Raising Sheep For Profit – What You Should Know
In order to know how to raise sheep the right way, it is important to first find out your reasons for wanting to raise sheep in the first place. There are many possible reasons. Sheep are raised to improve agricultural landscapes; livestock grazing is known to control vegetation and preserve open lands. Some people raise sheep to enhance the lifestyle they are accustomed to. They want their children to learn animal husbandry, plant cultivation, and different facets of the rural way of life. But sheep are commonly raised on ranches and farms for one specific purpose: to generate income.
Raising sheep for profit is not as hard as it seems. Given tried and tested techniques, even someone new to the entire thing can do it right. The trick is to divide the most basic and most important aspects of rearing sheep for profit, such as housing, feeding, and handling.
Traditional barns are the most common choice for housing when raising sheep for profit. While they may be costly, they are known to give the best kind of protection for the sheep, the feeds, and the equipment. A hoop house, which adopts a greenhouse design, is a cheaper alternative. It is necessary that your chosen sheep facility be situated on elevated ground. It must have good drainage, electricity, an open side that can be accessed conveniently for deliveries and trash collection (including manure, dirt, and excess feeds), and wind protection.
When raising sheep for profit, you have to invest in feeders. They make feeding your sheep a lot easier. If you feed on the ground, your sheep are likely to urinate or defecate in the feed and contract diseases, and you’re likely to suffer from wastage. Feeders, on the other hand, promote efficient feeding and prevent the development of parasites. Choose the type of feeder that best suits your needs, and make sure to clean them after every feeding. Invest in hay, which are best given in bulks, and mineral feeders, which provide additional nutrients to your sheep. Offer clean, still water in gallons.
Sheep are very tame creatures. They strive in an environment that follows a routine and is peaceful. Keep your sheep together to foster a sense of home. The more comfortable they are, the healthier they will be – and this translates to profits.
Styles of managing sheep are also important in raising sheep for profit:
a) Early lambing – lambing in January to February and selling lambs in early summer.
b) Late lambing – April to May. Production costs are lower but lambs will be sold cheaper.
c) Accelerated lambing – ewes lamb several times a year. Production is increased with this style of lambing. It however needs careful management and the right breed of sheep to pull off.
A farmer also needs to know the most desirable sheep characteristics in raising sheep:
1) Out-of-season breeding – out of season breeding will increase the value of your product since it generally means you and only a select few will be able to offer the market with the product at that time.
2) Multiple births – ewes that give birth several times a year increases production, and naturally your profit.
3) Early sexual maturity – ewes that sexually mature early means they give birth early. Faster lamb production, and generally increased production.
4) Desirable carcasses – lambs that give good carcasses when slaughtered are desirable and bought at higher prices.
Last but not the least, a guide to raising sheep also needs a glossary of common terms used:
1) Crutching – shearing the hind part of a sheep to prevent fly-strike
2) Crimp – the natural wave formation of wool. The closer the crimps, the finer the wool.
3) Micron – used in measuring wool; the equivalent of one millionth of a metre.
4) Ringing – removing a circle of wool around the pizzle of a male sheep.
5) Tupping – mating of sheep; can also be understood as mating season
6) Wigging – removing wool from around a sheep’s eyes to prevent wool-blindness
Click here to learn the important steps on raising sheep the correct way