Behavior

Male Dall sheep or rams do not mingle with the females or ewes outside of the mating season. Instead, they live in bachelor bands which has a social hierarchy, particularly during summer, with dominance determined based on the size of the horns.

Altercations are rare between the dominant and subordinate males, but in case there are two rams with equal horn size, a fight ensues to establish order. Such disputes are often noisy with each party backing off a certain distance before converging towards each other to butt heads.

Ewes live in groups consisting of other ewes, lambs, both immature males and females, and yearlings. Lambs are playful amongst themselves. Clashes between mature ewes are rare, but when it does occur, usually the older individual prevails.

Life Cycle

A single lamb is born after the gestation period, twins may occur, albeit rarely. The juveniles weigh at around 6.6-8.8 lbs (3-4 kg) at birth. They become able to stand about 30 minutes after birth and start to follow their mother after about a day. The growth rate of the lambs is rather quick.

Interesting Facts

  • The horns of the Dall sheep are made of keratin which is the same substance found in human nails.
  • It can take up to 8 years for the horns of a ram to grow in its entirety.

These beauties were photographed at The Reserve at Falling Water, and soon this breed of sheep will be roaming the land at Hidden Springs.  

References

  1. http://www.arkive.org/thinhorn-sheep/ovis-dalli/
  2. http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Ovis_dalli/
  3. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1028&context=zoonoticspub
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dall_sheep
  5. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/39250/0