304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Can You Keep Sheep As Pets?
Can you keep a sheep as an indoor pet? Any breed of sheep can be kept as a pet. Hair sheep are a good choice because they will not require shearing. As sheep are a social animal, you should get at least two, preferably a small flock (5-6).
Can you keep sheep in your backyard? Can you raise sheep in a large backyard? In some cases the answer is yes. Sheep are adaptable and can be cared for in a paddock or small field if their needs are met. We have successfully raised goats for many years, a small herd of beef cattle and my sweet little herd of sheep.
Do you need permission to keep sheep? Whether you keep a couple of sheep as pets or have a commercial herd or flock, you need to be registered as a holding, which means you need to apply for a County Parish Holding number (CPH) from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).
A general rule of thumb is that 1 acre of land can support two sheep, but this varies greatly based on rainfall and your soil quality. If rain is plentiful and your soil rich, your land may support more than two sheep per acre, while an acre in drought-ridden area may not support even one.
For the small farmer or homesteader, Merino sheep would be a good choice for home meat production because they are easy keepers. Although the lambs won’t reach standard market rate as quickly as those of other breeds, small-scale operations can certainly afford to forgive this tidbit.
Cotswold sheep are usually calm and friendly. It is also a dual-purpose breed producing both meat and wool.
Sheep that are accustomed to people enjoy being petted by their humans. However, sheep that are unaccustomed to people do not like to be petted and their fight or flight response is activated. Sheep approached by strangers may react favorably or not, depending on their level of socialization to multiple people.
Sheep are perfectly”designed” to not only live on grass alone, but thrive on it! They can carry multiple lambs, make milk to nurse their young and really put on their weight with access to high quality forage.
Sheep can live on grass alone, since they are ruminants.
Sheep can live their entire lives doing just fine on grass and other forages like hay. Don’t be too literal here and leave out water and minerals! Even though grass is mostly water, sheep still need to have water available.
You can reasonably expect to keep six to ten sheep on an acre of grass and as much as 100 sheep on 30 acres of pasture. If you want to keep more than an acre can sustain, you’ll have to look into purchasing additional land as you’ll likely need to rotate your flock to keep them fed.
Making money with sheep
To make money raising sheep, you would need at least several hundred ewes, probably more than 500. While there are some farmers who make a majority of their income from sheep farming, sheep raising is more often a part-time or secondary enterprise of a farm.
While this will vary, a younger (two-to-four-year-old) productive commercial (non-registered) ewe can usually be purchased for $200 to $250. Depending on their age, lambs can be bought for $75 to $150. Older ewes (five years and up) are usually less, but they will have fewer productive years left.
Raising fiber animals is popular among homesteaders, especially those who knit. You will need to figure on one acre of pasture land for each three adult sheep you plan on raising and your shelter should allow for 15 square feet for each ewe and her lambs.
The average lifespan of a sheep is 10-12 years, although the age at which they cease to be ‘commercially productive’ is around 5 years earlier, hence most domestic sheep are killed at around half of their potential lifespan.
If a sheep goes too long without being shorn, a number of problems occur. This can cause sheep to become overheated and die. Urine, feces and other materials become trapped in the wool, attracting flies, maggots and other pests. This causes irritation, infections and endangers the health of the animal.
If your herd of sheep has food, water, and shelter, they can be left alone for about 8 hours. However, there are some dangers to leaving them alone, such as if they escape or a predator breaks in. In general, sheep should be checked on once in the morning and once at night and have a livestock guardian with them.
The Katahdin, St. Croix, Barbados and Dorper are the most popular breeds of hair sheep raised for meat. The Katahdin is a hardy, easy-lambing animal that produces a quality carcass. The Dorper, though a bit fattier if not processed early, is also a good meat breed choice.
Happy sheep will graze until they are full.
Sheep are all about eating grass and being chuck full, so they can go lay down and rest. When you see sheep grazing, you know they feel safe and are finding forages they like to eat in their pasture, which makes them happy.
The truth is all animals can bite (even you); however, for goats or sheep it is really hard to bite someone. This is true because they have a flat palate on their upper jaw in the front of their mouth. They use this flat palate to help them strip the leaves off of branches or to pull in the hay that they eat.
A Texel lamb has become the world’s most expensive sheep after being sold for almost £368,000 at an auction in Scotland. The six-month-old Texel ram was sold in Lanark by breeder Charlie Boden to a consortium of sheep farmers.
Show lambs should be correct in their skeletal or bone structure. The lamb’s neck should be erect and extend out of the top of the shoulder. The top line should be long, level and straight. The legs should have a large circumference or diameter of bone.
Your sheep are going to show affection when they’re in a good mood, and you can spot when they’re feeling happy versus stressed or fearful. When your sheep are happy, they will have their ears back and look relaxed. Often, sheep that are in good moods keep their eyes barely open.
Variable costs, including feed and labor, range from $74.45 to $77.03 per ewe. Fixed costs, including interest, average $12.77 per ewe. This puts total costs at about $87 to $89 per head.
Regular mowing is great for pastures. Immature, leafy grass plants are high in nutritive value (energy, protein) while mature, stemmy grass plants with seed heads have lower nutrition but higher fiber. Regular mowing encourages the plant to replace leaves instead of going to seed.