Sheep

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.

Reproduction

  • 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

Sheep are first and foremost ruminants, and they must have access to roughage. Their daily diet should not contain more than 60% of concentrated feeds.

The weight of a ewe usually varies between 60 and 80 kg. For a ram, it can easily vary between 80 and 115 kg.

Interesting tips

  • 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.

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