Good planning can help avoid a baaaad experience.
the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
different people -- one in Russia, the other in California -- recently asked us
about raising sheep. So today we offer advice from some experts.
(SOUND OF SHEEP)
at Ohio State University say sheep probably respond more to good care than any
other animal. So the first thing people should ask themselves is whether they
have enough time to give sheep the attention they need.
the answer is yes, then a question is how many sheep to buy. Specialists at
Oklahoma State University suggest starting with a small flock -- twenty to
your budget. Do you have enough money for supplies? Do you have the things you
need to take care of barns and pasture lands?
What about keeping your sheep healthy?
You need to know about measures like how to control parasites. And will you
have money to pay for treatment if animals get sick or injured?
are other basic questions to answer when getting started.
kind of sheep do you want to raise? There are wool breeds and meat sheep and
dual-purpose sheep which can be used for wool or food.
out what products people in your area want to buy. Is there greater demand for
fresh lamb than warm woolen sweaters? What about demand for sheep's milk for
making cheese? Research what kinds of markets are available.
If pasture lands are limited, sometimes
two ewes and a cow can be placed together. Susan Schoenian at the University of
Maryland says sheep will eat weeds that cows reject. But she says that sheep
should not have to walk too far to get food and water.
may need hay and grains, but pastures with enough good grasses and weeds can
often supply much of their diet. Sheep are good for the land when they feed on
grasses. It helps renew pastures and it can keep land from returning to forest.
need a structure that will keep them dry. A barn where newborn lambs are housed
should be well protected from the wind. Also, fences should be strong enough to
hold energetic little lambs.
be a help in raising sheep. Big dogs like the Anatolian shepherd or Great
Pyrenees can guard them from hostile animals. And, of course, border collies
are famous for their ability to direct sheep and keep a flock together.
that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. I'm Bob Doughty.