Reasons to raise sheep, because we are constantly asked why we have sheep on our farm. Sheep are the best, and lamb is delicious! We chose them to start raising our own meat, but they have benefited our farm so much more than we had planned. This animal is a fit for nearly all homestead situations. If you are looking to improve your pastures, sheep will do that. They are also easy to manage off of pasture alone, they are a smaller animal, and they have a dual purpose.
Sheep will Improve Your Pastures
Sheep like to eat grass, and they like to eat browse. If your pastures are full of brush, and you want them to be grass, sheep will help. Really! It’s amazing to see. Read about our adventure this last year here. In less than a year we went from weeds, to grass, all thanks to our sheep. They clear out the weeds so the grass has a chance to come through. On the other hand, if you already have established grass, they will be perfectly happy eating grass all day long. They are perfect for a rotational grazing system.
Keep a Good Weight off of Pasture Alone
Sheep are hardy. They aren’t nearly as delicate and picky as our goats. Our ewe who raised quads last year (that’s 4 lambs!), did so without grain, and still had great body condition when they weaned. Many ranches do feed grain supplements, so if you want a flock that does well on grass alone, make sure you ask what they eat before you bring them home.
Less Daunting than Cows for a Novice
When we first moved to our homestead, cows were daunting to me. City girl problems. Even the smallest cows are big! We still wanted to raise our own red meat, and raising lamb sounded like the best solution (this was before we knew lamb tastes delicious!). The butcher age for lambs is usually 10 months, while steers are 18 months-2 years. So it’s a lot less time initially too.
Two Purposes, Wool Or Meat
Or both. We raise katahdin sheep. This specific breed grows hair instead of wool, and they shed it themselves every year. We raise them specifically for meat alone. Some hair sheep breeds are: American Blackbelly, Dorper, Royal White Sheep, and St Criox.
Others raise their sheep specifically for wool, and some raise them for both. A few of the popular wool breeds are: Merino, Suffolk, and Dorset.
Every homestead can benefit from keeping a couple sheep around. They are so fun, and so beneficial. Do you have more good reasons to raise sheep? Tell me about it in the comments below!