Characteristics of Sheep
In order to understand sheep farming and the dynamics that come with it, it is important first that we know some of the characteristics of sheep.
Sheep are primarily kept as farm animals mainly for their wool, meat, and to some extent their by products like cheese and milk. Sheep are gregarious animals, they are better kept in numbers and that makes them social creatures. These characteristics of sheep must be carefully considered if you intend to understand their behavior and how to effectively manage them. These animals have a strong sense of flocking. If kept in a good number of four or more they will exhibit flocking dynamics that would make them easier to control or when herding. However, keep in mind as well that when sheep are kept in solitary or their numbers dwindle or natural predators are absent, the same flocking behavior may be lost or momentarily stopped. At this instance, you would need the services of a herd dog that with their in-bred herding skills will greatly help in your herding and keeping your sheep flock within sight.
One of the characteristics of sheep is that they are grass fed. They are ruminants or animals whose stomachs are composed of different compartments designed to utilize and digest grass and other similar products like hay.
If you live in an environment with lush greenery the grass may have enough moisture in them that will also provide the water they need on a daily basis. Some farmers are able to raise sheep in temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius, so a moderate environment is suitable for sheep as well. When kept in a confined space, the sheep are provided with fans to supplement their tolerance for temperature changes.
A mature sheep will have a size between 22 kilos and 227 kilos which all depends on the breed.
Some breeds of sheep are best for specific purposes like for wool production alone or milk production exclusively. One of the characteristics when it comes to breeding sheep is they do it seasonally but it is essential to know as well that there are breeds that capable of doing this on a year round basis. This cycling period starts between the last part of August and early part of September. A successful gestation period is usually five (5) months. In case there is no breeding the ewe will just undergo cycling period again and then ovulate every seventeen (17) days. Sheep on average have a 50 percent probability to have twins. These characteristics of sheep will help you in your choice of breed and the purpose with which you intend to raise sheep.