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Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Discussions about how to grow your own food or raising livestock.
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RachelM
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Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby RachelM » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:01 pm

Still in the planning stages of my future survival homestead, and now I'm looking into sheep. I want to have a small dual purpose flock, with the following attributes in mind:
-Cold hardiness for harsh winters
-Good mothering instincts
-Good litter size
-Feed Efficiency/Good grazing instincts

So far I have only really singled out Icelandic Sheep, but I'm not familiar with many breeds enough to make an informed decision. The main focus would be on meat and some milk for cheese (I've never drank sheep's milk, so I can't attest to whether I want to drink it or not). A little wool is a bonus, but again takes a lot of effort to make usable. Any breeds you could recommend?
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Re: Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby Knuckle » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:13 pm

I don't have any knowledge of farm animals to offer, but questions instead. How come the Monday night movie( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZGi46Pbhpg#t=146 ) stated that the British government determined sheep not suitable for food considerations over many other livestock during WWII? I also never heard them mention goats either in the show to know where they stood as they at least provide milk too. Sheep's wool make warm clothing and should therefore have made the cut in my books. I know they were conserving land for human food but you'd think that they must have disrupted the clothing industry to where such was a minimal resource then too.
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Re: Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby farmgal » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:43 pm

RachelM wrote:Still in the planning stages of my future survival homestead, and now I'm looking into sheep. I want to have a small dual purpose flock, with the following attributes in mind:
-Cold hardiness for harsh winters
-Good mothering instincts
-Good litter size
-Feed Efficiency/Good grazing instincts

So far I have only really singled out Icelandic Sheep, but I'm not familiar with many breeds enough to make an informed decision. The main focus would be on meat and some milk for cheese (I've never drank sheep's milk, so I can't attest to whether I want to drink it or not). A little wool is a bonus, but again takes a lot of effort to make usable. Any breeds you could recommend?


Sheep were the first `bigger`critter I added to the farm, something that my great-grandmother had on a huge spread, she ran 3000 head of them in southern alberta way back when and something that my grandparents had on their farm as well, my grandmother was a huge knitted but not something that my folks had, my dad hated them from working the farm etc.

So when I got my first sheep, I went with hair sheep, a nice meat and milk breed, I have since added in wool sheep, both of them are half Icelandic, I would never choose to get pure Icelandic, but as a blend, I don`t mind having some Icelandic.

I am personally not fond of the Icelandic Sheep, I have meet a number of folks and they really don't do it for me, plus I am aware of the health issues that a number of those breeders and owners have with the sheep. my current flock is a has katahdin, Icelandic, Canadian Arcott and Karakul, My main purpose of sheep for farm gate is meat and hides-pelts and horns, my main purpose on the farm is milk and wool..

Sheep milk is not really drank as is, its rich, you need to cut it with water if you want to drink it, but to use in drinks, cooking, baking or cheese or yogurt making its outstanding.. I have had a milk cow, milking goats and milking sheep and after ten years of working with the different ones, I am down to milking sheep only on the farm at this time.. I had a choice of adding a new milking nanny or a new milking sheep, went with the milking sheep.

Now, I know that somewhere in a book you have read that its a good thing that they can have three or even four lambs, and you will love it on the math on the paper and I know you will not believe me, but after you have had them for a few years and watched those extra struggle, be sickly and never thrive or have to raise x amount as bottle babies, come back to this thought.. never breed for more babies then the mother has teats!

I want twins on my sheep, I can stand the odd triple, and I don`t like to see a single on anything other then a first timer but when folks say.. this doe produces 3 or 4, I smile, nod and walk away.. I have learned its so not worth it in the long run.
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farmgal
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Re: Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby farmgal » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:48 pm

Knuckle wrote:I don't have any knowledge of farm animals to offer, but questions instead. How come the Monday night movie( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZGi46Pbhpg#t=146 ) stated that the British government determined sheep not suitable for food considerations over many other livestock during WWII? I also never heard them mention goats either in the show to know where they stood as they at least provide milk too. Sheep's wool make warm clothing and should therefore have made the cut in my books. I know they were conserving land for human food but you'd think that they must have disrupted the clothing industry to where such was a minimal resource then too.


I got this one, and I have never even seen the movie..

A breeding tri of rabbits kept properly and breed on time, can have most of their food harvested for free, or be feed scrapes, and they will produce about 300 pounds of meat a year.

A proper dairy cow can produce as much milk in a day as 12 or more of sheep can, clearly its going to use less feedstuffs to feed one cow..

Pigs can be feed scrapes and raised on marginal land, and their growth rates far produce sheep by a mile.. Pigs can have two litters per year, sheep birth once a year, pigs can have ten or more per, sheep two to three.. Pigs produce more fat, which would have been needed.

The success of most sheep farmers is that they take marginal land and use it for sheep or goat, but as marginal land was turned into either food or fiber producing land, it knocked the sheep out of their traditional role in this regards.

As for the wool, yes, it would have been needed but again, you can grow and harvest plant fibers for making of clothing on much less land, and depending on which plants, you might be able to get two to four cuttings per year vs, one wool fleese.
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Perfesser
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Re: Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby Perfesser » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:52 am

the British government determined sheep not suitable for food considerations over many other livestock during WWII

What's good for the government is about the last thing that's good for you.
There were restrictions on all kinds of livestock then. They had many mouths to feed and it takes a lot of land to feed animals. They would rather make bread.
Your meat ration was 4 oz bacon or ham per week plus (I don't know the value of this ) Meat: To the value of 1s.2d (one shilling and sixpence per week. That is about 6p today).
That doesn't sound like much.

Governments would be very happy if we all ate nothing but wheat, corn, potatoes and soy. It can be a factory farmed monoculture, easy to store, transport and control. They just want you alive long enough to put your best years into working the factories and then preferably die off quickly after that.
At that time they were just trying to keep the population alive(not necessarily in optimum health) with as few outside resources as possible due to the submarine threat. Remember Churchill was most worried about the subs cutting off the island.


I think the best choice is whatever thrives best in your climate that provides what you want. Northern Alberta is going to have different animals than Ontario
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Re: Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby Knuckle » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:09 am

Those were some good answers. When FarmGal started talking about milking sheep, part of me is waiting for that "Fooled You Sucker" light to come on in the corner somewhere :lol: . Just can't imagine hunting for little teats amongst all that wool.... :lol:

Next she's going to tell me she's just finished milking the chickens :shock: :D
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Re: Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby farmgal » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:39 am

part of what makes a good milking sheep is teat shape and placement.. sucky video, and she was only giving about a quart of milk as she was drying up..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH-W6kh_3rw
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Re: Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby MrsPrepwPets » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:49 am

Hijack (with apologies):
Farmgal, How come the goats didn't make the cut as you developed? Too windy, too single-purpose?

Sheep:
Triplets - don't forget the added pains of untangling them when the mother can't deliver on her own.

Not addressed in either "wartime sheep" reply was the fact that while they were raising linen and surviving on strict meat and fat rations, the Brits ended up rationing clothing for the masses during and even after the war (like, for some stuff LATE after the war) until they could fully catch up with lost imports and production.


Wartime Farm:
Totally good watching (so far). That group did several others from various time periods. The "Valley" farm series with the bigger group (4 or 5) was on YouTube, too, up to a couple years ago.
(Thank you, whoever picked Wartime Farm for Movie Mondays, I never saw that one - any pull on getting their new one?)
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Re: Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby farmgal » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:23 am

The goats didn`t make the grade for a number of reason`s, much higher purchase price which meant that when I had lose`s I was losing more output of money

- more health issues
- Required more feed impute to keep health
-Required more grain to produce the milk per quart
Required more medication on a regular base - vit shots, anitbodic`s after birthing
Sadly because of certain health issues, you have generations of dairy breeds being pulled from their mom`s, and be being hand raised, its great for temperament but if you want a doe that has not birthed or raised her own kids for X gens to act like a normal momma, suddenly you have issues, now you don`t have this problem with the meat breeds but I didn`t want meat breeds
-the kids had more baby health issues then the lambs did
-Lack of meat market for the goat meat, those that do eat it, want it cheap, where as there is a high demand market for local grass-fed lamb
=Lack of secondary markets, you can find a buyer for a sheep pelt but not a goat hide in the same way.
-Same with wool

All in all, they just didn`t hold up to what the sheep could offer..
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endangeredspecies
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Re: Sheep on a Survival Homestead

Postby endangeredspecies » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:04 am

i traveled allot but never had farm yet
by my experiences i seen so many culture or population from the afghani to south american and asian who use goat has primary food resource since millenium
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