Getting started raising sheep/ why many people are raising sheep

Ever since man domesticated sheep thousands of years ago, it has been impossible to separate man and sheep. Everywhere you go, in any corner of the globe, you will find a man who owns some sheep. People have been raising sheep for many years to serve various purposes. These furry creatures have a lot to offer humans which has made them one of the most popular animals for farmers to have in their farm alongside cows, chicken, among others. If you are looking to start raising sheep, you may want to know the benefits you can expect. Some of them are as follows:
A. FOOD
In the early days, men used to spend hours hunting in forests to get meat. While they were mostly successful, there were days they had to sleep hungry because a deer ran too fast. The main reason people started raising sheep in their homes is because they wanted a source of meat without having to spend hours hunting in forests to get it. You only needed a small space to raise the goats, some grass in your farm and that’s it.
Mutton is among the world’s most popular meat types since it is accepted by all mainstream religions and also because it tastes great. If you are a meat lover, mutton is probably in your top three favorite types of meat. In addition to great taste, mutton is an excellent iron source, immune booster and a protein powerhouse. Mutton is alsoa rich source of healthy fats such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
While you can get quality mutton off any sheep breeds, there are some breeds that are known to be best for mutton production. Such breeds usually have faster body weight gains, fast maturity rates, high feed conversion efficiency and a noticeably better taste. Some of the best mutton breeds include the Dorset, Suffolk, and Southdown breeds.
In addition to meat, sheep are also an excellent source of milk. While it may not be as common as cow milk, sheep milk is a delicious alternative and also has a host of health benefits such as the ability to strengthen bones, boost immune system, lower cholesterol levels, stimulate growth and development, reduce inflammation, prevent birth defects, and lower blood pressure. Not many people know this, but sheep milk is superior to cow milk in many ways and also has a unique, delicious flavor that many people have grown to love. However, not all breeds can be raised for milk production. The best milk production breeds include the East Friesian sheep, Awassi breed, Assaf Sheep, British milk sheep, Lacaune sheep, among others.
B. ECONOMIC PURPOSES
As sheep gained popularity in different parts of the world, the demand for sheep products grew as well. People developed new ways of raising sheep to cater for the growing demand for mutton, sheep milk and other sheep products. Currently, there are millions of sheep farmers making a living out of selling sheep products. Since they don’t require a lot of attention, sheep farming has become a popular enterprise for a lot of part-time and beginner farmers.
The leading sheep products are meat, milk, and wool. Different breeds have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to production of these products. You will hardly find a breed that will give you all three products in great quality and quantities. As such, before you begin raising sheep for economic purposes, you must decide the main product you will be raising the sheep for. You also need to ensure you provide adequate housing for your clock with the optimum conditions recommended for raising your type of breed.
Sheep farming and other agricultural ventures also come with numerous tax benefits in most countries. Some people raise sheep on their land so that it can be taxed at the significantly lower agricultural land tax rates. The sheep serve as a tax write=off. Farm expenditures incurred when raising sheep and other livestock can be written off against the ordinary income. This includes capital purchases which are also exempt from sales tax.
C. ENVIRONMENTAL PURPOSES
Some people keep sheep as a way of maintaining and improving their landscapes. Their small size, desire for varied diet, and upland grazing preferences makes sheep ideal for vegetation control, particularly for areas covered by grass and forbs. Their small hooves help minimize soil erosion and compaction. Sheep have provided an eco-friendly way of weed and other unwanted vegetation control.
Sheep are also known to be an excellent source of manure. According to studies, sheep manure contains more phosphorous, nitrogen, and potash than cow and horse manure. Sheep manure contains these and more essential elements that help plants grow stronger roots, boosts defense against pests and diseases, and helps plants grow into productive and vibrant plants.
D. QUALITY OF LIFE
Some people just keep sheep to raise the quality of their life. Just like many other domestic animals, having sheep around generally leads to a better quality of life. Families who enjoy the rural lifestyle know the value of sheep and even use them as a way to introduce their kids about animal husbandry, plant cultivation and other aspects of farming. The ease of raising goats and their small size makes them perfect for young children, women, and disabled people.
People who own sheep can also participate in exhibitions to show how they are raising sheep and the fruits of their labor. Raising lambs makes for a great school project for the kids and also a great learning tool for future commercial sheep farmers.
Sheep farming has also been used as a hobby for retired people and people living with certain disabilities. Raising sheep can be enjoyable as they are easier to handle, cheaper to raise and require less space and attention. Some people also keep sheep as pets or companions. In this case, the best sheep to keep are ewes as horned males could be violent as they get older. Sheep should ideally be kept in flocks even as pets.
Set Your Goals and Objectives
Whatever your reason is for raising sheep, you must first define your objectives so that you can make other related decisions based on that. Goal setting involves determining whether you are keeping the sheep for meat, dairy, or wool and if you will be selling the products or using them to satisfy your own needs. If you are raising goats as a commercial enterprise, you need to choose a niche and have a ready market for your products. It is always recommended to have a business plan so that you can run everything in a streamlined, efficient way.
CONCLUSION
Anybody who has raised sheep can tell you that when done right, the benefits will definitely outweigh the cost and effort put into raising sheep. Sheep farming is awesome and fun for most farmers. In addition, due to the high and ever growing demand for sheep products, it is one of the most profitable agricultural undertakings you can try. Due to the ease of raising lambs, it is never too late or too early to start sheep farming.