Why raise hair sheep?
How can we improve sheep production?
Sheep have been a good companion to small farmers since the early days of history.
Hair sheep are well adapted to the tropics.
Wool sheep are well adapted to cold climates.
Hair sheep are a good complement to small farm production.
They give: meat (mutton), skins, animals for sale and droppings as a fertilizer.
A few sheep are enough for a small farmer.
They live on easy to find forage and fresh water.
.... but with good management production might be improved.
We will review some advantages of raising sheep in this chapter, and study how to improve sheep production throughout the entire manual.
Make a list of reasons you could give in favor of raising hair sheep.
Talk them over with your friends or family.
Here you have some reasons we found which favor hair sheep raising on small farms.
|-||Hair sheep are well adapted to the tropics.|
|-||They represent a low initial investment.|
|-||They need little care.|
|-||They give meat, animals for sale and other by-products.|
|-||Hair sheep are prolific animals.|
|-||They grow fast.|
|-||They are easy to feed.|
|-||Hair sheep are resistant to disease.|
Compare them with yours.
Hair sheep represent a low investment when buying them.
You can easily compare prices of cows, pigs and goats with those of sheep.
Why don't you find them out?
Sheep are prolific animals.
In two years one ewe can have three lambings.
In a few months you will have meat for home use or for sale
Lambs grow rapidly.
|At birth||2 kg or more|
|12 weeks||12 kg|
|1 year||25 kg or more|
They are easy to feed
What a cow eats is enough for six hair sheep.
... and they eat forage that pigs and cows cannot use.
We may summarize this as follows:
|-||Hair sheep give us meat, skins, animals for sale and droppings as a fertilizer.|
|-||They are easy to raise.|
|-||They serve as a savings account when cash is needed.|
|-||Sheep transform low quality forage into good meat for human use.|
IMPROVING SHEEP PRODUCTION
In order to improve hair sheep productivity, farmers should:
Choose good breeders.
This means: healthy good size, young animals that have easy lambings and big litters.
Feed them adequately.
Complement their natural feeding by adding nutrients when necessary.
- Give your animals clean fresh water and salt.
- A healthy sheep grows rapidly. - An ill sheep produces loss in forage, time and money. - Shade and good pasture during the daytime and a dry clean shelter at night are very important.
- Make a plan when parasites are to be eliminated. - Control your breeding. - Help to raise new born lambs. - Build good shelters.
We will work out these ideas in each of the following chapters.