Sat. Jun 25th, 2022
raising sheep for profit

Here is a guide to raising sheep for profit. Sheep are Quadruped ruminant mammals kept as livestock. The animals are an essential source of protein and wool worldwide. In ideal conditions they live 10 to 12 years have an excellent sense of smell but poor eye sight?  Cultural impact include symbol of virility, religious symbolism and folklore.

The meat is referred to as mutton or lamb is farmed for local consumption or export markets. They are flock animals and thrive in herds with adult males weighing 42 to 165kg and female 42 to 100kg. The females have a gestation period of 152 days.

To start the business you need to learn the trade, secure funding, permit and farm land. Other requirements are breed selection, purchase of feed, labour costs.  The business is highly lucrative and practicable from home or designated land.

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Advantages of Sheep Farming

The major advantages are the many products obtained from sheep farming.  They sell at reasonable prices and there is huge demand for meat, wool and milk products. The animal is multi-purpose, very adaptable, a shed not required.

The business offers quick returns and provides rural employment. The animal is adaptable to semi-arid and arid regions. Feeding is inexpensive and they eat a verity of food.

Another valuable product is the high demand for organic sheep manure. The animal is hardly, rugged and requires less labor. They are excellent ranch stock, can survive extreme drought and require low start-up.


Reasons to Start a Sheep Farm

  • products sell at reasonable prices
  • huge demand
  • multi-purpose
  • animal is adaptable
  • shed not required
  • offers quick returns
  • provides rural employment
  • inexpensive feed
  • they eat a verity of food
  • the animal is hardly
  • excellent ranch stock
  • can survive extreme drought
  • low start-up

Steps to Start the Business

The farmer needs to plan before starting the business. Things to consider are the type of breed to farm. Some are best for wool production while others are ideal for meat or milk. You need funds to purchase the animal, veterinary services, labor costs, property leasing.

Other cost considerations are food, cost of barn or fencing.  Decide on the number of sheep based on your land mass and finance. The next step is to acquire landed property with good pasture.

Starting the Business

  • Plan
  • Select a breed to farm
  • Acquire funding
  • purchase the animal
  • use veterinary services
  • estimate labor costs
  • property leasing
  • food cost
  • cost of barn or fencing
  • decide on the number of sheep
  • acquire landed property
  • find good pasture

Sheep Characteristics

The physical characteristics are wool, short horns, good hearing and sensitivity to noise. They are herd animals that displace flocking behavior. The establish dominance hierarchy through competitive fights and treats.

Vocalization in domestic sheep includes snorts, grunts, rumbles, bleats and snorts. They generally lack facial hair and display poor eyesight. They are panic easily but can recognize their handlers.


  • Wool
  • short horns
  • good hearing
  • sensitivity to noise
  • herd animals
  • establishment of dominance
  • hierarchy
  • competitive fights
  • treats
  • different vocalization
  • lack facial hair
  • display poor eyesight
  • panic easily
  • easily recognize their handlers
  • start a commercial beekeeping business

Sheep Products

Domesticated sheep are raised for their pelts, meat and wool. They are good as pets, produce organic manure or bred exclusively for milk.

  • Organic manure
  • Pelts
  • Meat
  • Wool
  • Milk
  • Sheep based products

Sheep Breeds

The type of sheep selected for the farming process depends on the product. Some are best raised for their long wool while others are perfect for meat production. Popular sheep breeds domesticated and farmed are the Merino, Suffolk and Dorper.

Others include the Dorset Horn, Ronney sheep, Hampshire and Leicester longwool. More are the Southdown, Lincoln, Carriedale and Barbados Black Belly. We have the Jacob, Cotwold, East Friesian, Shroshire and Scottish Blackface.


  • Merino
  • Suffolk
  • Dorper
  • Dorset Horn
  • Ronney sheep
  • Hampshire
  • Leicester longwool
  • Southdown
  • Lincolin
  • Carriedale
  • Barbados Black Belly
  • Jacob
  • Cotwold
  • East Friesian
  • Shroshire
  • Scottish Blackface

How to Start a Sheep Farm

Write a Business Plan

The job of a sheep farmer is straight forward and easy. However it is essential to write a comprehensive sheep farming business plan. The plan should focus on breed selection, location, sourcing the food and labour. Other considerations are marketing the product, funding and farm management.

The first step is to determine your business template. Are you interested in breeding, meat or wool production?  The farmer could farm sheep exclusively or supplement income with goats.

Make sure you acquire appropriate training, number of starter herd, setup cost. The scope and size of the enterprise will determine the amount of money you need.

Go for Training

The investor needs to learn the trade. Learn through experience, apprentice program or books. You could hire experienced staff to raise the animals. Use online resources like eBooks, tutorials and video.

Acquire Land

The animal does not require a shed to grow, however providing a shed against extreme weather conditions is advised. Generally 15 ewes could be raised on 3 acres of land and provide clean drinking water, feeding trough and shelter. You can practice zero grazing, external grazing or semi-intensive grazing.

Select the Breed

Make sure you buy the animal from a certified breeder with good track record. The breed selection is predicated on wool, meat or milk production.

Top breeds for meat are Hampshire, Borset, Southdown sheep. Others are Texel, Suffolk, North county Cheviot. We have the dual purpose breeds good for meat and milk production. Some are the Polypay, Targhee, Corriedale, Columbia.

Meat and Dual Purpose Breeds

  • ewe milk replacer
  • dual drench system
  • Hampshire
  • Borset
  • Southdown sheep
  • Texel
  • Suffolk
  • North county Cheviot
  • Polypay
  • Targhee
  • Corriedale
  • Columbia


Join a sheep farmers association in your locality. You need a commercial license to breed and sell sheep. Others are tax identification number and insurance. It is not mandatory to register the business however incorporating gives it an identity.

Feeding Sheep

The animal loves to forage and require large range land. They can graze for 6 to 7 hours from dawn to dusk. However intensive farming requires morning or afternoon feeding and inclusion of supplements. The food could be wet feed or dry feed, by-products, stored feed.

They eat a variety of food from pasture, greens and different plants. Other food sources are hay, grass, forbs, clover and flowering plants. They eat crop products, soybean hulls, wheat middlings and peanut hulls. More are gluten feed, whole cotton seed and corn.

The sheep will eat hedge Lucerne, buffalo grass, sorghum, sylo. Make sure the food is nutritious and washed before serving. Cut pasture plants, silage, green chops for the sheep. The farmer should provide supplements alongside vitamins and minerals. Ensure they have a steady supply of fresh water to drink.

What to Feed Sheep

  • different plants
  • hay
  • forbs
  • clover
  • flowering plants
  • soybean hulls
  • wheat middling
  • peanut hulls
  • gluten feed
  • whole cotton seed
  • corn
  • eat hedge Lucerne
  • buffalo grass
  • sorghum
  • sylo
  • pasture plants
  • silage
  • green chops
  • supplements

Sheep Farming Equipment

To achieve high productivity you need to keep the sheep in a stress free environment. There are much equipment you need to start the farm.  You need ewe milk replacer, drench, syringe, thermometer, food and watering trough.

Others are fencing, temporary pen, lamb wormers. Medical tape, splints and bandages. Buy electric pliers, tags, rings. Use feeding bottles, disposable gloves, stomach tube, lambing snare, ropes, halters, buckets.


  • thermometer
  • food and watering trough
  • fencing
  • replacement fence
  • temporary pen
  • lamb wormers
  • medical tape
  • splints
  • bandages
  • electric pliers
  • tags
  • rings
  • feeding bottles
  • disposable gloves
  • stomach tube
  • lambing snare
  • ropes
  • halters
  • bucket


They should be washed occasionally and groomed to remove grass seed and torn. Long haired animals are combed and brushed regularly. If the sheep is kept for wool production this provision is mandatory.

Dip them to prevent pest infestation on the hair. Trim the hooves if allowed to graze huge pastures. It is important replacing old sheep in your breeding program. Don’t forget to inoculate against certain diseases or health issues.

How to Groom Sheep

  • wash occasionally
  • combed
  • brushed regularly
  • Dip them
  • Trim the hooves
  • replacing old sheep
  • inoculate

Sheep Diseases

Common diseases are sheep anthrax, orf, tetanus. Others are pest des petits ruminants, blue tongue and sheep pox.

Death by predator is common in sheep farming especially free range. Top predators are wolves, bear and carnivores. They may suffer injuries, poisoning, viral or bacterial diseases. Parasites include mites, maggots, nose bots, sheep keds and lice.


  • sheep anthrax
  • orf
  • tetanus
  • pest des petits ruminants
  • blue tongue
  • sheep pox
  • death by predator
  • they may suffer injuries
  • occasional poisoning
  • Parasites infection


A farmer can mate a single ram to five ewes. Sheep are seasonal breeders and reach sexual maturity in 6 to 8 months. However some breeds achieve maturity much earlier 4 months or later 18 months.

The ewes emit a scent and their oestrus cycle is every 17 days. Ram behavior involves a contest fight for dominance and right to mate. The ewe’s gestation period is roughly five months and produce a single lamb.

In some cases they might produce twin lambs however selective breeding could cause multiple offspring. The lambs are later tagged and vaccinated by a qualified vet.


The meat is a delicacy in many African countries. It is also eaten extensively during Muslim celebrations and festivities. Sell the meat to meat vendors, butchers, restaurants, hotels and food outlets. Sell the milk to product manufacturing companies and cotton to artisans.

By Femi

webmaster with passion for good content