Thinking about raising sheep in the south

BelindaM(z8 La)November 29, 2006

I did some research about hairless sheep, we have fences for horses and we probably would have to re-fence eveverthing for sheep. I was also told that I should get a dog to live with the sheep. Anyone in the south that can share with me how to get started???

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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Well, umm, actually, it's haired sheep, not hairless - they don't grow a fleece and they shed their coat in the spring, so no shearing is needed. The only type/variety name I can recall off-hand is Barbadoes Black Belly, but there are a couple of others, which you can google for. You don't get any wool from them, but if you want them for pets or as mobile lawnmowers or meat, they would be good. I know people here in Spartanburg County who have conventional sheep, but I think the owner does his own shearing. It's not impossible to do yourself, just cumbersome, but if you want to process the fleeces for spinning, you need to do a smmoth job, which takes some practice. Finding a shearer for a small flock is apparently almost impossible.

As far as the re-fencing, it depends on the fence you already have - your new fence has to be such that the sheep and any lambs can't crawl through, and probably also so that any predators can't get in. Woven wire/mesh on the inside of the horse fencing should do the trick, for both needs. Or you can run two or three strands of eletric wire, 2 inside and one outside, to keep in what you want and out what you want. You WOULD then have to keep the fence-line clearer of weeds and long grass than you would with the woven wire, so the electric doesn't short out.

A livestock guard dog is a good predator deterrent, there are several types that can be used, but I would check to see which ones will work in LA - you may have to shear the dog every spring, even if the sheep don't need it! Most of the ones I know of have pretty heavy coats... Another option to use for protection, instead of a dog is a donkley or llama - both of them mostly hate dogs and will chase them, and anything that looks like them such as a coyote, out of their pasture. The llama might need to be sheared also, but the donkey should shed out on its own.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 9:45AM
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