Hey, all you non-shepherds -- check out this article by the Noble Foundation about what sheep might do for your regenerative ranch. Of the seven reasons listed, I must admit that #6 is what keeps me knee deep in sheep, though #7 is why this makes good business sense too:

6. YOU MAY BE SURPRISED HOW MUCH YOU LIKE THEM.​

Sheep are cool critters. I was surprised to learn how much I enjoy working with them. They’re easy to deal with and be around, especially once you adjust to the differences between sheep and cattle. And I really like that they help us utilize the resources that God gives us better than if we were only running cattle.

Ranchers unloading sheep from a trailer

7. FINANCIALLY, THEY JUST MAKE SENSE.​

By diversifying, you can dramatically improve your bottom line. When you add sheep to a cattle operation, you’re no longer putting all your eggs in one basket. When cattle prices drop, you’ve got sheep to sell, too. And instead of having to spray for weeds, sheep will use those weeds to make you money. It’s a win-win.

Additionally, sheep are cheaper to get into — you can pay them off in a year or two. And once you’re set up, each step of the way is less intensive than and less expensive than cattle. You don’t have to precondition them. It’s cheap to supplement them during the winter, too. We’re talking a couple of pounds of alfalfa per day per head to get them through the worst part of winter. Finally, you can just load them up and go when you’re ready to sell.
 

David Fernandez

New member
I agree, especially with number 6. I had always been cattle and never thought I would like sheep. When I moved to Arkansas and finally managed to get a small farm of my own, it was really too small for cattle to make sense. It was mostly grass pasture, so I opted for sheep instead of goats. There was a learning curve, but I also learned that I really liked them a lot and had a great time with them. They will come when you call them if you train them, and when one comes a-runnin', they ALL come a-runnin'! The smaller size is also an advantage. I was loading some on the trailer one day when one turned around and jumped off, hitting me squarely in the chest. Had she been a heifer, you could have just thrown some dirt over me and kept on working. But because of her small size, I simply caught her against my body and put her back on the trailer. The rams can still hurt you, though, so keep your eyes open, especially during the breeding season! I had to sell out of the business a few years ago when work and after school activities grew too hectic. I miss my sheep and will definitely get back into them in another year or two once I can move back out to my farm.
 

HernanC

Moderator
I really appreciated that article. I also found this article explaining how a 25 acre vineyard is using sheep to increase productivity. I am now thinking of getting some sheep and grazing them on my father in law's property. I'll have to convince him of the benefits though...

 

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