New to Sheep

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. Hello,

    I am a southwest-missouri young-man who plans on homesteading within the next few years (When I can afford land). I've learned quite a bit from this site, and I know there is a great well of knowledge here.
    I would like to keep sheep, as part of my traditional appalachian/ozarks homestead. I plan on using them for wool, meat, and profit.
    For my first question,
    Do you think that sheep or goats are more practical for the small-scale (5-acre) homesteader?

    Secondly - Could anyone recommend a couple of good books for raising sheep or goats?

    I'm leaning more toward sheep, simply because I've always heard of sheep in a traditional homestead, but it seems like you don't hear near as much about goats in the old-time homesteads. Or have I just not heard enough stories?

    Thanks for the help.

    Jesse
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I guess North America has always been slanted towards cattle so dairy/meat goats took a back seat. For a small holding either sheep or goats can be a useful addition, I would suggest the wool can have signifigant value, lamb is probably a little easier to sell, and sheep generally speaking easier to keep fenced in. Ultimately you'll have to decide which will work out best for you where you are, no matter what was traditional, or who can make whichever work for them. Check out the Sheep book recomendations post. I know Woolgrowers in Carleton Place Ontario have the Western Canadian Sheep Production Manual in stock and they do mail orders. (1-613-257-2714) They may have Paula Simmonds book Raising Sheep the Modern Way too but its on Ebay all the time too cheap. Both are easy reading and while far from complete or advanced they are gentle introductions to sheep keeping. You'll want Laura Lawsons books later and there are some other useful books too.
     

  3. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Jesse,
    We're in SW MO, and raise both sheep and goats. Actually we sold off our sheep last fall, but will be replacing them next spring.

    I much prefer small livestock, goat milk is wonderful and lamb meat is to die for. I'd take a good lamb chop over a filet mignon any day!

    We also raise chicken, turkey, duck and rabbit.

    If you need any help when the time gets nearer, just holler, sheep are much easier to care for than goats, in my opinion. Goats are more fun. :) I adore them both.
     
  4. Thank you for the help CJ. I guess the best way to figure out life's mysteries is just to experiment with them.
    Is there anything I need to know about goat's milk before I plan on keeping a small goat-dairy? Can I just buy some does and assume their milk is fit to drink?
    I suppose rather than bombarding you with questions, and still needing to know more, I should get a few books.
    Can you recomend a few good books on goats, as well as for chickens and rabbits?
    By the way, I also am learning the fiddle. Me and a few other men from church have a little bluegrass group, and I usually play bass and sometimes guitar, and I'll sing every now-and-then.
    Anyway, thanks again for the help, and I'll probably email you every once in a while, with questions about an Ozarks homestead.

    Thanks,
    Jesse
     
  5. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Ozarks
    That's pretty much the way we learned :) Most everyone will recommend the Storey books on all aspects of livestock, Sheep and Goats is an excellent resource, by D.G. Hugh. We have the Sheep Raiser's Manual, and Goats 101 as well.
    I don't have any poultry books, they're super easy to care for.

    Make sure when you buy milk goats you get them from a herd that is CAE and CL free. If you're really cautious, you might have them tested for TB and Brucellosis(spelling?) but I think MO is a TB free state.

    Fiddling is a lot of fun, hubby and I are teaching ourselves and having a great time with it.

    Good luck!
     
  6. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    There are breeds of sheep that can do what you want, it depends on your major wants and needs. If you are into milking, Fresian are probably the best known. Sheeps cheese is a high priced delicasy, and could be a good cottage industry. Last I checked you would need a grade B dairy to sell cheese, the requirements for that are relatively mild, as opposed to a grade A dairy to sell milk. I've read of people milking any of the larger breeds of both wool and hair sheep.

    For meat, any of them are going to be better than the stuff in the store. The british cookbooks rate Soay as the best flavor and texture and say to treat it like elk.

    For wool, there are lots of woolies, but if you are in Mo where it can get HOT and you are thinking about goats, maybe because of the weather, then maybe think about hair sheep. They all (sheep) produce wool in cold weather, but hair sheep shed, but can be shorn if you want that wool, if you are lazy about it they wont get hurt by the heat. Hair sheep eat like goats, so if its for clearing scrubby pasture, they will work well, like goats