Sheep Farming Business:
Introduction to Sheep Farming Business
What is sheep farming? well, sheep farming is a process of raising and breeding of domestic sheep. Sheep and goat farming is one of the prime departments of animal husbandry in the agriculture sector. Sheep farming business is intended for production of meat (lamb and mutton), milk, wool, and fiber. However, sheep milk does not have any importance commercially so meat and wool, sheepskin is main outputs of sheep business. Commercial sheep farming has an excellent demand throughout the world as meat consumption is increasing drastically. sheep farming plays a major role in the national economy by providing rural employment as well as securing the financial status of poor and margin landowners. Apart from individual consumption of lamb, hotels, other meat processing units have excellent demand. Sheep can be raised in temperate climates, including arid zones. With a proper sheep farming business plan and livestock management, one can obtain decent profits in this line of business. Who can start sheep farm? anybody who is interested in sheep business with good sheep management skills. Sheep can be raised on small scale or large scale (commercially). Sheep farmers can get their investment back in a very short period of time as these animal grow fast. However, to become a successful or profitable in sheep farming business, you must understand sheep basics along with other things needed to run this. Let us discuss more steps involved in commercial sheep farming business.
Sheep in Indian Languages
- Hindi – Bhēḍa.
- Bengali – Bhēṛā.
- Telugu – గొర్రెలు / Gorrelu.
- Tamil- ஆடுகள் / Āṭukaḷ.
- Malayalam – ആടുകൾ / āṭukaḷ.
- Kannada – ಕುರಿ /
- Marathi – मेंढी / Mēṇḍhī.
- Gujarati – ઘેટાં / Ghēṭāṁ.
- Punjabi – ਭੇਡ / Bhēḍa.
- Urdu – بھیڑوں
There are many breeds and varieties are raised depending on the local climatic conditions. some of the varieties include
- Fine wool sheep.
- Long wool sheep.
- Medium wool meat sheep.
- Carpet wool sheep.
- Hair sheep.
- Fat-tailed sheep.
- Short tailed breeds.
- Prolific breeds.
- Primitive breeds.
Advantages and Benefits of Sheep Farming Business
- Sheep is a multi-faceted animal which can produce meat, milk, wool, skin, and manure.
- Farmers get three different types of income from meat, wool, and manure.
- Sheep flocks can be managed even by women, old people.
- Sheep grow faster and attain slaughter weight at 5 to 6 months.
- Mutton can be consumed by any religion and regions throughout the world hence the demand for lamb always high.
- Sheep farming business provides rural/local employment and became one of the important agriculture sectors in national economies of many countries.
- Goats occupy less floor space in stall-fed sheep farming.
- Unlike goats, sheep will not damage any trees.
- Sheep feed on small grass and weeds on the field hence clearing the field for crop cultivation.
- Sheep are easily adapted to arid and semi-arid tropics with marginal and sub-marginal lands.
- Many people prefer sheep dung or droppings on their field to increase the soil fertility by providing organic matter.
- Sheep can be sold very easily without struggling to market.
- Sheep can be raised just for meat or breeding. Once you establish a breeding firm, many people pay extra for getting quality breeds for their farm.
- Sheep can survive over a prolonged period of drought conditions.
- Sheep flocks can be managed easily without any problem.
- Sheep can produce prime carcasses on roughage.
- Sheep have good lip structure which helps them to clean the grains lost during harvesting period thus converting wastage into profits.
- Sheep can be raised in huts and with minimal infrastructure.
- Sheep need less labor either fixed or seasonal than any other livestock.
- Sheep can utilize the waste very effectively because of its close grazing nature.
How to Start Sheep Farming Business
Before starting a sheep farming business, you should research about profitable breeds, sheep basics, and management. This can be done by visiting local nearby sheep farms. Get training from animal husbandry department. You can watch sheep farming videos on YouTube. Prepare a basic business plan which should include from breed to feed. As sheep will be ready for selling within 6 months period, establish a proper profitable marketing channel. Until you get confidence and proper management, don’t start this business on large scale. Start with fewer animals and expand the farm as you go. Some area requires a commercial business license to start this business, find out a procedure to establish a farm in the region. Ensure you have some land for grazing as well or to grow any green forage.
Choosing Right Location for Sheep Farming Business
When you set up a farm, make sure the location is safe from all kinds of predators such as wolfs, wild dogs etc.. Apart from this the location should be on an elevated area so that getting water inside the house can be avoided. Sheep shed should be closer to any town and should have good transport facility. It is better if you able to get the labor in the area.
Breed Selection in Sheep Farming Business
Well, you should first decide whether you are going to raise the sheep for meat or wool? and the breed selection depends on this criteria. You should select sheep breed based on agro-climatic conditions. It is advised to choose sheep breeds which can gain good weight in short period of time and are disease resistant. The following sheep breeds are good for Indian climate.
- Chennai red.
- Ramanadhapuram white.
- South Down.
- Trichy black.
- Suffolk (Meat).
- Dorset (dual purpose, meat, and milk).
Some other international sheep breeds are.
It is advised to buy a sheep from directly from the people who raised them rather buying from middle agents. Enquire about sheep history like feeding habits and alertness etc.. The following sheep buying tips should be considered.
- Sheep eyes should be bright and clear.
- Sheep teeth should be strong and not be missing.
- Sheep hooves should be trimmed properly.
- Observe for the lower jaw, this should not be undershot or overshot.
- Sheep should not have any lumps or swelling of neck or head.
- Observe the sheep while walking to find any limping.
- Check for any foot rot or infection by looking closely at the sheep feet.
- Check for any untreated worm conditions.
- When you look at the sheep, overall sheep’s physical condition should be good.
- Avoid sheep if it has any fat belly.
- Sheep should have a wide back and deep body.
- In case of female sheep (ewe) selection, check the udder for a health condition. It should not be lumpy.
Note: If you are unable to perform above activities, it is recommended to have your veterinary professional to inspect the sheep.
Shed or Housing for Sheep Farming Business
It is not required to build an expensive sheep shed but it should be secured enough. Shed walls can be built of brick, cement, and roof with asbestos sheets. The sheep house size depends on a number of animals. The sheep should have good ventilation hence build the shed in an east-west direction. It is good enough to allocate a space of 15 to 20 sq.ft/adult sheep. You can have good fencing to protect the sheep on the farm. It is better to construct permanent feeding channels in the shed. Attached feed room is recommended.
Fodder / Feed in Sheep Farming Business
Right feed in sheep farming brings you more profits. You can buy sheep feed in the market or can make your own. If you have 1 to 2 acres land, it is better to grow legume crop or any grain crops like maize. You can make silage for your sheep from home-grown forage crops. The silage is good for sheep especially when there is no green forage is available. Sheep are ruminants which can feed on plants like fresh grass and hay. Their main feed is pasture grasses, salts, vitamins and minerals supplements, and fresh water. You must stick to sheep feeding schedule. With right nutritious feed, you can achieve sheep fattening in short period of time.
Green fodder crops for sheep.
Concentrated feed for sheep.
Concentrated feed for sheep.
- Broken rice.
- Soya bean cake.
- Groundnut (peanut) cake.
|Feeding Lamb Kids||Feeding Adult Sheep|
|Broken maize = 22%||Broken maize = 37%|
|Broken gram = 20%||Broken gram = 15%|
|Almond cake = 35%||Almond cake = 25%|
|Wheat = 20%||Wheat = 20%|
|Mineral salt = 2.5%||Mineral salt = 2.5%|
|Salt = 0.5%||Salt = 0.5%|
Care and Management in Sheep Farming Business
When you are into commercial sheep farming, care of sheep is topmost priority of farm activities. Along with nutritious feed, supply fresh water. Scheduled vaccination should be done in all animals on the farm. De-worming should be carried frequently. Have a veterinary doctor to visit the farm on weekly basis to check the health conditions of sheep. Sheep are more prone to diseases than goats hence you must be alert to any disease that attacks animals. Monitoring sheep frequently is mandatory for finding any abnormalities like limping, swollen tummy, mucus discharge, and feeding problem. Sick sheep should be removed from the flock and treated as soon as possible as sheep diseases are very contagious. Newly born sheep kids and pregnant ewes should be provided good care especially in terms feed ration and health care. Breeding rams should be provided good feed as well. Keep the record of all the vaccinations for each animal. Sell off old, sick and unproductive sheep as soon as possible. Don’t keep many rams (male sheep) in the shed. Trimming the sheep by cutting wool should be carried out frequently.
Marketing in Sheep Farming Business
Usually, it is not difficult to market the sheep, however, for better profits establish direct marketing channel with hotels or direct consumers. Avoid sheep agents who buy for the cheaper price and sell higher prices. For profitable sheep farming business, you should follow modern sheep farming methods especially related to a selection of sheep breed, weaning, housing and shelter management, pregnancy care, kid (lamb) care, culling, keeping records, identification, dipping, and health management.
Investment, Cost, and Profits in Sheep Farming Business
Well, investment depends on breed, a number of animals, an age of sheep at the time of purchase, shed, land, labor, feed, and medical expenses. Some of them are fixed and onetime investment and some of them are variable. The sheep meat price in the market is about 500 Rs/kg, the price may go high during festival time. The profits depend on what age they will be sold to a slaughterhouse. On an average of 100 sheep farm, if you are selling after six months of purchase, you can get 2 to 3 lakhs.
Sheep Farming Subsidy and Loan
To encourage the rural economy, most of the state governments are providing subsidies and loans through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). You must meet certain technical requirements for sanction of the loan and subsidy. Contact rural banks or NABARD branch for more information.