How to Bring up Sheep

Sheep are gregarious, which means that they are social animals that are happiest in a group. If you want to raise sheep you should have at least four or five of them. There are many different breeds of sheep, but the care required to raise them is basically the same from one breed to the next.

  • Housing needs for sheep vary by climate, lambing season, as well as the preferences of the individual shepherd. If lambing will occur during periods of inclement weather, more elaborate housing is generally required. If lambing will occur on pasture during periods of mild weather, simple shelters may be all that is needed

  • When confined to a building, a bred ewe requires 12 to 16 square feet of living space. Lambing pens should be 16 to 25 square feet in size. In group housing, a ewe with her lambs needs 16 to 20 square feet. Feeder lambs need 8 to 10 square feet.
  • Barns should not be heated or closed up. Good ventilation is an absolute must. Respiratory problems (e.g. pneumonia and bronchitis) often result from poor ventilation. If ammonia can be smelled in the barn, ventilation is likely inadequate.
  • Bedding provides warmth, insulation, and comfort to housed animals. Various materials can be used for bedding for sheep, depending upon their cost and availability: straw, hay, dried corn stalks, corn cobs, peanut hulls, cottonseed hulls, oat hulls, sawdust, wood shavings, wood chips, pine shavings, sand, paper products, peat, hemp, and leaves. Each type of bedding has advantages and disadvantages. Straw is the traditional bedding for livestock.
  • There is disagreement as to whether sheep require shelter while they are on summer pasture, though sheep will usually choose shelter if it is available to them. Protection from heat is probably more important than protection from rain, though hair sheep are more likely to seek shelter from rain than woolly sheep and less likely to seek shade during the heat of the day.
  • Clean, fresh water is a daily necessity for sheep and lambs. Sheep will consume anywhere from ½ to 4 gallons of water per day, depending upon their physiological state, the content of water in their feed, and environmental conditions. Requirements increase greatly during late gestation and lactation. Water intake is positively correlated to feed intake
  • Feeders are a necessity for almost all livestock enterprises. Feeding on the ground results in considerable feed wastage and contributes to the spread of disease, especially internal parasites and abortion. If sheep are able to stand in their feed or feeders, they may defecate and/or urinate in the feed. Feeders need to be raised off the ground and constructed in such a way to keep sheep and lambs out (as much as possible).

Filed Under: Pets & Animals


About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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