Yes, This is a very important question and we will examine it in two directions, What is Good For the Sheep, and how we can make it work for it. How can we make it work for us? It may that we can only afford one and we are just starting out. It may be that we have limited space and more than one. Whatever your challenge we will examine it below.
- $ Can Only Afford a Lamb – You can usually pick up a Baby Lamb Weaned off of her Mom for around $ 75 – $ 150
- $ If you are looking for Adult Sheep ( 2 – $4 yrs) You will Spend Approx $ 200 – $ 250 ( 2019 pricing )
- Can only Afford to Feed one sheep – Cost is $ 54 per year if you are able to Pasture Sheep ( 8 months Grazing)
- No Pasture $ 150 – $ 250 per Year
- Have Limited Space – Grass Pasture Needed for One Sheep is This Guideline 2 Sheep per Acre.
- Have Limited Time
It might be we have a choice and with proper planning, we can understand what would work the best for us in our planning as we go forward
Would One Sheep Get Lonely
Yes, Sheep are herd animals, They are part of a Flock. The Baby Lamb sticks like glue close to its mother. They do experience Loneliness if there is nothing to fill that void.
Drs. Lori Marino and Debra Merskin had a research projects results in Psychology Today, ( Article Written By – Marc Bekoff PHD. University of Colorado) ‘Why Sheep Matter” about the intelligence and emotional levels of sheep. They felt that the stereotype of sheep being dumb docile animals did not hold true to their findings.
They Found That Sheep Had
- They are Exceedingly Intelligent and Complex
- Sheep have advanced facial recognition capabilities on par with Humans
- They can interpret emotions in other Sheep
- They can remember other sheep for years
- They can differentiate different Human faces
- Sheep can feel optimism and pessimism
- They have individual personalities
- They found them to experience Boldness and Shyness
Do Sheep Need Companions
Sheep do need some type of companion. Other sheep would be best, most farmers recommend 3 if possible to give the security and sense of family being part of a flock. So in the above consideration, you would need a minimum of 1 Acre for 2 sheep and 1 1/2 For three. For Grazing.
How to Keep one Sheep Alone
So If we are not able to buy or keep more than one sheep. Is there a way to compensate. There is but it involves still some sort of companionship. Sheep will allow other farm animals to become part of their flock. If you are able to have other forms of livestock it can give the sheep companionship.
This could be a goat , could be a horse, calf, chickens or maybe a dog. We have seen instances where there is a family attraction that takes place. If you have the time you can be his companion, like having a pet dog.
But it is very hard for them to live a life in complete isolation. Years ago we had 17 pigs, 200 chickens, and we decided to get a black Angus calf. We could not keep it penned up. Any chance it got it bolted and ended up at a neighboring farm. It just wanted companionship.
But being creative you can find other methods of providing companionship.
Can I leave my Sheep Alone
Yes, you can leave Sheep alone. They spend most of their time slowly grazing and munching on grass. They do not need your constant attention. If you provide a clean water source and plenty of grass they will be happy grazing. Figuring out some kind of company will be very content. They need to be checked for problems they might encounter thing to keep tabs on would be
- Weather Conditions
- Food Supply
- Health of Sheep
Do Sheep need to be Pregnant to Produce Milk
Yes, the ewe sheep will need to be pregnant to begin lactating. They have a 180 day lactation period. On Average, a Sheep will give a dairy farmer about 1/2 Gallon per day during that period. The Average sheep will live 10 – 12 Years of age.
Can one Sheep Produce Milk
Yes, One ewe sheep can produce milk and be milked. You can Milk a Female ewe Sheep for 180 Days after she has given birth. You will need to keep her expecting with lamb. You can do it by
- Owning a Ram
- borrowing one – Stud Service
- Artificial insemination
Sheep Milk is in a class of its own. It is very good for human consumption, Its nature makes it great for making custom cheeses.
People that have trouble digesting Goat or Cows Milk, usually are able to drink Domestic Sheep Milk. With one Sheep Milking is usually done by hand. Twice a day. early in the morning and in the evening. most farmers offer ewe some grain while she is being milked. Keeps her busy and calm eating while you are milking.
Can one Sheep Produce Wool
Yes, a sheep can make about 15lbs of wool a year. Sheep Raw wool goes for about $10 per lbs. Depending on the length and thickness of its hair. It is very important even if you only have one sheep to keep it sheared. Sheep wool keeps growing. If it is not sheared it can endanger the health of the sheep. Too much Wool can cause
- Get caught in fences
- Insects take up residences – Fleas, Ticks, Mites
- Makes it easier in lambing
- It is usually done in Spring – Easier on Lambing, Cooler in Summer, Wool Longer in Winter for Warmth
If your long-range plans include working toward Starting a Sheep Farm You may want to read these two articles on Sheep Farming – Milk and Wool
Can I have a Sheep in my Backyard
- Perimeter fencing
- Protection from Weather
- Protection from Predators
- Zoning Restrictions
- Sheep are kind of Quiet just BAAAAH
Keeping Sheep in Residential Areas
Need to check your local zoning, depends whether you live in City, Rural areas, or country. My daughter was allowed Chickens but no livestock. We had Three acres and we were allowed 1, horse, one cow, one sheep, and chickens. Just check your Zoning restrictions
Youn doesn’t want to get all set up and then Zoning Inspectorcomes and shuts you down. Also, I would consider the above list for backyard, and I would add these
- Dogs bothering Sheep
- Children Bothering Sheep
- Liability – All Animals can Bite – it is difficult for sheep to hurt because they have teeth on the bottom and flat palate on top. They use them for stripping grass as they eat. Read this from Columbus Zoo
Do you need a License to Keep Sheep?
The Answer here depends on the Country that you are in, Especially in Europe Licenses are required in many European Countries. I would check your local laws and restrictions to see if it applys in your senario. I would also consider these items
- Sheep Management Programs will need Paperwork and documentation to maintain Breeding Lines
- Those that Qualify might be able for Tax Reductions – for Farms
- If you are Planning for growth – I would see what advantages and local Government Programs are avaiable for farming
- Check your local Universities, many times they have experts that would gladly help ypo.
- Places that require licenses sometimes opens the doors for discounts and bebefits that go with that license.
Keeping Sheep in your Garden – Beware
Sheep generally perfer to eat Pasture and Grasses. They love grass, clover, lugumes, and forbs. They also like these Garden specials
- Green Beans
Sheep also like a variety of Flowers to munch on.
What are the Easiest Sheep to Keep?
As we look at some of the Friendliest breed of Sheep. It is wise if you are keeping a sheep simply for a pet having the Males’s, Nuetered and the females, ewes, spayed will go along way to helping to make the keeping of your sheep most enjoyable. The Corriedale Sheep, are a very Gentle Breed and are found all over the world.
Best Sheep Breeds for Beginners
Some of the most Popular Breeds for Beginners are listed Below
Sheep for Wool Producing
Sheep for Milk Producing
- East Friesian sheep
- Lacaune Sheep
- British Milk Sheep
Small Sheep Breeds
|Harlequin Sheep||24″||80 – 120 lbs||$ 500 – $ 1200|
|Cheviot Sheep||23″||120 – 160 lbs||$ 400 – $ 600|
|Shetland Sheep||?||90 – 100 lbs||$ 400 – $ 600|
|Ouessant Sheep||18″||41 lbs||$ 450|
|West African Dwarf Sheep||12″ – 20″||55 lbs||$ 450|
Dwarf Sheep Breeds
The Dwarf size sheep breeds are referring to the Miniature Breeds of Sheep. There is only one Sheep called technically dwarf. It is
West African Dwarf Sheep – Rams weigh about 80 lbs – Ewes are 55 lbs It is found in the Regions of South Africa and the Congo.
What is the Smallest Breed of Sheep
The Sma;lest Breed of Sheep is the Ouessant Sheep. It is a domestic breed of Sheep from the Island of Quessant off of the coast of Britan. It is one of if not the smallest breed of sheep in the world. Rams are about 19″ Tall and Ewes 18″. Most are Black and Brown in Color.
The Rams have large Round Horns. They are used for Wool Production. The ewes very rarely have twins. Can be found in the United States and Europe Costing about $ 450 each