Behavioural Observations in


Zulu Indigenous Sheep

flock of izimvu zulu sheep

Small flock of izimvu Zulu sheep

Here are a number of behavioural observations in no particular order that I have made over a number of years observing my own flock of Izimvu (Zulu sheep).

I find them to be far more alert and intelligent that other breeds of sheep that I have come into contact with, many of my flock but not all will respond and come to me when their names are called.

Their most notable characteristic is their very restless athletic nature when out grazing. They graze and browse in one area for a short time before dashing of at high speed en masse to stop and graze some distance away. This they repeat over and over again often returning to areas where they have previously been.

imvu zulu nguni sheep mother and lamb

When out grazing they prefer to graze areas where the grass is very short, selecting a large number of legumes and other herbaceous plants. They also browse shrubs and bushes on the edge of bush clumps in particular Grewia occidentalis which they are very partial to. Small forbes that they are very partial to are the foreign Plantago lanceolata (plantain) which is grown as a forage plant and a large range of low growing legumes. Desmodium incanum (sweet hearts) isinama in Zulu and Neonotonia wightii (perennial soybean) which is grown in many countries as forage, are the most favoured legumes. Other plants that they are very partial to are Dyschoriste depressa a small herb in the family Acanthaceae as well as Ipomoea cairica (Ihlambe in isiZulu) which is a morning glory closely related to the sweat potato.

very tame imvu zulu sheep ewe

A very tame imvu zulu sheep ewe

Occasionally I see them browsing on the very poisonous Euphorbia tirucalli known in isiZulu as  umSululu, eating this very poisonous plant could possibly play a role in internal parasite control.

Some but not all of my Izimvu stand up on their hind legs in the manner of goats to browse the leaves of certain shrubs and trees.
I have also frequently seen them scratching their sides and neck in the same manner as dogs.

I find the way that they walk at times rather strange and unable to explain it other than it reminds me of certain ways horses are made to walk during dressage competitions.

Another behaviour that I find rather strange is the way they will approach usually from behind and kick me the same way a human would do to gain my attention.

imvu  zulu sheep ram

A young Zulu sheep ram soaked in the rain

Index Photos


HLEM hlengiwe huthuli environmental management blog facebook
button ecoman

Google logo

but google chrome browser
Designed, Developed, Ownwed & Maintained by Michael Hickman
This page was  created on 14.03.2020
This page was last updated on 17.09.2023