new video from paul! (permies thread)
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Buying sheep on the cheap 😉 Ragtag flock  RSS feed

 
Taylor Cleveland
Posts: 19
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Trying to start bundling up a flock to raise for meat. I would love to treat very little and eventually build up a small resistance to parasites. (Rotational grazing w/chickens following behind) I have been doing my research, and I'm having a hard time finding someone that is selling sheep that have good parasite resistance and is 100% grass/hay fed. I'm having an even harder time finding anyone who is selling that quality for under $250. That is just out of my budget.
I AM finding a lot of lambs, pregnant ewes, ewes, and Rams from people who just have some sheep in the back 40, keeping them on pasture and feeding some grain. They are also treating as needed instead of on a schedule. These sheep are $100-$150 range.
Considering what we want out of our sheep, will I be backsliding by buying the cheaper/not as resistant sheep? I'm ok with a mixed flock and am actually looking forward to cross-breeding for the genetics I want.
We have also never raised livestock before so I'm nervous buying the expensive sheep considering our lack of esperience.

Also, if we do buy the cheaper sheep, would it be smarter to buy lambs and then process them this fall? Or go ahead and buy some pregnant ewes or a couple ewes and a ram?

(Side note- these down the road for $750 total. Mixed breed hair sheep, out on pasture with a little corn everyday. Good deal?
"I have a ewe tht had lambs last February they r about a a month old she had twins a ram and a ewe the other one I don't know if she's preg or not but I had a ram with her and she's starting to get fatter so I figured 500 for the mom and two lambs and 250 for the ewe have to take em all")
 
wayne fajkus
Posts: 646
9
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm missing something. If the cheaper sheep are on the back 40 and treated as needed, rather than on a schedule, wouldn't they be the more resistant sheep? I would imagine the sick ones had been culled out naturally.
 
Taylor Cleveland
Posts: 19
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
wayne fajkus wrote:I'm missing something. If the cheaper sheep are on the back 40 and treated as needed, rather than on a schedule, wouldn't they be the more resistant sheep? I would imagine the sick ones had been culled out naturally.



Yes, the more expensive ones are much more resistant and already living in a rotation grazing system. The people who are selling the more inexpensive sheep are treating as lambs then as needed and I'm assuming keeping them in a few paddocks like a traditional farm (Which is why I am assuming they are having to feed grain)

Being new to sheep I'm curious on how much the management style of A. Feeding corn as opposed to foraging and B. Worming instead of breading for parasite resistance will set me back since I want to do the opposite. Is it worth buying the more inexpensive sheep and having to work harder for the traits I want or starting off with more expensive sheep that are living in a system similar to mine.

I don't want to spend money on animals that are just flat out not bred for the environment I want to creat and become too time consuming/expensive to get them where I want them to be.

Does that make sense?
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 921
84
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Worm resistance is a very overrated quality, expressed more in the amount of grazing acres they have then in their breed type. It is easy to understand. A worm in a sheep has a 21 day life cycle so if you can break up that cycle by rotating the sheep to fresh pastures, and they do not have to regraze that same area within 21 days, the chances of parasites are far less. I am not sure what is considered a parasite resistant breed now; every breed directory claims it, but I am certain my sheep do not meet that requirement, yet I have very little worms in my sheep. Why? They graze 2 acres per sheep when here I can stock it it a density of 10 sheep to the acre. In short, they have plenty of land and are not so hungry they must eat that tuft of grass above their pelleted poo less than 21 days old. And you can check their parasite load count by checking under their eyelids too by the way. The more yellowish it is, the more worms they have.

As for rotational grazing and grass fed only, sheep are pretty resilient and can stand the change. I would just stay away from Hampshire and Suffolk as they do indeed like their grain. I have these two breeds so it is not said without experience or to spite them. They have their place, and convert lamb fast, but it takes a poke of grain to do it. Finishing other breeds of sheep on grass is still a challenge, doable, but a challenge. It requires being on your game as far as rotating between fields, getting the right combination in your fields, etc; but it can be done and just about any breed (other than Suffolk or Hampshire) can adjust well to it.

As for price; I will not buy any sheep for more than $200 bucks. In your case I would buy older ewes, they do not really hit their stride until 3-6 years of age anyway and buying market lambs is a gamble. What you are looking for is not all that hard to get and I buy and sell sheep all the time.

 
Taylor Cleveland
Posts: 19
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Taylor Cleveland wrote:
wayne fajkus wrote:I'm missing something. If the cheaper sheep are on the back 40 and treated as needed, rather than on a schedule, wouldn't they be the more resistant sheep? I would imagine the sick ones had been culled out naturally.



Yes, the more expensive ones are much more resistant and already living in a rotation grazing system. The people who are selling the more inexpensive sheep are treating as lambs then as needed and I'm assuming keeping them in a few paddocks like a traditional farm (Which is why I am assuming they are having to feed grain)

Being new to sheep I'm curious on how much the management style of A. Feeding corn as opposed to foraging and B. Worming instead of breading for parasite resistance will set me back since I want to do the opposite. Is it worth buying the more inexpensive sheep and having to work harder for the traits I want or starting off with more expensive sheep that are living in a system similar to mine.

I don't want to spend money on animals that are just flat out not bred for the environment I want to creat and become too time consuming/expensive to get them where I want them to be.

Does that make sense?


This is what I was hoping you would say. I just didn't want to make the wrong choice, and needed a thumbs up. We're going to look at this man's sheep down the road tomorrow. They lamb on their own and he usually worms about twice a year. Seems like a good deal and even better that he is right down the road. It would be about $140 a sheep, unless I can get him to take a lower price.

Thanks for your input Travis. I notice your responses all over here and I appreciate your willingness to offer advice to all of the questions that are probably annoying to seasoned shepherds.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 921
84
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not at all annoying. We all started somewhere, whether it is in farming, as a Doctor, or even the young kid at McDonald's.

I hope my response did not come across as brash. It was late in the evening when I responded and have yet to really recover from my logging accident last week so it might have seemed that way. If I came across that way, I apologize. I know some things within me are "just a bit off right now" because of the accident and hope that will soon change with more medical attention.

It is interesting to note that while at the emergency room, a 62 year old Doctor was showing a EMT trainee how to do stitches and I was glad. That is what we need today; people passing on their skills willingly and with patience to those that follow...again, even if it is a kid working at McDonald's: patience being a true virtue.

In the case of sheep farming: ask away. I started out with only 4 sheep and remember those days with fondness and have never forgotten where I started. That is a very good thing!
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!