Category Archives: Sheep basics


Pneumonia may be a major health problem among all ages and categories of sheep. It can be caused by a range of organisms and foreign bodies affecting the lungs. The combination of viral and bacterial microorganisms with an elevation in stress is the primary reason for acute pneumonia. Moisture and temperature extremes are major factors contributing to stress. In New Mexico, moisture typically is not a typical stress factor, however the extreme temperature changes throughout the fall are.

Acute pneumonia will affect lambs from birth to yearling age. They are most likely infected early in life by the causative microorganisms, but they will resist the infection until some stress occurs, like extreme changes in temperature, exposure to dust, shipping, or extended periods while not feed. Afflicted lambs generally weaken, refuse feed, seem gaunt, and breathe rapidly. Depending on the time it occurs, the condition usually is called shipping pneumonia or acute summer pneumonia. Proper management from lambing throughout the lifetime of the lamb is important to minimize the incidence of pneumonia.

When shed lambing, keep the premises clean, dry, and as draft-free as doable. The lambing shed ought to be well ventilated and moisture should be kept to a minimum. Avoid over-confinement. Shear ewes before lambing to scale back infection from wool tags around the udder.

Proper nutrition of the ewes is very important. Vitamin C deficiency has been associated with the incidence of pneumonia. Treatment ought to accommodates using broad-spectrum antibiotics as directed on the label. Reducing stress and administering high levels of antibiotics during inclined periods could be of some value in reducing the incidence of pneumonia.

Sheep Blue Tongue

Blue tongue is an insect-borne, viral, noncontagious disease that occurs in some areas of New Mexico. It’s transmitted from infected animals to prone sheep by the bites of a small insect commonly called a gnat. The disease normally happens from midsummer until frost. Early symptoms sometimes embrace excessive salivation, reddening of the lips and mouth, and progressive darkening of the vascular areas of the mouth. Furthermore, the muzzle, lips, tongue, throat, and generally the ears and neck become swollen. Occasionally, sheep suffer from severe lameness furthermore. Not all signs of blue tongue appear in a very single sheep or maybe in a very single outbreak.

Best management methods involve controlling the gnat. Since this insect breeds within the mud along the edges of slow-moving streams or water tank overflow, strive to eliminate these breeding sites. Breeding sites also will be sprayed with insecticides.

A changed live-virus sort of vaccine is offered, however it is estimated that six to seven totally different viruses cause blue tongue. Occasionally, the vaccine may cause a reaction that’s nearly as bad because the disease itself.

Pregnant ewes, notably in the primary fifty days of gestation, should not be vaccinated. No satisfactory medical treatment has been found for animals with blue tongue. Typically, with proper care, most animals recover naturally at intervals fourteen days, although severely affected animals could recover additional slowly. Isolate affected animals in a shaded space with palatable feed and fresh water. Antibiotics are of no price within the treatment of blue tongue, but they’re helpful in preventing secondary infections.

Can i keep sheep and goats together?

Goats and Sheep are a very common beginner animal when one is looking to get into raising livestock for the homestead. Wether you are raising livestock for meat, milk or wool/fiber, both goats and sheep have something to offer. Many people will begin their livestock venture with either a few goats or a few sheep but further down the line, they decide they would like to add goats to their farm if they only have sheep or vice-versa.

For many, it is unclear whether those two species can be raised together, sharing the same shelter, same pasture, same feed, etc. Well the good news is, it is very easy to keep these species together just as long as a few precautions are followed.

The most important difference between goats and sheep is their nutritional needs. These needs are almost identical except for one very important thing. Goats require a copper supplement, whereas sheep do not. In fact, copper is toxic to sheep. If a sheep receives too much copper over time, it can be fatal. Most of the uncertainty of keeping these animals together, comes from this one nutritional difference between the species. Fortunately this nutritional difference is easy to work around.

There are two options here:

1. Both species are fed a general feed that is without copper. This can be an All-Stock Feed, a Sweet Horse Feed, many feed stores even offer a Sheep & Goat feed. The latter type of feed would be best. A general all species mineral can also be fed along side these types of feed. The only type of feed/mineral that can not be fed to both species is a Goat Specific Feed or Cattle Specific feed because these both have added copper that is not good for the sheep. If you go this route, many times the goats will not be receiving the proper amount of copper in their diet. This requires that the goats be supplemented with copper. A copper bolus is the most common and effective way of supplementing goats with copper.

2. The second option is keeping both species together but buying species-specific feed and mineral and feeding them separately at feeding time. This can work depending on your setup but if goats and sheep are fed in the same area, there is a good chance they will end up in each other’s feed so option one is really the best option.

All other aspects of feeding and raising goats are very similar. They both require a good quality hay. An orchard grass mix is best for both species. An alfalfa mix could be supplemented during lactation but it is not recommended to give alfalfa to sheep and goats that are pregnant as it could cause the kids/lambs to grow too fast inside the mom and cause labor problems.

Now that you understand their nutritional needs, here are a few other things to know about keeping goats and sheep together:

Their shelter requirements are the same. Both species require a 3 sided shelter at the very least. Goats dislike rain and just generally getting wet, much more than sheep do so keep this in mind when providing shelter. It should be adequate enough that both species can stay dry no matter what the season or the weather.

Goats and Hair sheep don’t require much in the way of grooming. Angora Goats and Wool Sheep require quite a bit more when it comes to grooming. Both of those woolier breeds will need to be sheared during the spring and sometimes the fall as well. When it comes to hoof-trimming, goats will require more frequent trimming than sheep. Goat hooves are also a bit softer than sheep hooves so be aware of this when trimming. It can take some adjusting when moving from one species to the next.

Goats are browsers and they prefer to eat bushes, tall weeds and low hanging tree branches before they will turn their attention to grass and short weeds. Sheep are grazers who prefer grass, forbs, or short weeds to bushes but they will definitely investigate low bushes and low hanging tree branches. They are just less inclined to spend as much of their time doing that as goats will.

When it comes to breeding, goats and sheep have about a 5 month gestation and depending on the breed of goat or sheep, they will either breed year round or seasonally. Sheep and Goats that breed seasonally, generally come into heat during the fall in order to lamb or kid in the spring. Knowing this, it would be easy to keep a mixed group of does and ewes and breed them all at the same time if you have access to a ram and buck.

When breeding, it is not recommended to throw both a ram and buck into a mixed flock of ewes and as this could cause a lot of stress and confusion in the herd. When it comes time to breed, animals should be split into species specific herds with the right male thrown in or does and ewes should be taken to the buck or ram for a visit. It is also not recommended to keep bucks and rams together when they are not being used for a breeding. A ram can seriously injure a buck, especially during rut. Rams tend to be stronger than bucks with stronger skulls and they have been known to kill bucks with just one head-butt. Bucks also like to rear up when head-butting, whereas rams like to ram in a straight line. This usually ends up with the buck received a serious blow to their abdomen which can be fatal. So it is important to keep the males of these species separate.

The last thing I would like to mention is that both goats and sheep are very social animals. Some people sometimes just want to start out with one animal just to get their feet wet. You cannot keep a lone goat or sheep, it will be a very happy and loud animal not matter how much attention you can give it. You must keep at least two. Similarly, it is not recommended to have only one of each species kept together. Two goats and two Sheep of the same sex, are the minimum one should have when keeping these species together. While sheep can bond to goats and vice versa, they will create a MUCH stronger bond with their own species because that is who they are most comfortable with. As someone with a mixed herd, I can tell you that in a more confined space, sheep and goats will mingle pretty regularly but no matter how long they have been together, when let out into the open, they will find the ones that look most like them and stick with them. It’s what is natural to them. So if you are thinking of adding either one species or the other to your herd, make sure whatever you are adding, has a companion of the same species to bond with or they will be very unhappy in the long run.

If one keeps all of these factors in mind and uses a bit of common sense for anything not covered here, then one can be very successful in raising sheep and goats together.

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Profit Machine: sheep farming

Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Generally, sheep indicates the mammal which is hollow-horned, typically gregarious ruminant related to the goats, but stockier and lacking a beard in the male; one long domesticated especially for its flesh and wool.

Sheep Farm

A sheep farm is a place that use to sell wool and meat. It is not the latest concept of harvesting. Parenting this animal commenced really early occasion and it is one type of cattle farming. At that time sheep harvesting had been just for an ingestion goal. Nowadays, this type of farm is one sort of animal husbandry specifically handling the raising and breeding of domestic sheep. This harvesting is primarily based on raising lambs for meat, as well as raising lamb to produce wool.

Sheep Breeds

There are more breeds of sheep than breeds of any other livestock. You will discover several 1, 000 different sheep breeds over the world. There are more than 40 breeds in the United States only. At each birthing event Ewes usually give birth to one to three lambs. The process known as breeding, the technical term for all species is parturition. First-time Ewes are more likely to have single births, though twins are not uncommon in some breeds. Twin birth is more common in well-managed flocks and with many breeds of sheep.

Sheep Farming process:

Sheep farming with multi-face utility for wool, meat, milk, skins and manure, is not an easy task to do. You need to know, how to farm sheep? The concerns for farming are:

Sheep Housing:

Housing affects the breeding and parturition percentages. Usually the practice of shed parturition ensures higher breeding. Housing for sheep varies with the weather and season(s) of breeding. Management preferences of the shepherd are also important. If breeding will occur during periods of rough weather, more elaborate housing is usually required. On the other hand, if breeding will occur on pasture during periods of mild weather, plain housing enough.

Sheep Food:

Nutrition plays a major role in the overall productivity and well-being of the sheep flock. It is important that producers consider nutrition management a top priority. Mostly sheep eat grass, clover, hay, and other pasture plants.

Benefit of Sheep Farming:

Sheep farm is an excellent business prospect as you can start small and grow from there. It is very beneficial for a lot of reasons. A sheep farm can answer; where to buy sheep, is there any sheep for sale, does it have alpacas? Etc. However, the success of your sheep farming business will depend on three basic parameters that include the choice of their food, breed, and the overall management of the animals. Benefits of Sheep farming are given below –

  • Anybody can start with low capital and low experience.
  • It does not need an expensive housing to house them.
  • Sheep have multi-faceted utility like meat, skin, wool, manure etc.
  • The initial livestock are relatively cheap and it breeds rapidly
  • Usually sheep eat varied kinds of plants and weed compared to other kind of livestock.
  • It is not too much harmful to damage any tree.
  • Sheep dung is also used as a valuable fertilizer.
  • And, finally production of wool, meat and manure provides three different sources of income.

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Treatment of Sheep and lambs

Treatment of foot rot


Separate sheep with foot rot and scald whenever sensible to reduce spread within the flock.


Inject with one long-acting dose of antibiotic (ensure the right dose, under-dosing delays recovery).

Do not trim the hoof horn, this delays healing.


Mark affected leg of treated sheep.



Ear tag

Cause of lameness


When cured, come sheep to the main flock. Sheep ought to be sound within two – ten days of treatment.

If still lame after fourteen days, check diagnosis is correct and retreat.

Cull sheep lame with foot-rot and/or scale more than twice a year or not responding to treatment.

how to feed sheep

Sheep are some of the most rewarding animals to raise. There are several benefits you can gain, such as getting sheep milk, sheep skin, and of course the companion that sheep offer. More than anything else, raising sheep teaches you to become more responsible. As with any animal you need to raise, sheep require a considerable amount of your time, effort, and even your money. The first of your concerns is how to feed sheep the right way.

To achieve proper feeding, you must do a little research on the kind of sheep you have. Ewes, lambs, and rams have to go through unique feeding stages. Some have more stages, while others need to follow only a shorter process. Plus, different kinds of sheep need different kinds of food. Once you figure out what kind of sheep you have, you can design the right kind of feeding system.

Your next step on how to feed sheep correctly is to find out the nutritional requirements involved. Through this, you can learn the various guidelines that have been created and develop to help sheep producers from all over the world to feed their starter or growing flocks the right way. If you’re raising sheep for profit, you need to prioritize your sheep’s health in order to yield better results. Of course, your sheep’s health relies largely on the nutrients they are getting. In short, if you want your business to succeed, it is imperative that you invest in healthy, sustainable food for your sheep.

If you wish to master how to feed sheep properly, you also have to take into consideration where you get your primary feedstuff. Study the forage type you rely on, such as pasture forages, range forages, and many others. Forages are sheep’s best source of protein and energy. However, you may have to use feeding supplements to give your sheep minerals and vitamins. Do consult an expert on this. The supplements must match the nutritional requirements of your sheep.

Finally, don’t ever forget your sheep’s share of water. Water is crucial to your flock’s health, especially because sheep are known to be big drinkers. They can consume to as much as four gallons every day. Make sure that you clean not only the feeders but also the water containers to avoid the spread of damaging and potentially fatal diseases.

Remember all these important tips on how to feed sheep and you can significantly increase your chances of success at raising sheep.

Looking for more tips on how to feed sheep? Visit the how to raise sheep site today to discover everything you need to know and how easy it is to raise your own sheep and avoid costly mistakes.

Antibiotics to guide, sort of

Ten lessons on antibiotics

  1. Consult with your veterinarian about diagnosis. As a producer, know what diseases are prevalent at particular production stages or seasons and remember that some bacteria are only sensitive to certain antibiotics.
  2. Take the sheep’s temperature. Normal is 101 to 103° F. If there is no temperature, there’s no infection, so you shouldn’t use an antibiotic. Fever may precede other signs.
  3. Treat early. Organisms become more resistant after they are well established. An antibiotic will not remove scar tissue from lungs. Prevent the scar tissue by early and adequate treatment.
  4. Maintain drug dosage for two to five days. Identify lambs previously treated.
  5. Prevent problems. Don’t rely on drugs to replace good management.
  6. Check for management shortcomings as a cause of the problem before using drugs.
  7. Vary antibiotics. Bacteria do develop resistance.
  8. Take care of drugs. Refrigerate them, keep them out of the sun, and don’t freeze them. Read directions!
  9. Recognize the limitations of antibiotics. They won’t bring an abscess to a head and are ineffective in treating for diseases caused by a virus.
  10. Administer antibiotics correctly.
    • Remember that sick animals usually don’t eat. Mixing an antibiotic in feed may prevent further attacks but won’t help those too sick to eat.
    • If sick animals will drink, you can administer sulfa treatment by adding sulfa to the water.
    • Use an effective injection method. Intravenous (IV) injections result in a high drug level in the blood rapidly, but antibiotics injected intravenously also are eliminated more rapidly. Intramuscular (IM) or subcutaneous (SQ) injections require the least skill and last longer.
    • Remember that drenching requires a high drug dosage. Not all drugs are readily absorbed.

Lambs die?

Lamb starvation

Lamb starvation, the number one killer of lambs, often is associated with lack of shepherding. Contributing causes are:

  • The lamb doesn’t get started (gets no colostrum). Seventy-five percent of lambs that don’t get colostrum die for one reason or another.
  • The ewe won’t claim the lamb(another solution for this situation)
  • Mastitis.
  • The teat is too big or is too near the ground and the lamb doesn’t find it. Weak ewes that don’t get up enough will also cause this problem.
  • Sore mouth.
  • The ewe can’t feed two lambs (mastitis, too little feed, etc.).
  • Joint injury or illness.
  • Pneumonia, which often is associated with lambs that received no colostrum and thereby lack immune bodies. Sometimes the best solution is to inject 1 ml of antibiotic at few days after birth for multi lambs births.
  • Difficult parturition.
  • A “genetic will to die.” Actually, the majority of lambs die for no apparent reason. A genetically caused lack of vitality may well be the cause. i never understood this , this is just an observation. plenty of sun, feed and exercise seems to be the best remedy.
  • i have found that bottle feeding lambs will survive well but they must have received some colostrum

Thrush & Footrot


Footrot is a grievous disease that almost defies curing. For a small flock of grade ewes, selling out and starting over is the wisest decision.

Footrot is caused by two bacteria—Fusobacterium necrophorum and Bacteroides nodosus—that act synergistically. F. necrophorum is common in most manure; it is very hardy and can live for years in manure. It contributes to footrot in cattle and causes thrush in horses. B. nodosus apparently lives only in sheep hooves. It dies out in soil in two weeks. It grows very slowly, so the incubation period may be long. Foot abscesses may be caused by B. nodosus, but footrot requires the presence of both B. nodosus and F. necrophorum. Moist soil conditions contribute greatly to the cause and spread of footrot. in other words its impossible in Florida to avoid  this condition.

To control and treat footrot:

  • Trim the hoof wall to the quick in all sheep.
  • Soak affected hooves for five minutes in a foot bath containing 90% water and 10% formalin (37% formaldehyde) or 10% zinc sulfate. Zinc sulfate is as effective as formalin and is safer to use.
  • Isolate limpers and repeat one week later. Turn apparently cured sheep into an uncontaminated area. Doing so does create a problem, however, because some sheep thought to be clean actually still are infected. With time and moist conditions, they will reinfect other sheep.
  • Reexamine all sheep and remove any limpers you initially thought were clean. Force sheep to move through a 10% zinc sulfate solution daily for 30 days. This has become the most successful treatment scheme.
  • Sell persistent limpers as much as that hurts to do.
  • If you sell all sheep, wait three weeks before bringing in new sheep.
  • I have a nice cement bath at the entry f the sheep house that i regularly fill with  bleach and water, 20%. its worked wonders.

Vegetation management

Using sheep for custom grazing might convince be the foremost profitable sheep enterprise. Whereas the demand for lamb and wool seems limited, society seems willing to spend “unlimited” amounts of money to enhance the setting. Increasingly sheep (and goats) are being viewed as a natural and environmentally-friendly manner to manage landscapes. At the same time, land managers don’t wish to have sheep. They want to contract grazing services.

There are many factors to contemplate when developing a fee-based mostly grazing business: cost of fencing, water offer, the requirement to test animals daily, and a place to stay the sheep when they’re not on a job. Fencing is the typically the major constraint. Predators may gift a drawback in remote locations. If the positioning is in read of the general public, the general public might expect the sheep to possess access to shelter. It may also be necessary to vaccine the sheep for rabies.

While any quite sheep can be used for grazing, a flock of mature weathers might prove to be the most effective choice. They’re easier to manage and can be pushed to eat undesirable plant species without adversely affecting productivity.
Over the years, sheep are used to regulate unwanted vegetation in orchards, vineyards, and on Christmas tree plantations. They have grazed beneath power lines, in national parks and historic battlefields, at ski resorts, and in urban settings. They need been used for noxious weed management. Compared to goats, they are easier to contain, easier to handle, less damaging, and do a higher job maintaining grassy landscapes. But, goats are a better alternative to control brush and tree seedlings.