Barns, fencing and pens for sheep?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Queen Bee, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have no sheep, yet! I do hope to have a few in the future. We have 80+ acres, approx. 25 in cleared pasture ( some with some pines, oaks and bramble) we have two small ponds that are fed with springs and we have a small wet weather creek that runs thru our property. All the barns/ buildings are being torn down because they have not been maintained and are in dis-repair. We will also be removing old fencing, fence post and wire that has long been past it usefulness.

    My questions are: What type of barn would you build for about 6-8 Icelandic sheep? What would you include? How many divided pens will I need? What type of fencing will I need? Please include what type of post you use?

    I do not want to start with a ram but will probably add one after I am settled with the ewes. Or might just 'borrow' a ram when needed? These will be more for fiber that meat and I do not want to get into raising the sheep for a profit or meat! I will also be adding an area for a few Nubian goats, one for Belted Galloways and am area for chickens... These areas will be divided and seperate from the sheep.

    In other words: IF I could/would build the perfect place for my sheep what do I need??

    Thanks everyone! Debbie
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You want your barn high and dry and fences snug to the ground and tight (meaning no serious gaps) You want the fibre as clean as you can so avoid barbed wire and hay lofts or feeders that will dump a lot of chaff into the fleece. The barn should provide rain protection and give you someplace to set up temporary lambing pens or observation pens out of a 5 foot wood gate and a 4 footer (sizes vary). If you can make a sick bay away from everyone all the better. The trick to a dry barn is to keep it well ventilated and draft free. A tile drain under the floor works to remove subsurface water and I prefer a dirt and sand floor myself. I suppose ideally you could use an expanded metal floor to keep things very clean and dry!
     

  3. Rosarybeads

    Rosarybeads Well-Known Member

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    I would build a three walled barn, not completely enclosed, so that way it is nice and airy but not breezy... Obviously put the open wall out to the least windy/snowy side. You can also do a L shaped barn, this is how I grew up with my sheepies, and it worked well for us. Stick with the dirt floors, or concrete (easier to clean and you can disenfect), and you can use hog panels or similar fencing to enclose the pens, make sure the lambs can't get get out/in. If you do dirt, which would be easiest, you can use strong T posts in the ground, and attach the hog panels to them. You probably want two pens, one for any sick/new animals/quarantine area, and one area for any problem ewes, to get them introduced to their lambs, etc. I would keep a large amount of clean straw for bedding, adding more as you need to, this is great (in my opinion) during lambing and just generally.

    I would also make a large pasture for the sheep, electric fencing (3 or 4 strands) works great on sheep, keeps them in best in my opinion, and you can use T posts (strongest and will never bend) or other lighter posts. I would make sure you separate out the pasture into at least 3 sections, that way you can move them around, and this will prevent them from getting worms as easy, and is better for the pasture as well.

    Really, sheep don't need a ton of shelter, just a place to get out of the wind and snow, and that is good enough for lambing as well. Wouldn't hurt to have a heat lamp above the lambing pen in case you have a REAL cold night.... We used to bring the lambs into the bathroom and blow dry them off and bring them back, but this was only when it was fridgid & the mothers didn't clean them immediately.