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Need advice about sheep

 
Angela Aragon
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I have been considering adding 2-4 sheep to my 8.5 acre farm. At my location (San Ramon, Matagalpa, Nicaragua), hair sheep -- Pelibuey or Dorper -- are recommended because of the climate. Dorper are supposed to be resistant to many of the diseases that plague other breeds of sheep. Unfortunately, they apparently are not readily available in Nicaragua. Instead, they have to be imported from Costa Rica, which can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Additionally, the breed itself is quite pricey. Pelibuey are available here, and are reasonably priced, but I do not know much about them. Does anyone have experience with either of these breeds?
 
R Ranson
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I don't know these breeds specifically, however, there are some other options which may interest you.

Have you considered landrace sheep?  They are usually far more vigorous and resistant to illness than purebred sheep.  The hardiness of a landrace sheep can be SIGNIFICANTLY more hardy than purebreds and they have a more affordable start up price.  A landrace local to you will be selected to withstand your local conditions. 

There are good reasons to go purebred - especially if you are selling the lambs live and registered.  But then again, I've seen only a few shepherds make this worth their while. 

Another thing to consider is a sheep with wool.  Sheep give milk, meat and wool.  In return they keep the grass mowed.  Shearing the sheep is a very minor expense compared to the benefit you can get from their wool.  For me, the wool is half the income of keeping sheep (and the lowest expense).  If I didn't want the wool, I would probably just have goats.  In my situation, it makes no sense to expend so much time and resources keeping the sheep only to get half the value from them. 


But your situation is different than mine.  It sounds like you are fairly new to sheep.  Breeds give general ideas on characteristics, but there can be lots of variation within a breed.  It may be easier if you are to buy the shepherd (not literally) and not the sheep.  If you can go to the farm yourself and see how the sheep are kept, this is the best bet.  Ask the shepherd questions you already know the answer to and see how they reply.  If they know less than you, go somewhere else. 
 
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