The sheep is a cloven-hoofed mammal that has been domesticated by humans to provide wool, among other things. In addition, they’re mainly kept for their milk and their meat.
The ideal environment
- It is best to take sheep off the pasture during autumn and winter in order to preserve the grass.
- Make sure there is plenty of drinking water. After lambing, a ewe can easily drink 5 to 10 litres of water per day.
- Provide adequate fencing, so that your sheep do not wander off onto new pastures.
- A sheep’s gestation period is 147 days on average, and its heat cycle lasts around 17 days.
- Most breeds of sheep go into heat when the days start to shorten, usually from August to January.
- Ram lambs should be weaned promptly to prevent them from mating with their mother or sisters.
- Keep track of mating. This way, you will be able to better predict when lambing will take place.
- Use a different marking colour for each heat cycle to ensure you know for certain whether sheep have mated.
Tips for rams and ewes
The weight of a ewe usually varies between 60 and 80 kg. For a ram, it can easily vary between 80 and 115 kg.
- The time at which lambs are ready for slaughter depends greatly on their breed.
- Texel lambs are usually ready for slaughter at around 4.5 months, with a weight of about 45 kg.
- Suffolk sheep are ready for slaughter as soon as they reach 3.5 months and a weight of 35 to 40 kg.
- Hampshire lambs, a rustic breed that matures early, possess an excellent meat quality up to a living weight of 20 to 25 kg. Once this weight has been exceeded, the lambs will be too fatty.