If you own a farm, you might want to consider raising sheep as livestock. Sheep offer a number of benefits to farmers and livestock producers. If this option is feasible for you, you also need to understand the essential steps in determining which breed to raise and which feeding system to use to raise healthy animals. Here are just a few benefits of raising sheep:
Sheep thrive on a mixed diet and they feed mainly on vegetation. This makes them excellent animals for weed and vegetation control. They are small- to medium-sized animals who are well adapted for upland grazing. Raising sheep is like raising live lawn mowers in that they graze on grass and other vegetation, hence improving and maintaining your farm’s agricultural landscape. They basically feed themselves, provided there is sufficient vegetation available on your farm.
Sheep can be raised as livestock, hence providing your farm a way to generate income. They can be sold for meat or to other farmers who want to raise them as livestock, or to people who want them as pets. Furthermore, raising sheep helps reduce your taxes as a livestock farmer. Capital purchases and farm expenses related to sheep raising are considered deductibles from the taxable income.
Raising sheep is an excellent activity for many people, especially teens and young children. Many parents allow their children to care for sheep to help them gain a better appreciation for animal and plant life, particularly within the context of farming. Sheep are gentle and calm creatures, and small enough even for young children to care for.
Sheep are also great pets for the elderly. Older people will find that raising sheep can be relaxing and an excellent way for them to spend their time and get busy. Sheep are easy to care for and do not require high maintenance, making them a good option as pets for older people. Retirees may also want to consider raising sheep to augment their income. Sheep do not require a big capital outlay and they require a minimal expenditure in terms of equipment for care and shelter, and breeding costs.
People who raise and train herding dogs for competition often raise their own sheep. Sheep are excellent animals to work with for herding dogs because they are generally sturdy animals that can endure high temperatures outdoors and workouts that challenge them physically. Wethers (rams that have been castrated) are available for training any time of the year, allowing herding dogs opportunities for regular practice.
Sheep make great companions. They are generally agreeable creatures that get along well with humans and other animals. They are calm, forgiving, and provide quiet companionship on days when you simply want to lay back and relax after a hard day’s work. Small children will appreciate a lamb as a pet because they are playful, social animals that can be trained to do tricks. In spite of their appearance, sheep are smart animals that are known to find ingenious ways to get around a problem. They are also quite trusting of humans.
If you are considering keeping sheep as pets, consider wethers or ewes, or younger lambs because they tend to be calmer and less aggressive than intact males. Choose the non-horned variety to avoid accidents. Sheep need basic care and protection from predators, but if you prefer to avoid shearing, go for hair sheep. Since sheep are social creatures, it is also a good idea to raise at least a pair or a small flock to keep them happy.