As animal husbandry grows as a viable option for people who want to be their bosses, keeping sheep becomes more popular. With the right resources and knowledge, raising sheep can be a profitable path to take.
Sheep belong to the genus Ovis, which includes both wild and domestic breeds. Iconic for its fluffy wool and soft meat, sheep provide various benefits that make them a great investment for anyone interested in animal husbandry.
Benefits of keeping sheep
The primary reason why people keep sheep is for their wool, which serves multiple purposes. Wool is used to make clothing, blankets, and other items while also serving as an excellent insulator.
Lamb meat is another significant benefit of raising sheep, especially during the Easter season. The meat is relatively lean and tender, making it a preferred protein source among many cultures worldwide.
Sheep milk is also used as an alternative to cow’s milk in certain regions. It has more fat and protein, making it ideal for making cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products.
Taking care of sheep involves cleaning up after them, which can leave behind manure. This manure can be used as fertilizer for crops, promoting plant growth while reducing waste.
How to start a sheep farm
Starting a sheep farm requires adequate preparation and planning before the venture can reap successful results.
1. Choose a breed
The first step in starting a sheep farm is deciding on a particular breed that suits your region’s climate and geography. The main breeds are:
2. Secure Land
Sheep require a grazing area, so securing some land is an essential part of running a sheep farm. Alternatively, one can lease land from farmers or other landowners.
3. Build Infrastructure
Setting up housing and infastructure is crucial to running a sheep farm. Housing should be spacious enough to house breeding rams, ewes, and their offspring comfortably.
4. Acquire stock
After securing some land and setting up housing for the sheep, it’s time to acquire stock. Stock can be bought from reputable breeders or livestock auctions.
5. Provide food and water
Sheep require a balanced diet that mostly consists of hay and grains. The feed must be of high quality to ensure optimum growth and reproductive performance. Providing access to clean drinking water also ensures sheep remain healthy.
Challenges facing sheep farming
Predators like foxes, wolves, and coyotes pose a significant threat to sheep farms, especially in rural areas. The use of guard dogs, fencing and electric fences can help keep out predators.
As with any living thing, diseases are a reality when keeping sheep. Vaccination offers adequate protection against common diseases like clostridial infections.
Harsh weather conditions like severe storms, drought, and extreme temperatures can take a toll on sheep farms. Proper management and shelter can help mitigate the impact of harsh weather.
Keeping sheep is a rewarding venture for anyone willing to invest time and resources into animal husbandry. With proper preparation, knowledge, and infrastructure, reaping the benefits of sheep farming, including wool, meat, milk, and fertilizer, is within reach.