This page contains information about raising sheep along with tips, instructions and useful techniques to help you start your own farm and living independently away from cities. Below are information about raising your own sheep. If that's what you're loooking for then this is the place for you. Below you will find the most important aspects related to raising sheep, just enough to get you started, if you have any question you can visit our forum and ask our expert farmers.
Sheep are a very good thing to keep, for the self-supporter. Sheep live and fatten on grass. Don't even make demands on your hay unless the ground is covered with snow (and even then they won't eat hay unless they have previously learnt to); they are thus cheap to keep. A good number would be 4 ewes and a ram (or ask a neighboring farmer if you could borrow his ram for a few days).
Choose the breed that is native to the country you live in. Sheep eat grass. They will fatten on good grass in a summer time if they are not infected with internal parasites. Sheep keepers say the biggest enemy of a sheep is another sheep. The meaning of this is that sheep cannot stand overstocking. Very good pasture may carry three ewes with their lambs per acre, less good two ewes and their lambs. You might average one and a half lambs per ewe. But they will do far better if you rotate them around the farm: put them on, say, a quarter of your grass acreage and keep them there until they have nibbled the grass right down, then move them on to the next quarter. In this way let them follow the cows—sheep will graze very advantageously after cows have had all they can get: cows will starve after sheep.
The obvious plan is to lamb in the spring so that the lambs grow up on clean spring grass, have the summer growing season to fatten on, and are killed in the autumn and winter, so in the late winter 'hungry gap' you only have your small stock of ewes to feed.
If you want to fatten your sheep feed them corn. Crushed oats and kibbled beans are very good. Give them as much as they will clear up quickly and no more (maybe a pound a day). But if you are just out for simplicity, and your own good mutton when you feel like it, I would suggest just leave them out to grass.
When they lamb there should be no problems. You can then let them both out. If a lamb is very weakly, feed it cow's milk with a little glucose or honey mixed with it, warmed to blood heat. Many small holders rear orphan lambs on bottles but it is an awful labor; they never do as well as natural sheep.
You do not shear your lambs their first summer, but the ewes, or any sheep left over from the previous year, you must shear in May, June or July to get it over with before the hay-making season. You must watch a skilled man and get him to teach you. You can sell the wool. After the shearing you must, if you live below seven or eight hundred feet, either dip your sheep or spray them against fly. Sheep fly are revolting green blow flies which lay their eggs on the dirty parts of sheep whereupon maggots hatch out and literally eat the sheep alive. If you have a few sheep only you might guard against this evil by constant vigilance. You should always keep sheep clean—when you see dung clinging to the backsides of sheep you should clot them—that is cut the dunged wool off with the sheep shears.
If you liked this page, you might also be interested in this page about Raising Goats or Raising Cows.
This page is just one of many pages dedicated to sustainable living through organic farming and living wisely. Raising sheep will enable you become one step closer to food independance. This is beneficial to your health, peace of mind and lifestyle, great for nature, and reduces your carbon footprint. You can really do it yourself, grow your own food, raise your own animals, from simple means. You can go back to nature and sustainability one step at a time. Today raising sheep, tomorrow something else. That's why we have many articles that you can find on the left side of this page to choose from. Each time try to add something to your farm. Sustainable living is your ticket to true freedom. Enjoy the rest of our pages.
To add this page to your favorite pages simply press (Ctrl+D) on your keyboard for Internet Explorer and Firefox.