1984 - Volume #8, Issue #5, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
16-Sheep Hitch Steals The Show
Darlene Brown, San Luis Obispo, Calif., had just brought her lambs Pete and Teddy home from the county fair. The lambs were on their way to market until Darlene convinced her father Joe to try training the sheep to pull a wagon.
Joe, who raises registered Suffolk sheep, has trained horses since he was four years old, but sheep training was a first for him. The sheep learned quickly and, with the addition of recruits from the rest of the Brown's flock, Joe trained eight sheep to pull a small wagon. That first team has since grown to a 16-sheep hitch and Joe has his sights set on a 20-sheep hitch.
The Browns take the sheep to area parades and fairs, performing figure eights and "ewe" turns for spectators. Brown hopes to find a sponsor to take the team to even more parades and fairs. His ultimate goal is to take the hitch to the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
"Training sheep is a lot like training horses except that sheep are smarter," says Joe. He uses both ewes and wethers in the hitch, training the animals to work on either the left or right hand side. Four sheep are trained as leaders. As a precaution against heat stress, Joe shears the sheep once every six weeks.
The sheep harness is made of rope and breast collars taken from horse saddles. The small wagon the team pulls can be outfitted as either a covered or open wagon.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Joe W. Brown, 4313 S. Higuera St., San Luis Obispo, Calif. (ph 805 543-6481).
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