Prior to coming to Farm Sanctuary, Yeti had not been around many other sheep. He was also a ram — an unaltered male — making him more prone to fighting due to higher testosterone levels. Often, neutering can help stabilize a ram’s behavior, and since we never breed at Farm Sanctuary, Yeti needed to be neutered before joining a flock, anyway. We hoped this might calm him down and make him more amenable to meeting other sheep. After all, this had proven to be the case with other sheep residents who arrived as rams, like Adriano, Joel, and Lloyd, who were more aggressive in the past but are among the most loving members of the flock today.
Once Yeti recovered from his neuter surgery and we felt that he was ready, it was time to introduce him to the sheep barn. (Schnee had to stay behind while she healed from her own surgery, but we planned to reunite them once she was healthy.) We expected this introduction to be fairly smooth; in our experience, sheep are among the easiest animals to integrate into pre-established groups, and sheep move-in days are typically uneventful. While some sheep will quite literally butt heads at first, they typically settle their differences quickly and fit in easily with others.
From the moment he entered the sheep barn, however, Yeti began to pick fights, and didn’t seem inclined to stop. At first, we waited to see if tensions would resolve. Instead, they worsened — Yeti fought to the point of exhaustion, and we worried that someone might get hurt if we didn’t intervene. For everyone’s safety, we decided to take Yeti out of the sheep barn and give everyone time to cool off. As soon as Yeti was removed from the flock, everything returned to normal: The residents of the sheep barn calmed down, and Yeti seemed to feel at ease again once he was away from all the activity and back in his pen with Schnee.