My sheep respond to my calling and will happily follow a bucket. I dose all my sheep orally with a product called cydectin. Good Quality stock from a reputable source will pay dividends in the long run. She will nearly always drink most of it in about thirty seconds. If a sheep does get ‘struck’ as they say, you must move quickly. This is when you will need a handling pen of some sort. I am strongly tempted here to add a fourth rule which is ‘Don’t give up the day job’. Thank you very much for a wonderfully informative article. And yes, the reality of this is every bit as horrible as it sounds ! GIMMER – female sheep over a year old that has not yet been mated and given birth, RAM (or tupp if you are in Norther Britain) – male sheep. If all this seems a bit overwhelming, a neighbour bought some fattening lambs from me once and came back the next year for some to breed from. There is an organisation called The English Beef and Lamb Executive (Eblex) which is aimed more at commercial farmers rather than smallholders, but they produce a series of leaflets on getting the most from your enterprise, which are very useful, including a booklet on grazing for sheep. Some of the rarer hill sheep are known as ‘primitive’ breeds and there … As I have already said, I cannot discuss all the ailments a sheep could possibly get. PUBLISHED: 13:32 20 July 2015 | UPDATED: 13:32 20 July 2015, Keeping sheep is not as straightforward as some might think. Unless you have a clear reason for doing otherwise though, it is best to aim to have your lambs born in April or early May. Shearing might seem romantic and I and many others find it fascinating to watch, but it is bloody hard work and the guys who do it will earn their money. You will almost certainly get what you pay for and the best will be the cheapest in the long run. A book or DVD, however good, just isn’t enough!! They keep the grass neater than a lawnmower could and, unlike horses and cattle, they will not break the sod up with their feet. My colleague, Tim Tyne, is currently writing an excellent series of articles which cover this in some depth. Photo 13: Sheep raised up to free right foreleg. Most people have the impression that ewes nearly always give birth at night and, in fact, a lot do, but in my experience they can give birth at any time of the day or night and in my little flock, if there is a peak period, it is probably early afternoon. If anyone appears to be making a cosy living keeping a handful of sheep spinning the wool, dyeing it in blackberry juice and then knitting it into garments to sell at the local market there is something they are hiding. All I am saying is keep a grip on reality. I know of people who have started a flock by buying orphan lambs and bottle rearing them in the belief that their adult sheep will then be nice and tame, and so they probably will, so tame in fact that when they are fully grown they will come charging down the field towards you expecting to be fed and knock you or your visitor flat on your back. I am just about to start my sheep-rearing career and found this really helpful, informative and honest! So in the areas which are dry,rocky and have … This is a great piece of advice; and if you can find someone like this, who really has a lot of experience and is prepared to mentor you, then you have struck gold. If you have used the raddle as previously described you will know when your ewe is due to lamb and they are very rarely more than about one day late. All other breeds will only do so in the spring, although in practice the definition of spring can be stretched pretty much from New Years Day to the Summer solstice. You can make a portable one out of metal hurdles or you can build a sort of Wild West style coral out of scrap timber but, contrary to what TV programme makers would have you believe, you will never catch a sheep by chasing it round a large field, even if trying to do so does make good viewing. Many thanks for this article Jonathan. If you are starting a smallholding, sheep are very useful. When the eggs hatch out into maggots they will eat the sheep alive. One little fact that none of the books seem to mention is that giving birth seems to make a sheep madly thirsty and once the lambs have been safely delivered you should give the ewe a bucket of clean water. I have also had to restrain a ewe still while her lamb suckled from her because she had totally rejected it. All I have space to say here is that there are three routine preventative medicinal treatments that every responsible sheep owner should carry out. But it’s wise to make a better business plan prior to starting this business, and work according to the plan. It is hard physical work, and there are several pieces of fairly expensive kit that you will need in order to do a good job. There is likely to be at least one dark stained patch of fleece where the maggots are and if you can get close enough you will notice a distinctive foul smell get it into the handling pen, use dagging shears or kitchen scissors and cut off the fleece in the affected area as close to the skin as you can. Next you will have to get your animal into the pen. Ewes will need additional nutrition when they are feeding lambs. As I said, there just isn’t the space here to tell all that you need to know and lambing, probably more than any other aspect of sheep husbandry, is the bit you need to get right, so please get some training! By All you do is buy a bag of sheep nuts and every day when you check your flock put a very small quantity of said nuts into a metal bowl, go out into the field and rattle it and then sprinkle the nuts on the floor, after a few days of this the sheep will all come running when they hear the ‘Nut Bowl’, and at this point you can start sprinkling the nuts nearer and nearer to the entrance to the pen and then each day get them a bit further inside it. CULL(a verb) – to dispense with live animals that are no longer worth keeping. Cheap Infrastructure: Well, in order to establish a sheep farm, it is not required to have heavy and expensive sheds or infrastructure. However, a ram lamb born in the spring will be ready for action at six months if not before and this is one of the reasons for castrating any male sheep you don’t want to breed from. Pocket Farm is a community for like minded people interested in self-sufficiency, farming, conservation, ecology and rural crafts. If there is no decent grass around by the time the ewe lambs you will have to carry on feeding her. Regardless of gender it is then known as a shearling. Advantages of Sheep Farming in India. Sheep hate being separated from the rest of the flock so it is probably easier to get them all in one bunch and push the lot in.