This research by Whydo is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission when you purchase through our links. Learn more
Why Do Rams Headbutt?
Do They Ram Their Heads For Establishing Dominance?
Competitiveness is a survival mechanism shared by all creatures on the planet, whether they are human or animal. Males naturally compete for the area, breeding, and power.
If you’ve ever witnessed rams charging each other and headbutting each other ferociously, you’ll understand what we’re talking about! In addition, the entire action is so aggressive that you can hear a loud slap when they collide.
As exciting as it may sound, the issue is, why do rams continue to headbutt other rams?
Rams attack others or people to assert their authority. They frequently engage in this behavior when both rams believe they should preferably head the grazing and struggle for territory.
Furthermore, these creatures headbutt in various scenarios, such as when they believe another ram is encroaching his territory.
The genuine headbutting match observed between two rams is one of the most memorable head-to-heads.
Male rams produce physically striking and functional antlers, from seemingly peaceful animals to wild bighorns. Scientists are looking as to why rams headbutt and whether there is a valid rationale for why they’re doing it, as they do with many strange behaviors in the animal kingdom.
Why Do Rams Headbutt Humans?
While numerous wild rams are roaming the countryside, you can keep most of them as pets. However, it would be best if you did not handle these creatures as pets. Every animal, including people, will be headbutted by a ram. When a ram meets a dog, cat, calf, or other animals, they are prone to headbutt them. This is the animal’s natural propensity. When it concerns headbutting somebody, though, things may turn hazardous.
Rams are strong animals with huge horns that you may use as weapons. Rams are also speedy, and they may headbutt you if you let your guard down. You may receive significant damage if you shift your gaze away from them and they smash you down.
Rather than depending on training to eliminate the habit, it is critical to prevent headbutting people from forming. It’s sometimes difficult to get a ram to quit headbutting a human once they’ve started. So avoid close touch with the creature and make sure you’re not in exposed touch with him to limit the risks of this happening.
Unless the headbutting has indeed begun and you’re concerned about the number and severity of your ram’s headbutts, there are a few things you can do to improve your safety.
First, you must demonstrate to your ram that you are the dominant mammal in the association from an early age.
If kids observe this from a young age, they will be less inclined to dispute you as they get older. Using a ram shield, irrespective of your path may substantially improve safety.
Why Do Rams Headbutt Each Other?
The primary reason rams hit other rams is to demonstrate dominance. Young men attempting to assert themselves frequently exhibit this innate dominance tendency. However, when noticed in very juvenile rams, the animal may merely be rehearsing or trying the move.
When the ram becomes older, it’s natural for them to headbutt more often when encountering an unknown person. This is characteristic of male animals attempting to establish their dominance early in a partnership. This creates dominance early on and, if successful, reduces headbutting with that person later on.
Expect a significant activity at peak rivalry periods if you have numerous rams in one broad region. Rams become ever more hostile and start headbutting more occasionally when their testosterone levels are high. During mating season, when males compete for the interest of the ewes, this is a common occurrence.
Headbutting is a typical activity, but it might become aberrant if a ram begins headbutting artificial things like gates or surfaces. Sheep must never headbutt anything other than other creatures, and if they do, it might indicate boredom. Instead, try providing extra enrichment if you’re in charge of captive rams and see this behavior.
This might include placing them with another person so they can mingle, providing them with a larger cage or outside access, or changing their daily routine. This can help the animal’s welfare while also preventing major harm. Different sheep breeds have different headbutting behavior.
An elkhorn ram’s massive horns are put to maximum use during the breeding season. Remarkably, the length of their horns does not determine whether or not they find a good spouse. Instead of tempting the ewes, their horns are significantly more useful when used to wrestle with other male sheep.
Blocking, Coursing, and Tending are the three most common strategies bighorns use to hold down a masculine competitor.
The first strategy, Tending, is a ram selecting a ewe and protecting her from rival males during the mating season. Rather than vying for the sheep, the males tend to them in this protective strategy.
The second strategy, coursing, brings together two rams fighting over the selected sheep. First, even though rams are the most likely to engage in this activity (as seen by their continual headbutting), it is the least efficient method of mating.
Blocking is the third method used by rams to keep their selected sheep away from the most frequent mating site, purposely preventing her from finding another appropriate mate here.
Headbutting comes naturally to them from a young age when it concerns rams. Male lambs use this approach with other lambs while they are young.
It’s worth noting that headbutting occurs not just in adult sheep but also in female sheep. Female sheep engage in this type of combat to demonstrate dominance.
This approach, however, is not restricted to two animals of the same rank. When anyone confronts the sheep with the necessity to defend themselves against invaders, giving in is not an option.
How Powerful Is Ram’s Headbutt?
The headbutting power of a ram or a bighorn sheep is about 800 lbs.
Do Rams Feel Pain in Their Horns?
Yes, they do.
Dehorning is the process of removing a cow or calf’s horn to lessen the risk of bruising and damage to living creatures. Disbudding is a treatment performed on calves under the age of two months, even before horns have joined to the head.
Although you should not chop sheep by the horns, you can assist in reducing sheep nervousness. Sheep have no sensations in their brains, but they feel pain when you yank them.
Can a Ram Hurt You?
Yes, ram’s headbutt is dangerous for you.
We’ve had headbutting rams before, and we already have one reported to do so. So whenever the rams are bored during the wintertime, they might be at their worst, and in this case, they headbutt humans.
Headbutting rams who are heading for you is an issue. You will be injured. But when sheep headbutt people, he doesn’t stop, at least in our opinion.
You can try and put him with a new organization of sheep or even in a different enclosure, but the headbutting will return once he feels more at ease.
As far as I am aware, there is no method to stop a ram from headbutting you. Instead, control your flock to avoid being in the same room as him, use a ram shield, or trade him to butchers.
How Do Rams Protect Their Necks From Breaking?
We understand your concern. How can these creatures avoid breaking their necks by thrusting their heads full force into their opponents?
Consider you are biking on a very rough surface. In that circumstance, how then do you safeguard your skull? The waves come to your rescue and serve to decrease the force of jolts, protecting you from injury.
Rams have a protective system that has evolved naturally in their bodies. A fibrous protein, Keratin, forms their horns that are also employed to make sturdy horse hooves and human fingernails.
Their horns start to develop at the start of puberty and grow throughout their lives, never snapping off or losing them. On the other hand, the horns can be chipped or broken due to fighting, but rams permanently link their horns to them.
Layers of Keratin make up the linked horns, with epithelial tissues below. As a result, the horns may cushion the force of headbutting shocks.
Don’t the Rams Suffer Concussions or Brain Damage?
The impact of two rams is 10 times that of two separate footballers. Despite this, there have been no reports of sheep sustaining traumas or brain injury due to their headbutting.
They believe it’s because of the Bubble Wrap-effect, which occurs when the body delays blood flow from the brain to the torso, allowing for a larger proportion of plasma in the brain. This shield protects the brain from becoming damaged or concussed by keeping it from bouncing around in the skull. Furthermore, the hollow core of a sheep’s horn further isolates the skull from the site of contact.
However, some studies disagree. Many experts presume “these creatures don’t have difficulties after a history of head-smashing… but no one has established it,” according to Andrew Fark, a mauling specialist. Sheep don’t survive forever to acquire the degenerative brain disorders linked to repeated head-on crashes. Therefore scientists don’t have enough data to say sheep don’t have brain trauma.
Farmers may unintentionally encourage rams to fight. While adorable tiny lambs are enticing, touching a ram on the head may foster the growth of butting. A simple action like a peck on the forehead becomes a problem for them.
How to Prevent Rams From Headbutting?
You may use a ram shield to protect yourself and other animals surrounding your ram. This is essentially a gadget that prevents the ram from seeing you by blocking their forward view. Ram blockers are commonly constructed of leather and are not harmful to animals. Keep in mind that the shielding does not cover side vision, so if you’re lying next to an animal, they’ll be able to see you.
However, if you face the animal head-on, this is a good method to guarantee that they don’t rush at you and perhaps headbutt you. This can also minimize headbutting among other creatures, including other sheep in the same group as the ram.
Before utilizing a ram shield, ensure that you design all doors and fencing to prevent your ram from being stuck. Due to the pressure and probable harm of being trapped, this might lead to increased aggressiveness.
Keeping Two Rams Together
Whenever two rams live together, the likelihood of headbutting increases; they’ll most likely fight if they can’t distinguish themselves from the opposing ram with a fence. This might cause harm regardless of the headbutting.
If you’re bringing multiple rams into a coral simultaneously and they start headbutting a lot, it might indicate that they require a gradual introduction. Separate them and introduce them to each other with a boundary separating them. Introduce them to the same kind of coral for a brief time after they’re familiar with the barrier. At night, keep them apart, so they have their place. You may extend the period they live together as the introduction becomes less violent.
You’ll probably be capable of keeping the two men together without as much headbutting in the future. They’ll probably still hit even in more aggressive seasons, but they shouldn’t hurt each other.
Do Ewes Headbutt Too?
Ewes will headbutt rams and other ewes when they believe it is essential. Although ewe headbutting is less common than ram headbutting, it does occur frequently enough to be considered normal.
Ewes are also known to headbutt lambs. Whenever a ewe strikes a lamb, she attempts to push the lamb away from her, mainly since the lamb is trying to feed and she does not want it to.
The lamb might be a scavenger with a mother but is only hunting for a quick lunch. It might also be a lamb she doesn’t want around her since she doesn’t believe it’s her child. In any case, the ewe will headbutt this lamb.
The Rams aren’t entirely to fault for their infamous antics! This is because it’s possible that farmers unwittingly foster these animals’ headbutting habits.
While it may be alluring to attractive pet animals or stroke their heads affectionately, this may encourage the growth of butting. Seeing a sheep suffering concussions is nearly impossible. As a result, it’s critical to discourage such behavior because once a ram starts headbutting, it becomes difficult to stop him.
Another good guideline would be never to put your backside on rams, although if they don’t appear to be attacking. Always be on the lookout for dangerous behavior, especially during mating season.
Avoid friendly ones throughout this hormone-fueled time since you can never tell when your defenseless ram will go crazy! Also, do sheep headbutt humans? Well, let’s leave that for another time!