You may have heard the term “sheeple” used in a derogatory manner. Sheeple are those folks who seemingly have no unique thoughts or ability to use critical thinking, who just blindly follow the flock. We’re here to focus on the positive connotation of sheeple – those people who just really love sheep.
Sheep aren’t usually at the top of the list for familiar livestock in the United States, but that is slowly changing. They are very versatile animals who can provide three great resources: milk, meat and fiber. They often don’t require as much space as cattle and love to hang out on pasture. What’s not to like?
Humans have been raising sheep for millennia, and for good reason. But before you start a sheep farming business, take the time to draft a proper business plan (and then follow it). Hobbies are cool, but hustles that make money are better. Be profitable sheeple!
According to Roy’s Farm, the benefits of sheep farming include: You don’t need to have a huge capital for starting a sheep farm. You don’t have to make an expensive house for your sheep. You can even house and graze them with other livestock.
The sheep farming business requires less labor than any other livestock farming business. Sheep give birth frequently, so your herd will grow quickly within a short period.
Sheep eat different kinds of plants compared to other kinds of livestock animals, so you can use them for cleaning unwanted plants from your garden or field. Sheep hardly destroy trees, unlike goats. Sheep can survive by consuming low quality grass and turning it into meat and wool. They are very hardy animals and can adopt themselves with almost all types of environment.
There are many different breeds of sheep, with certain types better suited to the different sides of production. In your business plan, decide if you’ll be marketing for meat, milk or wool, then look into those breeds.
As for housing, an adult sheep requires about 20 square feet of floor space. Make sure your indoor housing has adequate space, and if they’ll be outside in areas that may see lots of adverse weather conditions, build them sturdy shelters too.
The pasture fencing is critical. You’ll need something more robust than barbed wire or poly fencing, as the little lambs like to try to escape. Sturdy wire panels with small holes are the way to go. (I used to have a neighbor who used flimsy plastic panels, and while out running, I had to rescue more than one lamb who got tangled in the loose bits. Don’t be that person.)
The biggest issue with sheep is they tend to need frequent deworming, especially when it comes to Haemonchus, or barber pole worm. Create a care plan with your veterinarian to make sure your sheep are treated on a regular schedule to keep them healthy.
And lastly, if you’re just getting into raising sheep, take the time to enjoy them! Like all other livestock, these animals have their own personalities. Have fun with them as you raise them. Happy sheep lead to happy sheeple.