Lots of sheep questions...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by sred98, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. sred98

    sred98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2008
    Oklahoma
    Ok...looks like we are closer to getting the house next to our 5 acres. This will give us 15 acres. Things will be very tight for the next year, as it will take almost all of our savings to do it. [​IMG] We had talked about having goats, since they are so multi-purpose (meat, milk, grass trimming-HA!) plus friendly. Now, what I am wondering is, my kids really prefer sheep (mutton or lamb) to goat meat, so should we go that route? I am making plans for after the new year, sometime early spring, so I want to be informed.

    I know you can make cheese out of the sheep's milk, how is the taste for drinking? What about the fat content?

    I've read on here that they aren't as friendly as goats and the rams can be hateful. Would I need to cull every lamb ram? Would 2 rams (father and son) fight? Would it be possible to pen the ram away from the rest of us or should he be with the rest of the ewes?

    When people say they eat grass, does that mean everything in sight like goats? Or, are they more selective? The area I'm thinking about has some flower beds around the perimeter. Would these need to be fenced, and would the fencing even keep them out?

    Which brings me to my next question...what kind of fencing would they need? There's barb wire and wood around the perimeter. Would a chain link work for their area? How tall? How high can they jump? Would electric tape help across the top and lower part of the barb wire and the top of the chain link? How bad are they at escaping and would a LGD help with that?

    How many sheep on about 3-4 acres? How close do they crop the grass? Is it as bad as horses? Will it be pure dirt in a month? [​IMG] Do you have to supplement with hay in the summer? What about grains?

    What is a good amount to start out with? I would like to get a nice sized flock (maybe one ram and 4 ewes?) and use the lambs for meat. That's just a number I threw out there, so it's not set in stone. How many sets of lambs do they have in a year? Are they usually singles, twins?

    How is their health? Are they pretty self-sufficient? Any trimming or anything like that? If I get a kind I don't have to shear, could they survive in the winter in Oklahoma? Do they need a barn in the winter?

    Thanks so much for the patience with all my questions. I am trying to figure out what the best meat producer will be. I'll be getting more chickens, so I'll have eggs and meat from them. I doubt I'll be able to talk DH into a calf, but sheep, maybe... [​IMG]

    Shelly
     
  2. sred98

    sred98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2008
    Oklahoma
    I know someone on here has to have sheep...no opinions or advice for me? [​IMG]

    I was doing more research online and saw a breed called the dorper (1/2 dorset 1/2 persian) sounds like it might work. Anyone here familiar with this breed?

    Shelly
     
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I have sheep. Think of them like cows. They graze all day long except when they are chewing their cude. If grass is short they need hay. My sheep also get a feed ration as they are bred and need the extra nutrition.

    If you don't have a natural water source they will need a stock tank with water.

    I have wire fencing and electric. Once they learn home they don't stray.

    I provide mine with shelter as they choose. It is my opinion they need the choice of being out of the elements. You also need a place for birthing in cold weather.

    Even sheep not bred specifically for wool will need shearing at least once a year. Except some hair sheep and naturally shedding types - not real easy to find those here.

    I have dairy sheep, wool sheep and dual purpose/meat sheep.

    I have never drank the raw milk but cheese from sheep milk is awesome.

    They also need worming, hoove trimming and basic shots yearly.

    Get a good book on sheep. Read read read before you get them. Also check around for a vet that will treat them if needed. Like goats and chickens not all vets will tend sheep.
     
  4. dutchhollow

    dutchhollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2008
    SW IA
    Since I have both, I will answer with my expierience.
    Sheep easier to keep in
    sheep eat grass not browse
    other then that, and the fact they can't have the same minerals, goats need a level of copper that is toxic to sheep, mine get the same care.
    You breed choice will make the answers to your other questions different.
    You will never need to shear hair sheep (dorper, khatadin, painted desert, texas dahl). They grow a thick heavy coat in the fall and shed it off in the spring, to have a coat like a goat.
    I prefer goat meat to lamb, and so does just about everyone I know that has had both. The hair sheep to me taste better as they don't have the lanolin (which to me smells bad, and probably why I don't like lamb meat or mutton all that much, the reason I got hair sheep).
    I purchased two rams and two ewes, the rams could not be kept together, I have heard the same report from others, not it was breeding season when I got them. But, my bucks have not problem togehter (that are raised together, not thrown in with a buck they don't know during breeding season, with in heat does next door).
    Personality, goats win hands down!
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Forks, Virginia
    Quote:I agree 100%!!

    Goats have such a great personality!

    I much prefer my goats. [​IMG]
     
  6. sred98

    sred98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2008
    Oklahoma
    Thanks for the responses. I am thinking that sheep may be the way to go in our front yard (about 3 acres). I will check into the hair sheep that you mentioned, dutch. Thanks for the suggestions. The Khatadin are really cool looking! LOL! I haven't heard of the Painted Desert or Texas Dahl. I'll read up on them. I would much rather have a shearless sheep, as I don't have any use for the wool, and wanted a more low-maintenance type grazer.

    Is there a specific book on sheep that anyone suggests?

    Thanks again,

    Shelly
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Story's Guides are usually chock full of basic care. Start there and if you need more breed specifics look for those books.
     

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