Post by milkmachine on Aug 3, 2019 23:12:01 GMT -5
I'm thinking of raising some hair sheep, either katahdins or Royal Whites. I wanted to get a feel for what kind of workload I'd be assuming if I get some. Maybe it's too vague of a question. How does raising lamb compare to having a milk cow (or two,or three)? How hard IS lambing? In my mind's eye it seems like meat sheep would be a lot simpler & less work than dairying. If I get some I would start smallish (4 -10 max). I would aim for pasture lambing to try & keep things somewhat more hands off. I would love to hear what your general experiences have been with sheep. Are they more work than you thought? Less? As hard as keeping dairy cows? Easier? Anything you really wish you knew before getting started? Are there any sites like KFC for small flock owners? Thanks!
I've raised Katahdins for around 7 years, cattle for 2-3 years and I've been considering getting rid of the cows and going all sheep. I would definitely do it if I didn't like having cows on the farm so much. I think the sheep are way easier, they eat less and the profit margins are better. My farm income is meat lambs, beef cattle, nothing crazy I only sell 4 for beef per year and I do the milk just for our own enjoyment and to have quality milk. I've been getting frustrated with the AI success rate, which means I'm feeding non producing cows for months at a time and my herd is too small to justify a bull. Keeping a couple rams around is pretty cheap and they're fairly safe to be around.
Lambing is pretty easy, if one does get stuck which is pretty rare you're only going in wrist deep. I guess the worst part is there's very little room to maneuver your hand around. They're a lot easier to load into a trailer, remember if you need to you can just pick them up. I suppose the worst part is you have to fight worms with sheep and goats but it's not too bad, pasture rotation helps a lot and learning the right way to worm.
We have Whiltshire which is a hair meat sheep. I love them. We have very few issues usually, low maintenance, vaccination, tagging etc. We had 2 years of perfect lambing, and 2 years of horror lambing, with big lambs which were not able to get into position. But easy pulls without all the equipment you often need for a cow.
One thing I have found is, sheep are either indestructible or they just turn up their toes and die. There is little to no diva action like you get with cows.
They will flourish on pasture that a cow would starve on. And easy to man handle of you need to.
Lambs are the cutest of all baby animals. Very easy to raise on a bottle if you need to. We have had no dramas with scours or being strict on temp of bottle like you need to with calves.
High risk with preditors though, so need to be able to keep them close or have a herd guard
I have wool breeds and dairy breeds of sheep. Sheep ( for me at least ) are way easier to keep contained then other animals. As long as you have sheep that are easy lambers you should be fine. With mean sheep I doubt you have to worry about MF and Ketosis like dairy sheep. You’ll be shocked how easy sheep are! Just make sure the sheep don’t get into the chicken or cow food. Copper poisoning is a big thing with sheep.
I have hair sheep and love them. I just got more ewes so that next spring I'll have a nice amount of lambs to go to market. The lambs stay really close to their mothers, unlike goat kids. My sheep never look for holes in a fence, but I do keep my fences in good shape just in case. Predators are a problem at lambing if you don't have them in a barn. I keep mine on lock down when they are close to lambing, because a black vulture, or a fox can make a serious dent in your lamb population.
I've only had to pull two lambs in the 7 years I've been raising them. I have had to raise a few bottle babies, but they are easy to raise. I would recommend that you get at least one LGD that stays with your flock. Sheep sometimes are looking for a reason to die, but the hardy ones can weather about anything. They can do well in the rain, unlike goats that think they will melt when wet. I have a run in shed that the sheep can go into whenever they want to. They will jump on a round bale of hay and potty on it.
Post by simplynaturalfarm on Aug 4, 2019 17:05:17 GMT -5
I got out of sheep because butcher fee and costs were prohibitive - I notice gabe brown got out of then this year for same reason. They charge $50+ per animal then .75 c and not many places will butcher anymore. It adds massive cost to raising.
If you plan to butcher yourself this isn't an issue.
I found fencing a challenge, deep snow in winter a challenge and their pickiness over hay irritating. But I loved them - I had dorperx katahdin crosses. I've had aggressive Rams and that is mighty dangerous. Not a lot of Rams available locally so that became expensive.
I've had a small flock of hair sheep for 5 years. Love them.
We're located in the southeast. I've never wormed them or pulled a lamb. I famacha score them regularly - especially in the wet season, make sure they always have minerals and kelp but they're truly no muss, no fuss. They graze rotationally; the rams in electronets, the ewes in a 3 line twine fence. I put them through the pasture as well as the forest, so they're able to utilize twice as much land as the cattle. During the winter they're on hay and alfalfa but the inputs are very low. Compared to the cow, they're indiscriminate eaters, snipping off seedheads, leaves and plowing through pasture that would be considered too far gone for a dairy cows tastes
Our inspected slaughter is $50, butcher and package is $1/lb. The resale value if you attend a farmers market is high.....practically pure profit given the low maintenance cost of the breeding flock. We have found that folks mostly want ground, stew chunks, shanks and chops but for the holiday season we make sure to have some shoulders and legs available.
My son and his wife raise hair sheep. It is less work than milking cows, especially once you get the hang of it. They have a good ethnic market for the lambs.
www.bestyetaisires.com Breeder of Milking Shorthorn and Dutch Belted cattle that have been in our family for decades. Our family can't imagine life without milk cows! We love to help others get started on a life with cows.
claytonpaul: A bull was put on her herd Late Last May so she was expected to be due between May1 and August. They quoted me August so I wouldn't be disappointing by a late arrival.
May 23, 2019 13:07:11 GMT -5
Trim: I'm baaaaacccckkkk!
Aug 31, 2019 17:57:22 GMT -5
alpacalexi: My mini jersey cow is pregnant, however the last couple days her udder has deflated. My vet saw her on the 23 and said delivery in a couple weeks Is there a reason for her deflating?
Oct 2, 2019 17:17:00 GMT -5
Trim: She probably aborted a while back. That happened to one of my animals. She was bagging up but within a short while of her "due date" she began to deflate. I had no idea what had happened. I was seriously bummed out.
Feb 8, 2020 20:46:23 GMT -5
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