Herc is Officially Old

@JudyEv (96294)
Bunbury, Australia
December 3, 2016 6:32am CST
With all my posts about Herc, our pet sheep, I hope you have learnt something about ovines. Here is a lesson about telling the age of sheep. The main indicators are the teeth or to be more precise the permanent incisors. Sheep do not have any teeth on the upper jaw but mature sheep have eight incisors and twenty-four molars on the bottom jaw. Instead there is a dense, hard, fibrous pad. Baby lambs have no teeth. By the age of two months, they have eight temporary incisors. Permanent incisors replace these in pairs with the two central teeth appearing first. When this happens, the sheep is said to be a 'two-tooth' (about 19 months old). As each pair of incisors appear either side of the previous pair, they become a four-, six- then eight-tooth or 'full mouth'. The corresponding ages are roughly 22 months (4-tooth), 32 months (6-tooth), and 36 months (full-mouth). Sheep of the same age may show different dentition depending on breed, dietary conditions and other factors. At some stage after that, a progressive deterioration means the sheep starts to lose teeth. This is described as 'broken mouthed'. Teeth become longer with wide spacing and eventually fall out. Once all the teeth have gone, the sheep is known as a 'gummy'. Herc is now broken-mouthed so is officially old. He kindly agreed to show his 'broken mouth' for the edification of myLot readers.
38 people like this
39 responses
@Asylum (46760)
• Manchester, England
3 Dec
He will qualify as very old when he finally resorts to dentures.
7 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
I'll be making him porridge next. lol
1 person likes this
@Asylum (46760)
• Manchester, England
4 Dec
@JudyEv lucky sheep, I love porridge.
2 people like this
@JohnRoberts (38537)
• Los Angeles, California
3 Dec
Looking at the mouth and teeth is so funky looking.
5 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
That makes it sound really groovy, man.
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
3 Dec
I'm not sure that this image edifies me, but it surely is interesting. It looks to me like those incisors are on his upper jaw, but you said they don't ever have teeth on the upper jaw? Did I understand that correctly? So, how old roughly, is Herc? And how long may he live yet? Do you need to feed him more mashed foods or because of the hard, fibrous pad is he still able to eat fairly normally?
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
Sheep only have teeth on the lower jaw. I'll add another photo which shows it better. Herc is around 13 and looks very good at the moment. I'm hoping he'll live another year or two. He eats fairly normally but as he loses more teeth it will get harder for him. He gets some sheep pellets now just to keep him in good condition and I'll increase the amount if he starts to lose weight. I guess it won't be the easiest to eat them but he'll get more nutrition from less food with pellets. Sometimes sheep do better when all their teeth have gone.
3 people like this
• Midland, Michigan
7 Dec
@JudyEv At first it still looked to me like they were coming down from the top not from the bottom. It looks like their teeth might be similar to ours in that the larger section is what they use to maw on much like our molars? I thought those were four teeth with sharp bottoms not flat tops. Thanks for the newer image.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Dec
@MarshaMusselman I have been saying 'lose all their teeth' blah blah but I really mean they only lose the 8 incisors. There are 24 molars that they will have to still chew up their food.
1 person likes this
@DianneN (57246)
• United States
3 Dec
Welcome to the club, Herc! I still love him.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
He should be okay for ages yet. We keep a close eye on him. :)
2 people like this
@DianneN (57246)
• United States
3 Dec
@JudyEv I know you do, and I hope so. He's my favorite sheep!
2 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Dec
@DianneN I'd like to be really impressed but you probably only know one!
2 people like this
@moffittjc (34299)
• Gainesville, Florida
4 Dec
Maybe Herc should have listened to his mother and brushed his teeth when he was told! And he definitely doesn't floss between meals, I can see that from looking at his teeth! haha
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Dec
Yes, it's a bit gross isn't it? My father used to brush the teeth of his prize sheep before he took them to a show. I don't think he used tooth-paste though. :)
1 person likes this
@moffittjc (34299)
• Gainesville, Florida
4 Dec
@JudyEv I can imagine the animals would probably not like the taste of the toothpaste at all, or the feel of it on their gums and teeth! Or, on the flip side, they may actually love the taste of it and try to eat or swallow it! haha I'm sure they probably make special kinds of toothpastes for animals.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
5 Dec
@moffittjc It was the rinsing and spitting bit that was the problem.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (78261)
• United States
3 Dec
A big thank you to Herc for letting us see his teeth so that we could learn. Herc is on his way to becoming a "gummy."
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
I only hope he beats us to it!
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (78261)
• United States
4 Dec
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Dec
@Corbin5 It's not funny!!
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Dec
He is a little senior, nice to see his teeth...lol
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Dec
They're not very clean are they? :)
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Dec
@JudyEv , at least he has some...lol
@rebelann (30814)
• El Paso, Texas
3 Dec
Now that's something I had no clue about. It does bring up one question though, how long do sheep generally live?
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
Herc is about 13 we think but should go a couple more years. Paddock sheep might live 10 to 12 years. It depends on the treatment they've had. Herc has it pretty easy so hopefully he has a few more years left.
2 people like this
@rebelann (30814)
• El Paso, Texas
3 Dec
I hope he has too @JudyEv hopefully he'll live another few years
2 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
3 Dec
Thanks for the education, but you say that sheep don't have any teeth in the upper jaw, and then go on to explain how many they have at various stages of their lives.??
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
The teeth are all on the bottom jaw. I'm edited it now to say that. Sorry for the confusion.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (49988)
• United Kingdom
4 Dec
@JudyEv I thought that's what you meant, but when I looked at the picture it really looked as if they were on the top jaw. Now I look more closely I can see that isn't so.
@PatZAnthony (11726)
• Charlotte, North Carolina
4 Dec
Sad that even the animals age, isn't it?
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Dec
It is sad and generally they come to the end of the line before we do. Cockatoos (and I guess turtles) are the only ones likely to outlive their owners.
1 person likes this
@Marty1 (25445)
• Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
4 Dec
@judyev Herc is a sweetheart showing his mouth to us! I tink I love him already! Love the name, too! Is it just Herc or short for Hercules or Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot? What does one get a sheep for Christmas and I hope he has a gift for this event!
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Dec
His name is really Hercules. I'm not sure what we'll get him for Christmas - maybe his own loaf of bread or some biscuits (cookies). He likes cookies too.
1 person likes this
@Morleyhunt (15942)
• Canada
3 Dec
Having raised lambs for a number of years these are facts I wasn't aware of. I do know how badly those sharp teeth could mangle you whe you tried to get a tablet down their throats. Next season we settled for shots. My son in law was pretty good at doing it for us.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
They can also really crunch if they get something back onto the molars.
2 people like this
@Lucky15 (33719)
• Philippines
3 Dec
oh Herc and looks like, he indeed kindly agree about showing it to us :))
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
He said 'anything for myLotters'.
2 people like this
• Philippines
3 Dec
Does he have senior citizen card? at least he was proud of it.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
He should qualify for a card then his pellets might be a bit cheaper.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Dec
Awww poor Herc hope he manages to hold onto those few teeth for awhile longer
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
They used to clip their teeth as they found it easier to feed with shorter teeth but they don't seem to do that anymore.
1 person likes this
@RasmaSandra (12323)
• Riga, Latvia
3 Dec
Well old or not I still say long live Herc! Give him a virtual hug from me. Tell him there's a crazy lady online who lives sheep.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
If he gets much more popular he'll be wanting to go on FB! And thanks, I'll give him a hug. He quite likes hugs as long as he's been fed first!
2 people like this
• United States
3 Dec
I know a good dentist!
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
Can I have his name please? lol
1 person likes this
@Susan2015 (18264)
• United States
3 Dec
Poor Herc. You might need to feed him very soft food.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
He gets supplementary pellets at the moment but I'll keep a close eye on him. Maybe I'll try him with porridge. lol
• United States
3 Dec
Poor old guy will need his feed ground up for him soon.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Dec
Yes, I guess that will be the next step.
2 people like this
@KnehKnah (3529)
• Philippines
4 Dec
Wow, Herc is not camera-shy! BTW, thank you for extensively writing about Herc & his family. I learned from you again!
2 people like this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Dec
Thanks. Actually he was jammed in a corner and didn't have much option but to show you his teeth.
1 person likes this
@KnehKnah (3529)
• Philippines
7 Dec
@JudyEv Got no choice but to say, "cheese!"
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (96294)
• Bunbury, Australia
7 Dec
@KnehKnah And when I let him go he said 'Baaaa'.