Most sheep are happy to stay with the flock as long as the flock is safe and comfortable. But can sheep jump out if they want to?
Sheep can jump over a short, sagging or damaged fence. A fence that is 48″ tall will be too high for most sheep to jump over.
Sheep stay in well maintained fences
Sheep feel secure in a group, but would have to leave the group behind in order to jump the fence.
A few of the more industrious individuals will try it if the fence is low or broken, but the majority of the sheep will not.
As long as the sheep are full, they are happy to stay in place.
The hardest time to keep sheep in a fence is right before spring green up
Right before the grass starts growing in the spring is the hardest time for us to keep the sheep happy.
It seems like they get a sheep version of “spring fever”, they just want out to find the new spring greens.
The catch is: the greens aren’t growing yet! When the grass starts to grow, they’ll be the first to know, since they live on the pasture!
Why would sheep jump over a fence?
There are a few reasons why sheep would jump the fence: the fence is broken or those sheep are great at getting out.
The fence is down or broken
Sometimes the fence gets damaged and will no longer hold the flock. An easy example of this sort of damage is when a tree falls on the fence.
Other times the fence may be down or sagging just enough that they are willing to make an escape attempt.
Sagging fence can be a problem in portable fencing after a storm, especially if there is a heavy snow load on the fence.
We keep sheep outside year round on electrified netting. You’d be surprised how much sagging a clingy wet snow or coating of ice will cause on the fence.
The other condition that causes sagging is wet ground with heavy winds.
This will pull the portable fence posts that are stuck in the ground a bit sideways, sometimes to a 45 degree angle.
When the storm is over, the fence needs re positioned.
Some sheep are good at getting out of fences
Sheep jumping over fences can mean a few individuals getting out or the whole flock escaping.
For the whole flock escaping: Some sheep breeds are great at getting out of fences.
Usually this is not the case with most of the common domestic sheep, most people that raise sheep would want a flock that is easier to manage.
For the individual sheep jumping the fence: This can and does happen.
We have a few sheep every year that start out on the pasture and end up in the barn because they insist on getting out.
ElectroNet is the fencing we use for our sheep. ElectroNet For Sheep is where I detail the good and the not so good of using electronet as fencing.
Sheep and Goat Fence is an article on Redbrand.com that shows you how to select the best fence for your sheep.