Thinking of raising a few sheep

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Quiver0f10, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. Quiver0f10

    Quiver0f10 Well-Known Member

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    for meat next spring. What brands are good? Any idea how I can find who sells sheep in Maine? Any advice is sure appreciated.
     
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Ok, let's start with the real basics: sheep come in "breeds" not "brands" and if you're thinking of raising them over the winter you'll have to invest in housing and feed, neither of which is going to make for cost effective meat.

    Perhaps you could use this winter to more fully investigate keeping sheep and their requirements, and then raise them on grass next summer? That would result in leaner meat with less inputs and be considerably more cost effective.
     

  3. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

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    If you want to get into sheep I would advise finding an advisor, a shepard 4-H or FFA adviser to help you out. I'd recomend starting with feeder lambs, you buy these as weanlings from a local breeder and feed them on pasture or on grain for about 4-5 months depending on the breed. If you just want meat go with the a black face breed. Quite literally these sheep have black faces, hampshires or suffolks. I prefer suffolks as they are larger and better gainers. I also agree with Morrison, start them in late spring and you'll have meat mid fall, they don't need shelter during those periods and you won't be wasting feed to keep them warm.
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Not to be contrary but there are plenty of white faced meat breeds out there, although I agree the Suffolks have alot to offer as they are a fairly hearty breed. I personally like the Polypay, they even have decent wool but finish/gain more even than most breeds. Dorsets are another hard to go wrong with breed, and should be easily available just about every where.
     
  5. Quiver0f10

    Quiver0f10 Well-Known Member

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    This is exactly what we''d like to do. We have no desire to winter over animals, besides our chickens,yet. Thanks for the tip on which "breed" to get. We will be researching more this winter before we decide what to do.
     
  6. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

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    Yes there are white faced breeds that do produce good meat but that's not what they were bred for honestly you get about the same amount of meat with a dorset or suffolk but I think suffolks taste better, and there a lot less crazy and herd oriented. Suffolks are a lot easier to handle.

    Good luck with your flock.
     
  7. greenacresgal

    greenacresgal New Member

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    If you are raising sheep for meat only you may want to consider a hair sheep. These breeds have hair instead of wool so they shed naturally in the spring. No need to deal with the hassle of shearing.

    Katahdin Hair Sheep are a popular breed of hair sheep. They are good mothers, have a strong flocking instinct and have a high incidence of multiple births. You can find out more, and locate breeders, at the website of the national organization Katahdin Hair Sheep International: www.khsi.org

    By the way, the breed was developed in Maine in the middle of the 20th century. Hence the name.
     
  8. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Do you like a stronger taste or not? Certain breeds taste different.
     
  9. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Shhhh...don't tell my dorsets that! The ewe thinks she's a goat, comes up and tries to eat your clothing and will bite you in the seat of your pants if you've not got a treat for her. Unless that's what you mean by crazy? :D