Sheep grazing and rearing go back to 9000BCE.
Shepherds and herds are such a common picture that stays with our minds when we think of grazing and terrains.
You could be someone who is already into the sheep farming business or someone thinking about raising sheep; well, there might be some information you would like to go through before starting.
Here, the article will help you understand the fundamentals of raising sheep.
It’s not just about commercial production, but also how to manage the herd in an organized way. For that, you must be well informed regarding serving sheep with what it really needs.
Sheep, as we know is predominantly raised for its wool other than its milk, and meat. One of the most traditional occupations, sheep farming has always gained its attention in the commercial market. Sheep are in fact more viable with their meat and wool rather than milk.
Being under the cattle group they are ruminants. If nurtured well they can give a high yield. Sheep can live a life of about 10 to 12 years.
If you are a farmer with a small land, and looking for a suitable business to earn a profit, Sheep farming or raising sheep will be the most cost-efficient idea to go for.
Advantages of raising sheep
Comparing other livestock farming with raising sheep, it is a much easier way to start with.
And in case you are hesitant to choose sheep farming for your small land, take a look at some major advantages of Sheep farming.
You don’t have to ponder much on having a bigger budget while beginning to raise sheep. The best part is it pays you back well with little investment.
You don’t have to look for a large farm to rear them neither. You can grow your sheep in the limited space you or even along with the other livestock.
Unlike other livestock, raising sheep barely requires any labor work. Therefore, you can save the price of manpower used in the field. You can almost do all the basic work involved by yourself.
Requires less feed
As goats are raised mainly for their meat and milk, special attention to their feed is important according to their respective breeds. No similar worries in Sheep; they can find food for themselves and graze around all day.
Not just wool, but meat, and manure along with milk are the various range of products sheep have to offer. Raising sheep is not only easy but these many products give you several choices in the business.
Sheep meat is consumed in larger countries in the world. Wool has a great demand for its quality. This definitely provides you to use your sheep raising business with a better business plan and can easily gain high profit in less time.
What do sheep eat?
All their lives, sheep spend the days in pasture lands of mountains, hills, and terrains to graze around. Even though in extreme situations, sheep are capable and comfortable to forage incessantly.
They are quite manageable when it comes to feeding them. But ultimately, leaving them completely their own way may not make sense if you are raising sheep for commercial business.
There’s value to their meat and wool in the growing market.
The productivity depends on what you feed them or how you feed them.
Let’s understand what sheep must eat to maintain good health and high productivity.
Rich pasture & hays
Do not choose to simply leave your Sheep straight into the pasture land without examining the plants.
Pastures are one of the major nutrients that sheep prefer to intake. They can forage around those huge lands all day and be extremely happy.
The herd might have sheep of different ages and different health conditions. Make sure that that none of the plants are poisonous or toxic to the sheep.
Healthy sheep can easily survive those aspects but the one who isn’t matured, or one that is the oldest amongst the herd needs to be paid special attention regarding what they are foraging on.
The grazing the process can be done through rotational farming which will allow the plants to re-grow within the required time.
In case there’s a lack of pasture, you can add hay as food. do not serve them unclean or hay crushed by hooves. It’s best to use a sheep approved hay.
However pasture land and hay have access to high nutrients needed for your sheep but supplemental feeding is crucial. It is necessary that they must be served the right supplemental food just like other livestock. Although sheep aren’t that complicated, a good feed will help them maintain immunity and health.
There are high quality formulated feeds especially for sheep in the market.
They do have all the necessary contains nutrients from calcium, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, and selenium to Vitamins A, D, and E.
These major nutrients will help them fight any deficiency in their body.
Other than the supplemental, feeding them corn and grains will be a very good idea.
Try not to let the sheep indulge in excessive eating. The balanced and right amount of food is the key to feed them.
Clean and freshwater
Water is what basically energizes any livestock. Sheep aren’t exceptional to that.
Once you have treated them with all the possible nutrients and supplemental feed, a regular supply of water is a priority.
Don’t let your sheep keep bleating out of thirst. That’s never done.
Supply clean and fresh water from time to time with a proper water serving system that can manage the temperature according to the season.
At least 2 gallons of water is what an average sheep requires.
Special water service must be ensured to the needy sheep-like one with the illness or the pregnant. Special attention to regular water supply during summer is important.
With all the above-mentioned care, sheep are also fond of fruits and vegetables. However, let them not make this a habit, but once in a while consumption of fruits and veggies will cherish them for certain.
They are born to intake grasses and hays. Therefore choosing the right amount of fruits and veggies is important to avoid them from diseases like bloating, or urinary calculi.
Feel free to serve them with apples, peaches, pears, oats, lettuce, Oranges, cabbage, sunflower seeds, etc.
Methods of raising sheep
Sheep farming relatively requires less involvement. Sheep are docile and can be easily tamed. Even in the herd, they can be managed pretty well.
So once you have made up your mind to raise sheep, there is a specific process to it. Following a step by step understanding of the methods will help you set up a plan successfully.
Availability of land
Are you worried about your land being too small?
No worries, Sheep raising gives you the comfort to opt the business even what you have is a small acreage.
Consider, what is the productivity of your available land? This includes the forage and hays that you can possibly provide the herd. Having a proper and accurate calculation of the nutrients the pasture or your tiny land could offer is the core aspect, to begin with.
Sheep are primarily used for Wool but the mutton market have been always building demand and attention. This has led to the cross-breeding to develop breeds that can be produced specifically for meat.
If you want are looking for sheep that can be used for wool and the meat, make sure you approach the right breeders. This will depend on the location as well. Some breeds may not be apt for the environment you live in. Therefore, considering what kind of breeds you can go for a matter very much.
Some of the local breeds include Hampshire, Suffolk, Merino, Cheviot, Dorset, Rambouillet, etc.
Shelter for sheep
While grazing you can use electric fencing in paddocks for outdoor grazing.
In regards to having a shed Sheep aren’t luxurious. They just need a simple shed to shelter them.
The sheltering is a convenient thing to do when it comes to settling sheep.
But do keep the exceptions in your mind. The shed must be able to serve all the purpose in case of uncertainties.
Make sure that the shelter isn’t weak that it starts to get the effect in rain or snow. Regular maintenance of the shelter must be ensured.
If the sheep give birth to lambs in an unexpected time period like winter, be prepared to offer the little ones a separate shed.
Caring and feeding
Sheep are in fact easy to handle without leaving you annoyed in any way.
But at the same time, it’s very important to understand them and take an immense interest in their day to day life. This involves regular care with regards to their health and food. In the same way, some sheep have different behavior traits that are different from others. It can easily get unnoticed. Make sure that each sheep is paid attention and served as per their need.
Offering the right food with high nutrition is the best way to keep them happy.
As we have already discussed regarding the feed requirements, enable proper planning on what to be served at a proportionate amount.
Along with the grasses in the pasture, hays are alternatives and a good source of nutrients for sheep. Serve supplements that are reliable and available specifically for sheep.
Selling and marketing
Once you have got all the above steps on the track, now comes the crucial part of gaining profit.
You must already have a well-planned marketing strategy and your targets. To begin with, choosing the local livestock market will be the best.
Understand the requirements and demand of your location in terms of sheep farming. Try to do better in serving those aspects.
If once successful you can easily decide to take the business beyond the boundaries of your region, and further to the international market.
About the Author
Farm Animals Guide
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