Any money to be made raising sheep??? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 04/27/06, 05:33 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minnesota
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Any money to be made raising sheep???

Around here it seems as though the sheep have to be on hay for a good 25 weeks out of the year......The way I figured you would definently have to average over 100% lamb crop to show any profit......I would be interested in hearing any comments, experiences, thoughts, advice....etc..

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Old 04/27/06, 09:11 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario
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150% lambign crop (that is walking onto a truck finished) is a typical average, easy to mess up but reliable enough to judge your managment against. If all you're selling is lamb yeah you'll need that to make the sheep show a small profit. Add some effort to selling fleece etc. and you'll likely show a decent profit, find other things to market, milk, manure, hides, processed or retail products and that margin goes up again. They sell lamb placenta for something and there's undoubtably a dozen other things you'd never think of! Pretty much like any other venture, but sheep will have more things to market than cattle etc. We retail meat and are processing wool with some profit to show early going but its not "easy".

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Old 04/27/06, 11:04 PM
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hill Country, Texas
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What percentage represents your lamb crop is RELATIVE. California Red sheep which are descendant from both Tunis sheep and Blackbelly Barbado (both heat tolerant sheep) breed in any month of the year. Properly managed you will get 3 lambings every 2 years on a consistent basis. Thats a 50% increase in production over most sheep breeds. They are known for twinning and triples, are medium to large sheep with few lambing problems and excellent fleece. Our production this past lambing cycle was twins out of every ewe - 200%.

See this website for more info:

www.nmredsheep.meridian1.net

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Old 04/28/06, 07:26 AM
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Location: Ontario
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Yeah so do my Rideaus, natural accelerated lambing. You can get 3 in 2 with any breed and sponges, if you want to manage lambing at different times of the year its fine. Personally I find one lambing season a year is plenty, I can target grass and cheaper growth. 150% lambing crop is what most sheep can do when well managed. If a person raising sheep wasn't getting 150% they should know why, be a breed limitiation or a management issue. 200% lamb crops are common enough, but not something I'd have a beginer thinking is easy in a large flock over 100 ewes. In a well culled small flock of 30 or 40 (and certainly less ewes), under reasonalbe care, there's considerably less work, and you'd expect a higher lambing average than 150%. Interestingly I've never met a PB breeder who wasn't saying they get 200% or better. Some take it to unimaginable heights that are difficult to beleive. 600 ewes, all with twins at least and no deaths bottle feeding or lambing problems. 350% lamb crops, in Ontario, through winter, .....yeah right. How discouraging is that when a newbie can't get even half way there? Maybe the idea was to pick thier pocket and have them quit before they became competition?

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  #5  
Old 04/28/06, 05:20 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minnesota
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My sheep are Dorper and Dorper/Dorset cross, next year Im thinking of having them lamb in april instead of febuary when the weather can be so cold. My plan is to mostly raise them on pasture sub dividing pattocks to get the most from my pasture. Im also thinking of adding a few Katahdin ewes.

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Old 04/28/06, 09:02 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Washington State
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A lot also depends on how you're making that money and the particular market you're focusing on. I'm not set up for anything more than half a dozen sheep, and even that's pushing it. We started with lawn mowers, basically. They were cheap, cheap, cheap ($25 each), but we've been able to market their cross bred lambs to folks who want one in the freezer. Not much need for feed on spring lambs, and their sale pays for the mamma's feed.

My profit, small as it is with this few animals, comes from making soap from ewe's milk and spinning or felting the wool. Not everyone wants to mess with that kinda stuff, but for me, with the ecclectic little flock I've got, it works.

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  #7  
Old 05/01/06, 01:48 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SE Ohio
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Hi!
If you are going to lamb late - go for May instead. In southern Ohio, we pasture lamb our Katahdins the first 2 weeks of May,and its been working out fine for us. April is still pretty iffy for cold, windy, prolonged rain, which is hard on newbrons.
Unless you have flystrike problems.....we don't seem to get that type fly in this area until June.
Lisa at Somerhill
www.somerhillfarm.com

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