Sheep farming for beginners: Is it profitable or risky for newbie farmers?

Sheep are the most preferable domestic mammal for farming. For a newbie, farmer sheep is an excellent choice to expand their homesteading efforts.

Sheep farming for beginners is not challenging at all if they have proper knowledge about sheep breed and farming procedures. It is a satisfying farming process, whether you raise it as a hobby or livelihood.

Moreover, it can be said that sheep are the best living medium to convert grass into delicious meat, milk, and high-quality clothing. Effective planning, broad knowledge of sheep farming, dense and persistent management are compulsory in running a commercial sheep farming business.

However, here we detailed more about sheep farming for beginners. Take a deep look to learn more about sheep farming.

Why is sheep farming important?

Sheep farming for Beginners

Well, sheep farming is the most secure and preeminent way to produce wool, milk, meat, skins, and manure. Its nutritious meat makes it desirable and privileged to all kinds of people all around the world.

For a newbie, farmer sheep is an excellent choice to expand their homesteading efforts.  Also, it’s an incredible source of earning. Sheep farming is money-making. That is why, in the desert, semiarid, and mountainous areas people prefer to choose sheep farming to eradicate poverty.

There is no other farming business that exists as reliable as sheep farming. Undoubtedly, the commercial sheep farming business is an improbable source of earning if you manage the herds with the required care and maintenance.

Sheep can easily adapt themselves to any environment and can survive by just eating low-quality grass, rattle, and creeper leaves. Also, they can eat any plant. So you can easily use them to clean all unwanted plants from your backyards.

Fortunately sheeps don’t need any well-built houses. Also, sheep are best as companion animals. Therefore, you can keep them in herds with other livestock animals.

Common sheep breeds

common sheep breeds

Sheep can be found in different breeds and sizes. Demand of all breeds of sheep is increasing day by day. Due to their multi-purpose quality and docile nature, they are on the top of a farmer’s favorites.

More than 100 breeds of sheep can be found worldwide and each breed. Although breeds of sheep vary according to the sheep’s wool production, meat quality, and weather adaptability.

The most common sheep breeds are Merino, Lincoln sheep, Dorset sheep, Leicester longwool sheep, Turcana, Dorper sheep, Tsigai, Hampshire sheep, Suffolk sheep, Rambouillet sheep, and East Friesian. These breeds of sheep are renowned and raised for quality meat and wool.

Among all breeds, the most demanding commercial sheep is Rambouillet sheep. Worldwide merino is the most cherished breed of sheep due to its adaptable nature and constant wool production.

If we talk about meat providing and milk-producing quality, the name of Dorset Sheep came out first. Worldwide it’s known as the most demanding domestic sheep for farming. Also, it is widely available as a most common breed of sheep in the southern part of the USA.

In the case of farming one should go for Hampshire sheep. This breed has a good record in the agriculture industry. The origin of this sheep is Southern England.

Advantages of sheep farming

An amateur farmer can get huge benefits from sheep farming. Where some people raise sheep for wool, some of the farmers are more interested in sheep’s meal and milk.

No matter if you are raising sheep for meat, wool, or milk, it is one useful mammal from all sides. Some of the mentionable advantages of raising sheep are detailed below:

Flock Size: 

Normally you need a wide place to raise cows, horses, and pigs. On the other hand, you can raise sheep in a narrow place and time.  Sheep are an easy and suitable option for those who don’t have a big place to raise big-size animals.

Versatility: 

Sheep can survive in muddy and imperfect pastures. You don’t need fertile land to raise sheep. They can easily thrive on brush, grass, or weeds.

Fertilization: 

Raising sheep for manure might sound funny. But sheep waste is indeed an excellent fertilizer for the land. You can use it to make your backyards and firms land fertile. 

Pet-like abilities: 

Sheep can be tamed easily due to their docile and gentle nature. This makes them an ideal choice for backyard pets. Sheep can also go along with your family members and other animals of the flock.

Disadvantages of sheep farming

In addition to the advantages, there are many difficulties in raising sheep. In the sheep farming business, you might face some mentionable complications. Some of them are:

Predator attack

Predators love to have sheep as their regular meal. Therefore, you have to arrange a secure shelter for your ewes and lambs. Therefore, make sure your flock has a durable fence to protect your sheep.

Diseases: 

Sheep are delicate and can catch deadly diseases easily. Vaccinate your sheep regularly to keep them healthy and safe from numerous types of diseases.

Breed identification: 

Sheep and goat farming is a popular livestock business. Many people face huge losses even if one invests a big amount in sheep farming.

Therefore, when it comes to choosing sheep’s breed, choose wisely. Because a brought part of profits depends on sheep’s quality and breeding habits.

How to start sheep farming

How to start sheep farming

As a beginner you don’t have to do any rocket science task to start sheep farming. Due to the small size and friendly nature, it’s really easy and fun to tame sheep. Before producing animals to suit their precise requirements make sure you identify the markets properly. 

How to raise sheep is the most common query among farmers. Well, here I detailed some basic steps to start sheep farming.

Select a Suitable Farm Location:

The fundamental step of sheep farming is to select a suitable location for your farm. You can start raising sheep in the backyard of your house. Otherwise, you can choose a plain small land.

One thing you have to remember that your flock needs a clean and fresh water source. Also, the land should contain accessibility of a sufficient amount of plants and a proper transportation system. These amenities are compulsory to start a commercial sheep farming business.

Housing plans:

The most relaxing part is that you don’t need to build any solid structures for sheep. You can easily keep them in a basic shelter system.  Basic housing needs are enough to make them happy and satisfied. Also, they don’t need distinct privacy for production.

Yet, if you are planning to do sheep farming for commercial production, then you have built a distinct house for your sheep. Make sure the house is secure enough to protect the sheep from harmful weather and deadly predators. 

Fencing for sheep:

Fencing is necessary for sheep’s houses. Cover the pasture with a suitable fence. The fence needs to be durable enough that animals can feel secure inside the fencing. Predators can even come near the sheep house if it is covered with a wire or woven fence.

Purchase Quality Breeds:

To make your plan successful choose the sheep breeds wisely. Because profits of the farming depend on your sheep’s production quality and habits. Try to buy or adopt a breed from renowned farms or breeders.

As we already mentioned, worldwide you can find numerous sheep breeds to raise. Some breeds can not adopt and survive in different weather conditions.  

Therefore, choose a breed that is perfect for commercial meat production and farming. Moreover, if you are interested in wool production then choose a breed which is ideal for both wool and meat production.

Merino, Rambouillet, Deccani, South Down, Hassan, Cheviot, and Bannur breeds are the few suitable breeds that might help you to fulfill your desired production purpose.

Sheep Food – Supplementary feeding and feed budgeting:

The growth and production of sheep depend on their feeding. Sheep need specific food requirements to fulfill. Sheep are herbivores and mostly thrive on plants and grass. You can make a flock happy and healthy by just providing garden-fresh grasses, plants, salt, a vitamin and mineral supplement, and freshwater.

You can make pastures for sheep on your own. All you need to do is mix the grasses, brush, and trees. Although for commercial production you need to offer additional protein. Therefore you need to feed them supplements.

Vitamins and mineral supplements make them strong and ready enough for production. Mineral mixtures are deadly for sheep due to their copper elements.

Feeding amounts and foods vary according to the age and size of the lambs. Baby lambs need a small portion of every food. Mentionable foods of baby lambs are mineral salt, broken gram, almond cake, wheat, grasses, and salt.

On the other hand, try to give high-quality and nutritious foods to adult sheep. Availability of freshwater is a must according to their every call. Find out what do Sheep eat? here!

Sheep care guide:

Proper care and maintenance can make your sheep ready for commercial farming. How to care for sheep? It’s easy and necessary. The sheep farming business is profitable unless you take proper care of the sheep.

So, try to fulfill every requirement and demand of the sheep. Feed nutritious foods regularly and built a top-notch house to provide the required security.

Sheep Marketing Systems:

Identifying the potential markets is also a part of the sheep farming business. As a fundamental one should go with the local livestock market. Also, try to learn and determine a few marketing strategies before starting raising sheep.

After understanding the local market situation better, move towards the international market. Some choose a specific part of the sheep for marketing where some do the marketing for multi-purpose.

Lamb marketing:

The most expensive part of a sheep is lamb. Farmers can get the lion’s share of earnings from the sale of lambs.

Therefore, lamb prices play an important role in determining the profitability and viability of your farming business.

Therefore, set the process according to the market demand of the lamb. Also, compare “net” prices before selling every piece of lamb. Lamb vs. mutton is the most common marketing strategy that farmers follow before every sale.

Wool marketing:

Most sheep produce wool once a year. Although there are some that produce twice. However, wool quality is different for every breed. To maximize the sale try to know the exact worth of every breed’s wool.

A significant portion of farmers’ income can come from wool. It is an international product. Agriculture economy of the USA is positively affected by wool marketing

Selling breeding stock:

Your income can be increased twice if you start Seedstock sales. Rams or ewes are the Seedstock which has an incredible value in both local and international markets. A ready market exists for selling these gems. The demands and price of Seedstock depend on the physical state and section of the sheep industry.

You can sell Breeding stock with an increased amount of price. To establish a commercial sheep farming business try to do “selling breeding stock marketing” properly. 

Tips for a Profitable Sheep Farming 

Profitable sheep farming is every farmer’s top wish. To hold the profits one must follow some basic tips. Here I detailed some tips that might help you to make an effective sheep farming business plan.

  • Before starting a sheep farming business gather knowledge about sheep. Learn everything about sheep breeding, housing, care, and maintenance.
  • Give careful consideration to the sheep’s hooves to keep your sheep’s foot healthy and pain-free.
  • During lambing time ewes and lambs need extra care and maintenance. Both mother ewe and newborn babies need to be shepherded in a secure birthing place. It’s also necessary to protect the babies from predators’ attacks.
  • Besides cow and horse manure sheep waste also has an exceptional value in the market. Try to use it utmost as an exceptional garden fertilizer. 
  • The proper marketing plan is necessary to maintain commercial sheep farming. From selecting sheep to breeding an effective marketing plan is compulsory.
  • A commercial farming business can be possible if all of your sheep can stay healthy and productive. Try to make a good connection with a breeder and make every breeding hygienic and safe. 

Have Any Questions?

01. How many sheep should you start with?

As a companion animal or backyard pet sheep is an incredible choice. But it’s always best to start with less. Although, the number of sheep should depend on the size of your land. For instance, if you had 1 acre of land then you are capable of supporting two sheep.  Also, you need fertile land and enough rainfall to raise plenty of sheep. Therefore, start to raise sheep according to your land capabilities.

02. How much land do you need for 1 sheep?

Obviously, you don’t need a big land to raise only one sheep.  1 acre of land is more than enough to raise 1 sheep. For small firms, backyard sheep is the most popular choice. So if you want to start raising sheep arrange a land of 1 acre.

03. Is there money in sheep farming?

Sheep farming is a profitable business. It opens the door to get multiple profits. A shepherd can make a profit from sheep’s meat, wool, and milk. The highest-quality meat of lamb is world-famous and lucrative to everyone. Also, enough tons of wool is perfect to make a profit. Moreover, a productive sheep flock is an awesome medium to earn a lot of money.

04. How much does it cost to start a sheep farm?

Sheep farming business plan is mandatory to start a productive sheep farm. Afterward, you must need enough budget to start small-acreage farms. If you are planning to start a sheep farm with a 30-ewe flock then you need almost $52 annual cash operating cost for each ewe. $187.50 and $235.84 is the estimated startup cost to start a productive sheep farm.

05. Are Sheep expensive to raise?

Sheep are quite reasonable and cost-effective to raise. Sheep prices are much lower in the market.

To make money there is no better option than sheep farming. Small farmers should consider it as a prime source of earning. You can get high-quality meal, wool and milk from a small amount of investment. You can start raising sheep with a minimal upfront cost and a small acre of land.

06. How much are sheep selling for?

The annual firm price of lamb is almost $75 hundredweight (cwt). You can sell each ewe at $12.77. If a farmer wants to be economically successful then he should add some healthy ewe to the flock. $106.98 is an estimated annual income of 100 ewes. From 100 ewe one can sell a minimum of 129 lambs. With fixed cost and interest average cost per sheep will be $87 to $89 which is quite cost-effective for beginners. 

Concluding Thoughts

Raising sheep is profitable for both newbie and experienced farmers. It is a wonderful source of meat and wool which is quite expensive in the current market.

Also, Sheep’s plays a big role in boosting the nation’s economy. Sheep farming is considered the most potential way to improve farmers livelihoods. Minimum amount of foods and supplement  is enough to raise this agile mammal.

Accurate planning and proper management can help you to establish a successful sheep firm. Keep in mind that sheep farming for beginners can be challenging due to its care and maintenance.  Hopefully, this article will help you to open a suitable sheep farm.

John Boyd

John Boyd has worked in U.S. Agriculture Industry for over 10 years. He now reports on the industry, aiming to give today’s producers up to date information about current and future issues. Read More

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