sheep milk links

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by lorian, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. lorian

    lorian Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps this thread already exists but..

    How about some great resources for the homesteader who wants to milk sheep for a families use. I'm not interested in setting up a business and am having trouble finding any info. on this subject
    Any good books?
    Web sites?

    I would be so grateful! Any advice appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Practical Sheep Dairying by Olivia Mills ISBN 0-7225-1880-3 It's hard to find but maybe a used book store or Ebay?
     

  3. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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  4. lorian

    lorian Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the links and book ref. I saw the book at amazon for an unbelievable price!

    Pretty much all the info. is always geared to production and money making aspects. I want a book (fantasy I know) called "the family dairy sheep"
    like "the family cow" book that I have.

    Is there anyone on this site that would be interested in e-mentoring a greenhorn like myself? :)
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    E-mentoring is what this board is all about, you get the benefit of many over the limitations of one. Kesoaps currently milks as you intend, I have milked upwards of one hundred ewes in a rudimenary parlour set up. We still could if we had a market and weren't going in another direction with wool etc.
     
  6. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    lorian, I scoured all the websites I could to learn as much as possible. Like I said, it may be geared towards production, but management of your ewe is the same no matter what. If you've got specific questions, I'll try to answer...and if I can't I'm sure someone else can :)

    What breed(s) are you intending to milk? I started with a suffolk cross ewe, but had east friesians shipped over here this summer. I considered the icelandic, which appears to have good homesteading traits for milk, meat and wool, but I'm really wanting more milk than I think they'll give. A lot of folks also use dorsets.

    Last week DD and I went to a little town just north of us where there's a family of ten (yes, eight children!) who are milking 14 ewes. They freeze the milk that they don't use fresh so that they can use it later. I didn't ask if they were drinking it, I do know they were making cheese.
     
  7. dirtywhitellama

    dirtywhitellama I don't have llamas.

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    Kesoaps I think that long URL in your post is confusing my browser, but Im unable to use thread tools and subscribe to the thread! do you think you can do anything about that?
     
  8. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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  9. lorian

    lorian Well-Known Member

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    Kesoaps,

    I have some amish friends that milk about 50 sheep for cheese making.
    THey don't even drink the milk themselves! Everytime I mention drinking sheep milk amoung the Amish they literally wrinkle their noses!

    Anyway, for health reasons I need sheeps milk. ( I make kefir and yougurt)
    They sell me the milk for $6 a quart.

    These amish friends have offered to sell me a few of their ewes for 150 to 200 a piece and they are crosses (can't remember specifics) they have promised to get back to me with more info.

    I am such a greenhorn when it comes to sheep though, especially MILKING sheep. One man told me it will take all day to milk a sheep because their teats are so tiny.

    The sheep would be with a cow and a horse in a 2 1/2 acre pasture.

    I just desperatly need to converse with someone about the feasability of this whole adventure!
     
  10. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    No, it doesn't take all day to milk a sheep. I handmilked a suffolk the past three years and she gave anywhere from 2-3 lbs of milk (that's a quart to a quart and a half) each day. It took me about five minutes, I'd guess. I never really timed it. I'm sure you could get the milk out of a goat quicker. Dolly is not an easy girl to milk, she's not built for milking. However, if you can actually go and look at some of their adult sheep, look for teats that are large and hanging down, as that makes it easier to milk.

    If you're looking at domestic sheep or crossbreds dorsets, suffolks, polypay and rideau arcott are good crosses. The french Lacuane is another excellent milk sheep. Your friends likely have East Friesians that are crossed with some of these genetics.

    Basically, get sheep that are docile and easy to handle. The two EF ewe lambs I've got here now let me reach right up under their bellies and rub and scratch, one needs a halter but the other doesn't. I've got other sheep that don't want me touching their udders that will no doubt still give me a reasonable amount of milk, but it's really nice when they're not so shy about it.

    There's a dairy a couple hundred miles here from me that has a boy who's allergic to cows milk, so they bought goat milk for him. No one in the family liked the taste, and a neighbor said 'why not try sheep?' Because of their boy's allergies, they've now got a grade A sheep dairy. They really liked the taste as it was sweeter than either cow or goat, and I've heard that from numerous people who've tried it. At this point, I've not had enough to save for drinking or anything else around here...but next year (she says hopefully!)
     
  11. Charleen

    Charleen www.HarperHillFarm.com Supporter

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    lorian, Storey Books publishes a book called Your Sheep, a Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing by Paula Simmons, Darrell L. Salsbury.
    http://www.amazon.com/Your-Sheep-Gu...=pd_bbs_1/002-0481377-8688062?ie=UTF8&s=books
    It's pretty basic, written for kids, but it covers the bare bones minimum of raising sheep. If fact, I'm sure your library would have it. It might be in the children's or young adults section. Request that they obtain it through an inter-library loan if possible.

    No, we don't have sheep, we raise goats, and the book Your Goats, also published by Storey, is what we recommend for new persons interested. No matter how long you have an animal there will always be something new to learn. Book learning cannot replace the hands on experiences.
     
  12. dirtywhitellama

    dirtywhitellama I don't have llamas.

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    Charleen, Storey's also publishes "Storey's Guide to Raising such and such" for dairy goats, sheep, beef cattle, horses, ducks, chickens, general poultry, llamas, pigs, so on. Far more in depth than the "Your so and so" books, which as you said are geared toward kids.

    I'm sure your library could order these too! I've read a few (own Ducks, read chickens and goats) and I'm overall very impressed with them.
     
  13. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    They don't really go into much detail on milking sheep, however :rolleyes:
     
  14. lorian

    lorian Well-Known Member

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    can you tell me how much pasture a sheep would need to graze for most of her needs and how much hay each sheep eats per day in the winter?

    Thanks!
     
  15. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Pasture is tricky to answer, because it really depends on your soil and climate. Rotation plays a major part in a healthy flock and good milk production. I did a bit more rotating this year and got 50% more milk than the past two years from the one ewe I've been milking.

    Basically, I've read four sheep to an acre. For me, that's about 4 months of grazing without hay, but requires rotation. After that, it's time to suppliment. I tend to leave a local grass hay in front of them all the time, then a flake of alfalfa or higher protien hay each as well.

    Somewhere I had read a study on rotational grazing and the outcome, but can I find the link when I need it? Noooo... :rolleyes: Basically, a cow dairy that'd been turning it's cows onto the same pasture year after year decided to divide and rotate one year. The result was more milk and more grass, as the pastures had an opportunity to rest.

    ATTRA has a lot of great resources online that you may want to read.
     
  16. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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