This is kinda unusual because I purchased this Iris 8-panel pet play-area (kennel) . . . FOR A BABY RAM. Timmy is 3 months old (on 4/19) and still being bottle-fed (for 2 more weeks). He does eat hay and grain, and is ready to be assimilated into his own "flock". Or so the "book" says. Timmy was born January 19th, the second born of twins, of a first-time mom. Mom rejected him and he nearly died of starvation and hypothermia. I brought him into the house when he was 3 days old. He couldn't even open his little eyes or hold his head up, he was so weak. I had to feed him with an eye dropper for the first couple of days. I housed him in a small crib---3' L x 2' W x 3' H. He has toys and snuggy animals. Normally, once a baby ram or goat gets past the original trauma; he or she starts healing and growing, you put him/her back with their flock. Usually, at about 2-3 weeks old, or so; but you continue the scheduled bottle feedings, weaning them as they grow older (up to 3 - 3 1/2 months). In the meantime, you're giving them hay and grain, just like the normal lambs being nursed by their moms. Not Timmy. This is NOT going to happen. He's having NONE of this! He HATES being with the other sheep. He loves being with the horses & donkeys; the goats; the chickens. He's crazy about the dogs and runs and plays with them. He wants NOTHING to do with the sheep. None of them; not ever. Even if I leave him in the sheep pen for just a couple of hours, he goes to the farthest end of the pen and stays to himself; or he'll stay by the gate and cry until I come get him. The other sheep target him and try to pen him against a wall or fence to just ram -- or "butt" him. They push him away when he tries to eat. The whole assimilation thing is not going well at all. So, Timmy has become a "house pet". This is decidedly NOT good. For one thing, you cannot housebreak sheep, especially not rams. You cannot use "doggy" diapers on male sheep because their anatomical structure prevents this. (Not so, with females). Even though Timmy has been neutered, he still "rams" things. Rams are called "rams" for a REASON. Allowing a male sheep to run amok in your house, like a dog or cat, is definitely not GOOD for china or curio cabinets. Or any furniture, pets or people. In Timmy's case, he's not being aggressive; he's just being playful. He's only 3 months old. He's already "ramming" the dogs, in play. He's also outgrowing his small crib. He's NOT going to assimilate with the other sheep. No way. So, what to do??? Inexpensively; but, effectively? Wood pens won't work because sheep chew on wood. Metal isn't any good because metal reflects cold and heat, excessively. Nonetheless, you need lots of room for a growing baby ram; and you need to be able to clean it easily; you need to be able to MOVE it from inside to outside and reverse; and you need something to be stable, for at least a year or two. Timmy's dad and granddad both weight 200 lbs, at least, EACH. His grandma weighs about 250; his mom about 150 lbs. Do you get where I'm going with this? He's gonna be a BIG boy! The Iris plastic/nylon 8-panel pen is perfect for him. At least for now, and until he's about 2 years old. He's been neutered; so he's not aggressive. Just rambunctious. This pen affords him enough room to play, sleep comfortably, and move around, when I want him contained. I can move him to outside easily; the pen is collapsible. Inside, I just place an easily-cleaned "floor" to protect my rug or tile, and include a big dog-pillow with a washable cover. Outside, he's in the immediate back yard or on the porch, with straw. He's happy; he's with his "flock" (ME, the chickens, and the dogs); and all is well. This pen is sturdy, made of durable plastic, and easily cleanable. It is compact and collapses for easy mobility. It was inexpensive ($80 or so, compared to $150 - $500). If this pen works for my baby ram, trust me; it'll work for dogs, cats, goats and even baby mini-horses. It even has a little door so that your pet can come and go as he/she pleases, at your control. It keeps your pet safe without unnecessary confinement. I would recommend this pen for any pet; even small children. I am more than pleased; I am SURPRISED and pleased.
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