Before anyone can begin raising sheep, they first have to know for what purpose they want to raise sheep. Would it be for wool? Meat? Milk? Most farmers decide on only one as specific breeds are frequently specialized in their uses. While there are breeds that are beneficial to dual or cross purposes, they often don’t produce the best wool, meat, or milk of their kind. A beginning sheep farmer learning how to raise sheep must also be equipped for the numerous hardships he will go through. As a farmer grows in experience, raising sheep will get easier and more attainable.
5 Things to consider when learning how to raise sheep:
Land – how much land is available to you? As a matter of course an acre is beneficial to about 3-5 sheep or ewes.
Shelter – a barn that can house your flock to protect them from the cold in winter or extreme heat in dry season is needed. Farmers are told to set aside an average of 15 square feet per ewe.
Market – how do you plan to trade your product? Do you possess easily obtainable buyers or do you plan to use cooperatives? It is important that you know your marketplace and study how you can earn and improve your market’s potential.
Machinery, equipment, labor – these are things you need to maintain and raise your flock. For starters, you need fencing, cleaning, tagging and shearing equipment. You’ll need barn hands if your flock is bigger than what you can manage. You likewise need guard or sheep dogs if you will be letting your flock graze on open land.
Capital – you can’t start raising sheep if you do not have the required capital to buy the tools, and the sheep essential to start a flock.
You likewise need to learn flock management styles if you would like to quickly learn how to raise sheep. There are 4 styles of flock management. Range band, farm flocks, specialized flocks, hobby flocks. Range band flocks are for those with a large number of sheep (usually 1,000-1,500 ewes) kept in pasture in either open or fenced land with a large acreage. Owing to the numerous sheep, range band flocks subsist purely on pasture alone, as it is economically not feasible to spend for extra feed or hay to the sheep. Farm flocks are smaller bands of sheep kept on a smaller area than range band flocks. It is more attainable and feeding can be supplemented by hay and other grains. Hobby flocks are started by hobbyist or by farmers needing to preserve breeds that are slowly dying out. Hobby flocks can also be started to provide for specialty products like wool for hand spinners. Those starting out in learning how to raise sheep often start with a spare time activity flock before expanding to farm flock size.