Sheep Care: Instructions, Tips
What is the secret of raising and raising sheep in the household? The main task of the farmer is to ensure that for the life of these animals it is necessary to create conditions identical to their natural environment. The breeders, however, sound simple, talking about how to care for sheep, they also warn of additional factors that should be given attention. What does a man need to know if, like our great-grandfathers, he encroached on a magnificent fleece, warm sheep’s skin and tasty meat?
First you have to decide on the breed. It affects little in terms of livestock care and mainly determines the resources received from sheep and the volume of meat (8 resource areas). It is worth noting the following breeds:
- Fat tail (meat-greasy breed). Fatty animals are naturally given the so-called fatty tail – a fat sack in the tail. They are suitable for the extraction of fat.
- Romanovskaya (meat-meat direction) is the most common and resilient. It is appreciated for its skin and coat, which are used to make light and warm clothes. It gets along well in the middle zone of Russia.
- Stavropol (wool breed). Strongly knit animals with a thick skin and a large volume of wool. Used for the preparation of wool and fat.
- Kuibyshevskaya (meat direction). Fine-woolly, fleshy and prolific representatives. Actual breed of Russian farmers selling sheep meat.
Livestock breeders may also prefer crosses – crossing 1, 2 or even 3 breeds for better productivity.
Sheep are herd animals that must graze together. They are not distinguished by a special mind, sharpness of perception and memory; shy enough. They do not have a clear hierarchy in the herd.
Everything is limited by the fact that the role of leader is played by a large ram, a donkey (in the southern regions) or a goat (they are often raised in parallel with sheep), sometimes the uterus.
These are conservative animals that are difficult to get used to with new conditions.
The number of goals that can be successfully looked after at a hobby level is 30. Over time, this figure can be increased to an entrepreneurial scale – 500 pcs. In this case, profitability will rush up, and livestock maintenance will begin to bring tangible benefits.
The average numbers that suit most farmers are 130-150 sheep. At the same time, in the summer time the number of cattle will increase to 190 units, and in the winter it will drop to 120.
Therefore, by spring, during the breeding season, on average, about 100 sheep remain “on hand”.
Using the example of this quantity (100 pcs.), We give the following proportion, which must be observed by the farmer:
- the three rams producing
- 40 rams for slaughter
- the rest are lamb-sheep that will be kittens in early spring
Under the butcher’s knife are mainly male animals. Lambs are necessary to maintain livestock reproduction. They give birth 2 times a year (gestational age 5 months) for 2-4 lamb. Clog the uterus after 4 years of “service.”
An ideal option for sheep breeding is a pasture-stall method, in which animals combine walks in the fields and life under the roof. Their reproduction will depend on this – a sedentary lifestyle has a bad effect on offspring. Exits to freedom must be subject to a strict schedule:
- 5:00 – first transfer to the pasture
- 12:00 – return to the stall to get drunk
- 15:00 – departure to the fields
- 23:00 – return to the night
For small farms, strictly adhering to this schedule is not necessary.
By nature, sheep are pasture animals. Almost all breeds feel more favorable in dry climatic zones. They should walk all year round. However, in our latitudes it is impossible to ensure that sheep graze 365 days a year.
Therefore, despite the fact that they transfer enclosed spaces worse than others, a person must take care of the “living space” – to acquire land and build a cattle or a shepherd. This is the place where the herd will return after pasture, winter, and also kitten.
Sheep dwellings should be as close as possible to their natural habitat: walls made of wood, clay floors, the room is well ventilated (without drafts), dry and illuminated (windows and electric light).
The interior of the barn is simple: nurseries, feeders, partitions. Its area is determined at the rate of 400 m2 per 200 livestock units (an adult requires 2 m2 of free area, a lamb – 1 m2).
Usually the construction plan is L-shaped with windows for adequate lighting. It is divided into two parts (for reared sheep and not reared). In the center of the building there is a room for staff.
It is advisable to build an additional extension, where sheep can be placed separately so that they do not interfere with the females during the period of sexual activity decline.
On cold days, indoor heat is maintained from the sheep themselves. In winter, depending on the temperature (if below -10 ° C), the stall is sheathed with insulation. Sometimes a furnace is installed so that the lambs do not freeze: their wool is still not enough to warm themselves.
How to care for sheep at home, if sheep walking is difficult due to lack of pasture? In this case, the farmer will acquire an aviary – a fenced area in the open air adjacent to the shepherd.
Of the additional buildings, it is advisable to erect a covered corral where the herd will go to the watering place, as well as to shelter from the rain. Sheep does not tolerate dampness.
Sheep are herbivores. On average, they eat 2 kg of hay per day. They also eat oats – 500 g per day. You can feed with barley or bran, but not for long, due to the fact that animals quickly gain weight. The most nutritious are clover or bean crops. Unsuitable will be sedge and chintik. Combined feeds are expensive. They are used exclusively on an industrial scale for sheep breeding.
Combined feeds are expensive. They are used exclusively on an industrial scale for sheep breeding.
Animal food must be natural. Eating sheep in summer is grass that grows on pasture. Free range makes up for the lack of vitamins.
This is enough for their healthy development. However, the farmer must make sure that iodized salt (15 g per individual) and chalk as a source of calcium are present in the sheep’s diet.
Experts who understand how to care for sheep in winter argue that in winter you should stock up on hay at the rate of 30 tons per 150 heads. Newborn Lambs Sometimes a farmer is forced to monitor the nutrition of young animals. The lamb of a sheep depends on the breed. For example, a Romanov sheep brings about 4 lambs at a time, however, it is able to feed only two. Therefore, the breeder must take care of those newborns who will be short of food.
For feeding, cow or goat milk is used. After 4 months, the lambs are brave of the uterus and accustomed to independent “adult” nutrition. It is important to keep feeders and drinkers clean.
Animals concern this issue very scrupulously and will not begin to eat up the leftover remains and drink muddy water.
Trimming animals is carried out once a year in May or June. Sheep overgrown in a year can hardly tolerate molting – the wool falls off in pieces, causing pain to them, rolling into tangles. Sent to slaughter also first go through the process of cutting.
The procedure is performed by two people, one of which holds the individual, and the second removes the hair from the animal.
The herd lives according to the law “the strongest survives.” Therefore, if a sheep is sick, it is easier to send for slaughter than to engage in treatment. However, the farmer should not throw it on its own. There are certain rules for caring for the health of sheep:
- Inoculate animals 2 times a year (the veterinary service deals with this issue).
- Before leaving for the winter for stall maintenance, sanitize the room and equipment.
- The second disinfection procedure is carried out in the spring. All newcomers “newcomers” should be quarantined for a month and only then allowed into the enclosures.
Most often, sheep suffer from helminth infections and ailments associated with suppuration of hooves. This is due to the poor tolerance of damp areas, lowlands, swampy pastures.
Experts advise keeping the livestock in dry conditions, cutting hooves before the start of the grazing season (spring). From the worms the folk method helps: vodka diluted with water (1: 1) with the addition of 3 heads of garlic (pour it into the animal inside).
Antiparasitic pharmacy drugs also save. To maintain the health of the sheep, invite a veterinarian to them at least 2 times a year.
The mass of an adult ram can reach 180 kg. With the right selection of meat breed, it turns out to help him gain up to 60% of meat and 6 kg of wool. Slaughter of an animal occurs at the age of 1-2 years, if it is not neutered. And sheep’s fluff can be used to make yarn and create clothes, quilts, felt boots. Chubby animals provide valuable fat that is good for men’s health.
Among farmers, sheep and sheep are considered moderately unpretentious. They are well accustomed to humans and are ideal for small farms measuring 10-15 hectares.
They are valued for their small size (after slaughter, the carcass is convenient to cut, there are no problems with storing a relatively small amount of meat) and resources that can be obtained from one animal (wool, lamb, milk, fat). Caring for these animals will not take much time; both men and women can take care of them.