New to owning sheep

More
2 years 6 months ago #549230 by shanwsl11
New to owing sheep was created by shanwsl11
Hi there,

I have recently purchased a small lifestyle block which has about an acre of land out the front.I don't have much/any experience with owning sheep but am willing to learn. I've already brought two 3 year old Wilthire Ewes and I'm thinking I might need a couple more to keep the grass down so I'm considering buying a younger Ewe and a young Ram so that I can get into lambing to help stock the freezer and rotate the Ewes.

My question is...if I purchase a young Ram, will he be okay with only having 3 Ewes to run over? I understand the ratio is 1:100 so wondering what kind of stress doing this would cause the Ram?

Cheers.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549231 by spoook
Replied by spoook on topic New to owing sheep
Be very careful when buying more stock. With 1 acre, depending on how productive the land is all year round, it is calculated that you can graze 4 sheep per acre. This does not include/ allow for supplementary feeding.

Getting a ram with only 3 to 4 ewes, he will not be perturbed but could be a handful to control the breeding not be able to keep him segregated from them and the lambs.

Have a read here to advise you of stocking rates.

There are no bad questions only those that are not asked.
"You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed"
The following user(s) said Thank You: shanwsl11, vorno

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549232 by Monteiro
Replied by Monteiro on topic New to owing sheep
Hi

I'm new to owning sheep too, started about a year ago. Our sheep mow the lawn, actually give meat but most of all give love!

I got rid of my ram because he doubled my flock in one shot! So now I only have ewes and when I need to breed then I will borrow a ram from a neighbour. This way you can avoid inline breeding. Here are some awesome lifestyle blockers that can give you more advice. Mine is just from experience in a very short time period. Good luck and enjoy your country life
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ferrit47, shanwsl11, vorno

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549237 by muri
Replied by muri on topic New to owing sheep
I agree with Spook, you dont have the land to carry three breeding ewes with only one acre, especially if this is all in one paddock.
I run three sheep to the acre but on a much larger property so I can close up some paddocks for weeks if need be. The smaller the property, the lower its stock carrying capacity as in times of poor growth such as dry summers or very wet winters, you dont have paddocks you can shut up.
What may look like a lot of grass at the moment that two sheep dont appear to have any effect on, could look very bare in a month or two of no rain.
Start small, with your two, borrow a ram or buy a young ram but home kill him when you are sure he has done the deed , or else on sell him. If they both have twins in the spring, you will already have 6 sheep on your land and that is a good number as you have to carry on the lambs until weaning. Or you can keep the ram with the ewes, and sell off all the offspring.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ferrit47, shanwsl11

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549239 by spoook
Replied by spoook on topic New to owing sheep
Something to also bear in mind, sheep do not like long grass. So, if you have just moved in and there is long grass and you are thinking of the amount of sheep you could feed on it, wait until you see how these ones go before adding to your flock. Watch that they are eating and not just flatenning the grass. You may have to slash an eare for then to eat. That is IF you have long grass. :-)

There are no bad questions only those that are not asked.
"You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed"
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ferrit47

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549247 by shanwsl11
Replied by shanwsl11 on topic New to owning sheep
Thanks for your comments, really helpful advice. And yes an area of grass is quite long where the house irrigation system is located. I have the two Ewes in there at the moment, they seem to be eating the grass but I probably should cut it down a bit to make it easier for them.
I’ll definitely hold off on getting any more sheep for now. I might look into hiring a Ram at some stage.

Thanks.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ferrit47

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549252 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic New to owning sheep
If I were starting again I would do the following;
1. Get a soil test done to see what the fertility of the soil is like for grass growth. Go to your closest Ravensdown, Ballance, Farmlands or Wrightson PGG store and get the soil testing kit and an explanation of how to do it. Take the kit back to where you got it from with the soil samples in the bag provided, they will send it to a laboratory and ask you to pay about $60, then wait for the results.
2. Catch the ewes and check how many front top adult teeth they have. 3 years old will have 4 or 6 big teeth, and some small lambs teeth. 4 or 5 year old will have 6 or 8 big teeth. Older will have worn teeth, and eventually they will have gaps or no teeth at about 8 years old.
3. If the fertility is low then 2 sheep are enough. You will need to fertilise the soil for pasture growth to run more sheep. That is easily done by hand.
4. If correct but not high the idea of a terminal ram might be a good idea, but you will need to fertilise within the year.
5. If the fertility is high then another ewe and a full time ram could be considered.
6. A terminal ram is a ram that is going to make lambs that are not going to be bred from. I would ask the neighbouring farmers if they have any decent sized ram lambs that you can buy one of after it has been shorn in February or before. It will cost you about $200. Keep him in with the ewes, and kill him for meat in August or September. But be aware that some people are able to taste ram taint even if they have been killed as lambs and not mated anything.
7. With a full-time ram you could consider buying a decent sized Wiltshire lamb, but it will cost an arm and a leg. You should sell or kill any offspring before they breed or you will be overstocked. You may need to buy extra food anyway.

My opinions for what they are worth.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Monteiro

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549254 by Mudlerk
Replied by Mudlerk on topic New to owing sheep
My sheep must be odd...they eat long grass.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549255 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic New to owing sheep
Some of mine do too, but if they are given the option they will eat clean short grass rather than clean long grass. They do better (except for worms) if the grass is short because it has a higher proportion of protein than long grass does. The worms exception is because the worms climb up the leaves when the condition are correct (damp and warm) to get eaten by the sheep. If the grass is short the worms have less distance to climb, so less time to be dried out by the sun.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549256 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic New to owning sheep

LongRidge wrote: I
2. Catch the ewes and check how many front top adult teeth they have. 3 years old will have 4 or 6 big teeth, and some small lambs teeth. 4 or 5 year old will have 6 or 8 big teeth. Older will have worn teeth, and eventually they will have gaps or no teeth at about 8 years old..


Bold text mine.
Longridge, sheep do not have "Front Top adult teeth". They have lower teeth only in front, and bite against a dental pad on the top jaw. This tooth configuration is common to most grazing rumanants. ie sheep, cattle, goats, deer. They do have grinding teeth on both lower and upper jaws (at back) here's a good explanation of telling the age. Sheep/goats ages

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
The following user(s) said Thank You: LongRidge

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549257 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic New to owning sheep
Ooops .... just testing, and I'm glad that you have corrected the undeliberate mistake. Sometimes, what I thought I said was not what I meant ....

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549262 by muri
Replied by muri on topic New to owning sheep
If the grass is long, leave it long as this is not the time of the year to slash or cut because of concern for facial eczema . Grass cut and left in the paddock will be the perfect breeding ground for the FE spores at this time of the year. My sheep cope with long grass and are loving the seed heads the moment. I prefer the grass long in summer as it is less prone to drying out as the taller the grass, the deeper the root system so it can mine what soil moisture there is more readily than short grass with a small root zone.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Julie_Smith

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549325 by Herbal Garden
Replied by Herbal Garden on topic New to owing sheep
We have a bit more land than you and run a ram with our ewes. When we bought him, the guy offered to lease him and pick him up after breeding for around $150 per season. We decided to just buy him because we can separate him from the others. There are definitely people out there who will loan or lease a ram. My advice, don't buy a ram, wait to see how your block goes through summer before increasing your stock numbers. Have a great Christmas.
The following user(s) said Thank You: spoook

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
2 years 6 months ago #549464 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic New to owing sheep
Wiltshires are quite fertile and you may get two lots of twins so your numbers increase quickly. Can you take your ewes to another property where they have a ram? Check this summer to see how much grazing you will have then you will have a better idea of how many animals you can run.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.212 seconds