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HomeFarming NewsFarming sheep: 5 things for new entrants to consider
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farming sheep: 5 things for new entrants to consider

In this article, Steph King provides advice in relation to taking care of sheep.

Do you know how to properly look after your sheep?

Whether you are keeping sheep for meat, wool, milk, or simply as pets, you must know how to care for them properly, and it is not as simple as it might seem.

This post will outline a few of the key areas to focus on that should help you to look after your sheep and keep them healthy.

Food & water

Obviously, food and water are essential for their survival. Sheep will thrive when there is enough pasture grass, plants and trees, so having enough land for grazing is key.

During the colder months, you may need to provide them with hay to keep them well fed. Sheep must also always have access to water so that they can keep themselves hydrated.

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Protection from predators

One of the biggest challenges of looking after sheep is protecting them from predators, such as wandering dogs.

You cannot watch them 24/7, so you might find it helpful to have a guard dog that would protect them from predators and put bells on them to keep track of them.

Having a high-quality fence is also a key step for protecting sheep in terms of keeping them penned in and predators out.

Space & shelter

As mentioned before, space is hugely important when it comes to looking after sheep.

They will need enough space to be able to roam each day, which will help to keep them happy and healthy.

During the colder months, it is likely that you will need some kind of sheep housing that will protect them from the elements and keep them warm (this could also provide shade in the middle of summer).

Prevent diseases

Illness and disease can be serious issues when it comes to sheep. The clostridial disease is common as well as internal parasites or liver fluke, which is why it is important to check your sheep over and to keep a lookout for signs of illness.

You must also keep up with regular vaccinations and make sure that their environment is kept healthy and safe at all times.

Care & maintenance

While sheep can largely be left to themselves, it is important that you provide care and maintenance.

This will include shearing ahead of the warmer months of the year, which is important to prevent them from overheating but also to maintain good hygiene.

This is a necessity as they do not shed wool naturally, but you will want to make sure that you are careful when shearing and using the right equipment.

These are the key areas to focus on when it comes to looking after sheep.

No matter the reason for looking after sheep, you need to know how to look after them, and they are quite different from any other type of animal.

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