Yep - he's got the salt lick, he's got the toys ect.

He get's a salt and mineral lick, but I think you are correct - It's something to do.

It's definately the solution, remove the sheep from the horse.

I'll have a chat to my partener who is the experienced one with sheep, and educate him on the inapropriatness of electric fencing for sheep! You have all made a whole lot of sense - thankyou for the help (I'm Just the horsey one - he does the other animals)

I've always been aware of children and other creatures around all my horses - especially this little man. No one apart from me and my partner (and the sheep...aw no...) goes in the paddock without him being restrained with halter and a small snaffle in his mouth.

He is currently in the sheep yards - the best thing I've got at the this stage - and the sheep are in the horse paddock. Go figure :0

I had a really good look at the latest sheep that confirmed he was the culprit. He had nibbled chunks off it, mainly its face and rump, not very deep but they were also licked clean, no blood at all.Sorry guys but someone wanted details.
we've only seen him 'manhandle' one that was just a bit stunned, and found him with blood on his muzzle once, we could have asumed it was him but we have a stray dog problem around at the moment and we wernt sure whether he has just investigated. Till yesterday when I saw him eating one.

10-01-07, 03:48 AM
It's not just sheep. I have a rig who kills goats, dogs, cats, foxes, other horses, children....my OH :) The only solution is to have them in an electric fenced paddock by themselves with lots of toys to keep them stimulated. My horse is not a bad horse, and once he's out of his paddock he's perfectly normal. For some reason, some horses seem to be very territorial. I'm not joking about the other horses and OH part, by the way. Nearly killed a 2yo gelding that jumped into his paddock one day, and it's taken 6 years for my OH and him to literally thrash it out :)

10-01-07, 03:49 AM
I'm not sure what is about them - but they manage to drive farmers to distraction :D

10-01-07, 03:57 AM
My old 28yr old gelding is the same as ferloch girl's horse. Has always had to be kept away from all other animals. :(

10-01-07, 04:11 AM
We run sheep, horses and maremmas together no trouble. The most our filly or any other horses do is chase them, its a game for them.
Having said that we have all electric, no mesh, no barb cept for the boundary fence that has barb. Our wires at the bottom are 10 cm apart for the first 4 wires then go to 25 cm apart. Set up as bipolar (I think its called) so negative positive negative etc as apparently this gives a larger jolt. Is your earth working at 100%? We have no probs with them going through at all except one side of the dam fence which is in the stallions paddock which is at about 40 cm high on the bottom wire. They come and go as they please but they know that any other fence that has the lower wires they better not touch. Hope this helps.

Samsmum :)

10-01-07, 05:16 AM
I have a filly and 2 geldings and they are used to dogs, fowls, chickens.... . The other day a labrador came to visit while I was picking up poo. I have never seen my 3 like that before they were chasing that poor dog. He was terrified and just dropped to the ground and played dead. my guys started sniffing, pawing and nibbling him, by the time I got to rescue him. I supose labradors look a bit like sheep. Maybe thats why. Anyway, the filly was joining in, so maybe its not only geldings that do thet.

Oh by the way, dog is fine but stays away from the horses since that day. Good doggie.

10-01-07, 05:37 AM
Poor you (and the woolly twits).
We have five pet sheep at our agistment property and they got through anything other than mesh. The owner has finally managed to sheep mesh the outside of all the paddocks now, at my insistance. Five sheep can decimate a biscuit of lucerne in minutes. They were forever stealing my mare's feed; she'd bite their heads when they'd eat out of her feed bin but eventually would give up.
Interestingly, since she was locked up over winter, she's become much more territorial and seriously attacks them, so it's good they're now separated. She's also taken a dislike to the pair of half tame ducks that do the rounds at feed time. Without any warning she launches into the air and slams a foreleg down. Definitely no bluffing.
Hope you can get your fences sorted.
Sheep can be pretty bloody infuriating.

Rosemoor Park
10-01-07, 05:51 AM

I'd have a go at a duck if it was trying to steal my food to!

10-01-07, 06:02 AM
Nyaawww, I love the puddleducks. If I take too long making up the feeds they come into the stables and shout at me.
And Till's never minded them before.
We have the Puddleducks, Krazy Krow (this demented crow that lives by itself and hops around in circles in the paddock and tries to sit on Bess), Mudlark (who beats up KK) and a pair of Willies. There's also a Maggie that will only visit the two oldies when they're down the back.
There's zillions of other birds but this lot have figured out where the good stuff is.
The cockies are well trained too.
They leave a sentry of an evening hanging around and the minute I turn on the taps for the troughs it starts yelling and the whole flock arrive within a minute!
Clever critters, birds...except for Krazy Krow.

Rosemoor Park
10-01-07, 06:18 AM

clever critters... or crazy critters?

Manchi lets the ducks steal her food.

T however goes in for the kill!

weve got demented bats in the tree outside their paddock (try & swoop you in the middle of the night)

oh & lets not forget the killer possum (lives above the washbay)

(crisp knowns all about the killer possum)

10-01-07, 06:18 AM
Dont think gelding him will help.

I have a 7yo gelding that will still kill bunnies given half a chance. It seems a curiosity thing with him. He will look, sniff, nuzzle up to them and then paw them senseless and eventually just tread on them.

10-01-07, 06:38 AM
I have a few horses and they quite often run in the sheep paddock, "we only have sheep mesh to stop the sheep".
I lost one sheep once due to a kick in the stomach from one of the horses and she had a perforated gut.
The only thing I would like to say is, Is your colt to be used as a stallion or have you just left him a colt for the hell of it?
The reason I am asking is I've owned a few colts/stallions as I was breeding for years and unless you really know what you are doing with him (colts) you probably should geld him.
Donít take all of this the wrong way I have just seen a lot of people hurt by colts and until you have been picked up and thrown on the ground and mauled your self by a horse you would have intrusted your life with you just donít realise how vulnerable you are.
I had a gorgeous QH colt very well bred and brilliant to ride, I could do the cattle work on him with a rope around his neck, I'd even take the kids for a ride on him then one day when he was 7, I was going to get ready for mustering like I did every 3 weeks and he turned on me and had to be put down.
Yes before any one asked I tried to geld him first and gave it 6 months.
The only reason I am here today is because a very brave friend jumped in and pulled me out from under my horses and got me out of his reach.
So just be careful with your colt.

10-01-07, 08:20 AM
You should of removed the sheep from the colts paddock as SOON as you noticed them being attacked.

My dad is a sheep farmer (in the wheatbelt, where are you?) & wont run his sheep with my horses, no way, they are his livelihood.

Its rather scary that the colt is licking the blood? Eeewwwwww.

For safety of the sheep, have them in ringlock & barbwire, plain wire/leccy just doesnt cut it on a sheep property im afraid.

11-01-07, 04:58 PM
It's all happpened Quite quickly with the sheep - and believe me we've been trying to keep the sheep in their paddock, which is not the colt's as well! I done paddock them in the same - that was their desicion.

I have now found out that It is common, Apparently - ish for the horses to like the taste of blood.

It is nasty though. I caught him licking the poles in the [paddock the other day, so I might get a blood analysis done on him. But a for the future, I don't think he'll break of the habit, New paddock being worked on as we speak - sheep proof.

11-01-07, 05:06 PM
Thanks for your concern System :)

@ this stage he is unproven, too young, and too lovely to discount the idea of breeding from him. He is lovely to train, and very intelligent as well - just want to please.

He has very good breeding even though he is a X. So I'm undecisded.

Ive had quite a bit of experience with 'boys' B4.
Not hundreds, but quite a few. Showing, strapping, yearling prep ect. And have broken in no colts but geldings and mares.

And have also been on the nasty end of them a few times - Ouch.

Yep, I weighed up the pros and cons and he's worth keeping entire.
(at this stage)

Thanks system

11-01-07, 05:10 PM
I'll try and post a pic of the Angel-Terror :)


Him on the right.

12-01-07, 12:07 AM
He's gorgeous, sageequestrian - hardly looks like a bloodthirsty killer, does he?? Hope all turns out okay for you - can't offer any advice but he's lovely...(Baa Baa)...

12-01-07, 01:49 AM
just a snide note of the ducks & birds - please be carefull of salmonella(sp?) poisoning with their faeces.

12-01-07, 02:46 AM
I was thinking the same thing Bubbles, a friends horse nearly died because of bloody ducks poo in the paddock, had been very dry, then had a good down pour, there's no way I'd want ducks around my horses now. I bet there will be a lot of people caught out this season again considering how dry it is, providing it does rain again ofcourse!!

12-01-07, 06:27 AM
Tie the carcas (SP) to him for a few days. Thats how you stop dogs killing livestock.

Not that I have done it...yuk.