How Can you Start Your Sheep Farming with First Flock of Sheep?
Sheep are kinds of animals that are typically small in size. Therefore, starting commercial sheep farming is quite simple and easy.
Like any other kind of business, you are required to come up with a suitable and proper business plan before venturing into the business.
Have a through preview of every step in the business plan and formulate ways on how to venture into without making any losses.
Reason to Start Sheep Farming:
Traditionally, sheep were raised particularly for wool, skin, milk, and manure for crop production. Have you ever tasted the sheep meat? Well, it is tasty, nutritious and very popular too so many people across the world regardless of their belief.
According to research is done poverty eradication communities in the world, it is stated that sheep is the best domestic animal for this purpose since it has the ability to survive in almost all type of weather climate.
It is reliable source of income for those people who are obsessed with animals and they either live in arid or semiarid areas.
- Low initial capital to venture into sheep breeding business.
- Sheep require inexpensive shelter as compared to other animals
- Require cheap labor making them less costly
- Female sheep give birth regularly hence increase the number of flockes can happen within a short period.
- Sheep are not destructive like goats
- The animals are hardy hence can survive in the different weather climate
- Consume the little amount of grass and other feed but returns are high
- You need less space to start raising sheep.
Here we are describing those steps on how to venture into this lucrative and profitable business. The steps include:
1. What kind of Sheep Should I Get?
Before deciding upon what breed of sheep you want to buy, you first need to determine your purpose in owning sheep and consider who will be caring for them. Do you want sheep to maintain pastures? Do you want to raise them for meat or for fiber or both? Will young children help care for your flock of sheep?
There are numerous breeds of sheep and each breed has its own unique characteristics. Some breeds are more calm and gentle than others, some make excellent dual purpose flocks allowing you to raise them for wool and meat, and other have no wool at all. Once you narrow your focus and vision for sheep, you can begin looking discernibly at the different breeds.
The following are some of the popular breeds of sheep that you opt for a commercial purpose:
Dual-purpose (Meat and Wool) Sheep:
- Corriedale (large species, with plentiful meat and lustrous wool)
- Dorset ( medium size, with dense white wool)
- Polypay(lambs are produced frequently and grow quickly)
- Tunis( medium sized with creamy wool)
- Columbia ( large breed with dense off-white wool)
- Rommey ( has long, lustrous fleece)
Sheep Farming for Wool Profitability Table
|Sheep||Lambs / 3 Per Yr||Space Required 20 Sq Feet - Each||Grazing Acres .3 / Sheep||Feed Required / Yr $100||15 Lbs Wool / Year||Average Price $ 10 / LB Wool||Total Revenue Possible|
|1||3||60 sq ft||.9 acres||$ 300||45 lbs||$ 450||$ 150|
|2||6||120 sq ft||1.80 acres||$ 600||90 lbs||$ 900||$ 300|
|5||15||300 sq ft||4.5 acres||$ 1,500||225 lbs||$ 2,250||$ 750|
|10||30||600 sq ft||9 acres||$ 3,000||450 lbs||$ 4,500||$ 1,500|
|20||60||1200 sq ft||18 acres||$ 6,000||900 lbs||$ 9,000||$ 3,000|
|30||90||2,700 sq ft||27 acres||$ 9,000||1,350 lbs||$ 13,500||$ 4,500|
|40||120||4800 sq ft||36 acres||$ 12,000||1,800 lbs||$ 18,000||$ 6,000|
|50||150||3,000 sq ft||45 acres||$ 15,000||2,250 lbs||$ 22,500||$ 7,500|
|100||300||6,000 sq ft||90 acres||$ 30,000||4,500 lbs||$ 45,000||$ 15,000|
|200||600||12,000 sq ft||180 acres||$ 60,000||9,000 lbs||$ 90,000||$ 30,000|
Sheep can Produce 2 - 30 lbs of wool per year depending on Breed
Raw washed Wool Runs $ 6 - $ 14 using average $ 10
Feed 5 Months Buying Hay $ 100 rest Grazing
Please Check my Numbers
- Hampshire( one of the largest breeds)
- Ketahadin(very low maintaince)
- Suffolk(the most popular breed in the U.S)
- East-Friesian(good milk producer, but somewhat difficult to raise)
- Lucaune( excellent breed for cheese)
- Awassi( gentle breed with shaggy wool)
Sheep Farming for Milk Profitability Table
|Sheep||Lambs / 3 Per Yr||Space Required 20 Sq Feet - Each||Grazing Acres .3 / Sheep||Feed Required / Yr $100||Wool $ 15 lb / Year||Average Price $ 10 / LB Wool||90 Gallon/ Yr each ewe||Price $ 30 per Gallon||Total Wool Revenue Possible||Total Revenue Milk and Wool|
|1||3||60 sq ft||.9 acres||$ 300||45 lbs||$ 450||270||8100||$ 150||8,250|
|2||6||120 sq ft||1.80 acres||$ 600||90 lbs||$ 900||540||16,200||$ 300||16,500|
|5||15||300 sq ft||4.5 acres||$ 1,500||225 lbs||$ 2,250||1350||40,500||$ 750||41,250|
|10||30||600 sq ft||9 acres||$ 3,000||450 lbs||$ 4,500||2700||81,000||$ 1,500||82,500|
|20||60||1200 sq ft||18 acres||$ 6,000||900 lbs||$ 9,000||5400||162,000||$ 3,000||165,000|
|30||90||2,700 sq ft||27 acres||$ 9,000||1,350 lbs||$ 13,500||8100||243,000||$ 4,500||247,500|
|40||120||4800 sq ft||36 acres||$ 12,000||1,800 lbs||$ 18,000||10,800||324,000||$ 6,000||330,000|
|50||150||3,000 sq ft||45 acres||$ 15,000||2,250 lbs||$ 22,500||13,500||405,000||$ 7,500||412,500|
|100||300||6,000 sq ft||90 acres||$ 30,000||4,500 lbs||$ 45,000||27,000||810,000||$ 15,000||825,000|
|200||600||12,000 sq ft||180 acres||$ 60,000||9,000 lbs||$ 90,000||54,000||1,620,000||$ 30,000||1,650,000|
Sheep can Produce 1/2 Gallon Milk per day / 180 Day Lactation
Raw Sheep Milk $9 - $25 per Quart - Used $ 30 per Gallon for Table
Feed 5 Months Buying Hay $ 100 rest Grazing
Please Check my Numbers
2. Select a Suitable Farm Location:
Identify a suitable place on your farm where to start raising the sheep. Ensure the selected area has all the essential facilities required for breeding.
The place should be endowed with fresh clean water, evergreen grass, good medication, and good transport facilities and strategically located to the market.
These are the factors to keep in mind before selecting a place for breeding sheep for commercial purpose. They will save you a lot as far as this kind of farming is a concern.
3. How many Sheep Should I Purchase?
Sheep are a flock animal. This means that they need to live with other sheep. I recommend a flock no smaller than five sheep, but have seen flock of 4 do well. Sheep feel secure and happy when living with other sheep. sheep can be a companion animal to other livestock, like horses, alpacas, and goats, but sheep need other sheep and so you will need to bring more than one sheep onto your property to keep your goat company.
You also need to consider how much land you have available for your new flock of sheep. I have been told that one acre of land can support 3-5 sheep. this, however, depends upon the quality of the grass, and the parasite risk factors in your area. You may find it helpful to talk with other shepherds in your area and compare the number of sheep they have with their total pasture acreage.
4. Do my Sheep need a Barn?
Sheep need shelter from sun in the summer and from winter winds. In the summer, a grove of trees may be sufficient protection from the summer heat. In the winter, you will want at least a three sided shelter. Sheep do not need, nor do they want to be closed up in a barn for any length of time. When closed in a barn, sheep can develop respiratory problems from excessive moisture buildup. The only time my sheep seek the shelter of the barn is when we have extreme wind and subzero degree temperatures. My sheep may choose to be in the barn or outside in the snow all winter. You will also need to think about some kind of shelter for storing hay.
Adult sheep may require about 20 square feet of floor space so that they can sleep comfortably with others. In case you have about 10 sheep then you are expected to have 10 feet long and 20 feet wide house.
Keep the house of sheep dry and clean throughout. It should be properly ventilated and sufficient space for light. Create a proper drainage system inside the house.
5. What Kind of Fence do I Need?
Fencing keeps your sheep where you want them to graze. Your choices are to use woven wire or electric fencing. We opted for electric fencing because it was the most economical and easy to set up. We use permanent 5 strand electric fence that runs around the perimeter of our large field. Then, we subdivide that large area with electric flexible netting so that we can rational graze. We also have outer fields that we use semi-permanent three strand fencing.
6. What Kind of Feed should I give to my Sheep?
This is the most vital step to follow in case you want high yields. Supply your flock with balanced diet in order to facilitate faster growth and maximum production.
High-quality sheep feeds will make them be healthy, productive and free from common livestock diseases.
The favorite feed for any breed of sheep are all kinds of grass, plants, and corn.
Here is the sheep feeding chart for both sheep babies and adults.
Feeding Chart for Baby Lamb
Feeding Chart for Adult Sheep
Your sheep will also need fresh water daily. You also need to consult with your local vet, local feed store, and other farms to determine if your soils have sufficient minerals to meet the needs of your new flock. Most areas of United States are deficient in selenium, a critical mineral to sheep health, and so it must be supplemented. We give a mineral mix supplement and kelp your round on our farm.
7. Should I Get a Ram?
Whether or not you bring home an intact ram is based upon your purpose in owning sheep. Breeding is the only reason to have a ram, then you also need to have a whether, a castrated ram whose sole purpose is to live with ram. Rams need other rams and do not thrive when they must live alone. Some people leave their ram in with their ram in with their ewes year round. We do not do that here on our farm. Our ram lives with a whether year round in different quarters from ewes. The only time the ram goes in with the ewes is for breeding season in the fall.
Rams can become aggressive and difficult to handle. Are all rams aggressive? Certainly not, rams may be gentle as well, but I never turn my back on a ram.
8. What Kind of Care and Management can I do?
The intention of any business is to make profits. Therefore, you need to take good care and management of your sheep in order to earn high yields in the long run.
Buy quality breeds and feeds apart from providing them with suitable housing. There are some of the best practices to take good care of your animals.
It is recommended to vaccinate the animals as early as possible in order to protect them from common sheep disease. Always keep a good relationship with your vet so as to get a good assistant on time in case of any problem.
There are various breeds of self-shearing sheep, who shed their winter coat over the spring and summer and re-grow it again in the autumn. Otherwise, you will have to get your sheep sheared annually in the spring. There are plenty of shearers around who will happily shear a small flock for about $50. Alternatively you can go on a shearing course.
10. Keep Good Records:
You cannot improve your herd if you do not keep accurate records. It’s best, also, to keep a separate chart for each ewe: include her yearly wool and lamb yields, her offspring’s weaning weight, and how long each youngster took to reach selling weight. In addition, you should track of all veterinary cares given to your flock in order to know when to give follow-up dewormings and vaccination.
Its good for your sheep performance.
11. Sheep Marketing:
Marketing is a big issue affecting many sheep breeders across the world but I would recommend your local livestock market as the best point to start.
It is good to formulate marketing strategies for any business before commencing. You can also consider the international market in case you have the required facilities.
12. Common Problems Associated with Sheep Farming:
There is no type of business that is not linked to any problems and so is the business of breeding sheep. you are likely to experience problems such as predators, housing, management and diseases among many others.
You should note that both diseases and predators happen to be the main source of problems in the farming industry.
Design a good fence plan in order to protect your sheep from potential predators and also have a close relationship with your vet who will help to treat them in case of many diseases.
13. Guarding Against Problems:
Sheep can be susceptible to parasites, especially when too many sheep are confined too closely together. You can prevent this by rotating pastures every two or three weeks. Should your sheep become infected, controlling parasites may require deworming treatments.
Across the country, hundreds of thousands of sheep are lost each year to coyotes and wolves. While you may not have these predators in your area, be aware that dogs are also a main predator of sheep. foxes and even eagles and other birds of prey can harm your sheep, as well.
Some ways to deal with predators include:
- Maintain some guardian animals, such as trained dogs, donkeys, or llamas in your pasture.
- Light corrals and pens at night, and use high, tight fencing.
- Keep sheep in an open field within your field of sight, so you can respond if predators appear.
- Use “live traps” or cages for trapping marauding dogs, rather than traps. With live traps, harmless animals can be released.
- Put bells on your sheep.