Watch This Massive Sheep Get A Running Start And Head-Butt A Farmer Into A Pond

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: November 17, 2023
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Key Points

  • Anyone who has looked after sheep will know that head-butting is part of their normal behavior.
  • Many farmers try to discourage headbutting by separating the sheep and even selling the offenders if they have to.
  • Headbutting often starts when they are lambs and they butt other sheep or humans as part of their play behavior.

This sheep has developed a dislike of a fishing farmer! So much so that it decides to launch him into the water with a powerful head-butt. Click below to watch the full video of a very confident sheep and its antics!

Where Do Sheep Live?

Sheep, Eating, Grazing, Grass, Ewe

There are more than one billion domestic sheep on the planet.

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©iStock.com/MarjanVisser

Sheep are one of the most well-known and widespread of all domesticated animals. They are found on many continents including Europe, Africa, and North, South, and Central America. In many areas, they have a cultural or religious significance. In other communities, they are simply farmed for wool, meat, or milk.

In terms of appearance, they can be yellow, brown, black, or white/cream. Sheep have a stocky body and thin legs with hooves that are split down the middle. They can weigh anything from around 80 to 300 pounds. There are more than one billion domestic sheep on the planet and different breeds have been developed to suit different climates and agricultural purposes. For example, the Blue Faced Leicester produces good yields of meat and milk and the ewes (females) produce a lot of lambs. Welsh Mountain sheep are adapted to cold and wet conditions and are hardy – they have dense, weather-resistant fleeces of coarse wool.

Sheep, Lamb - Animal, White Color, Grass, Herd

Head-butting is normal behavior for sheep and is part of their play behavior.

©iStock.com/idal

Is This Normal Behavior For Sheep?

Sheep

Sheep may appear docile and non-threatening, but their one method of defense is to head-butt.

©brackish_nz/iStock via Getty Images

Humans have been looking after sheep for thousands of years. Anyone who has looked after sheep will know that head-butting is part of their normal behavior. So, why do they do it?

It often starts when they are lambs and they butt other sheep or humans as part of their play behavior. If the sheep have been hand-reared, using milk in bottles, they may continue this playful behavior towards humans into adulthood.

In other sheep, it is a defense behavior. If they find something or someone that they do not like in their field, they will butt it to try and remove it. They will also butt predators to protect themselves or their offspring. Finally, it can be a way of exerting dominance and this is most often seen amongst males.

As you can see in this clip, head butting is not a behavior that you want to encourage in your sheep as it can be a nuisance! Many farmers try to discourage it by separating the sheep and even selling the offenders if they have to. We wonder what happened to this sheep after this incident!

Why Do Bighorn Sheep Head-Butt?

Two Bighorn sheep rams battling during the mating season on a snow-covered prairie.

Two

Bighorn sheep

rams battling during the mating season on a snow-covered prairie.

©Warren Metcalf/Shutterstock.com

You’ve seen the classic photos, maybe even watched in a video or on television–two bighorn sheep running at each other and butting heads! Why do they do it? Within a herd, there’s a hierarchy among the men that gets challenged periodically, especially during mating seasons. A chief way that bighorn sheep compete for mating rites and dominance is through the ritual of squaring off, charging, and butting heads. They’ve been known to run up to speeds of 35mph toward each other, and the echo of the impact, reminiscent of a gunshot, can echo up to a mile away.

When these beasts come together, the force is an estimated 3400 N. That’s the greatest force created by a sheep species. While this type of activity would crack the average skull, their skills are fortified where the horns begin to handle the blunt force. They can go at each other for long periods of time and still walk away.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © patjo/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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