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Thread: Are sheep worth it?

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    Are sheep worth it?

    Just wondered what everyones opinion was on keeping sheep? we are going to do our own calculations on our own flock,but fear it wont be good reading and sheep could be thing of past here. has anyone worked out the pro's and cons of them?

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    there is a living in sheep, not huge margins, but a living.
    I think you need to look very carefully at how much stock you have. I halved the amount of sheep we had and made more money with less work and less feeding, but looking at the new cap suggestions it could be tight in the next few years.
    you really have to keep your eye on the ball and one bad decision can hurt, but it's always been that way, hasn't it?

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    some people say sheep are not much hassle to keep but they need alot of attention to keep them going as u want,from lambing,clipping,scanning,dosing,feet etc then the end product the fat lambs are worth not much,we having to feed the ewes rolls for almost 5 months of the year,this cant be right and at the price of feed it mounts up to a huge bill,our handling systems need a big investment aswell,might be better to get rid of them,whats in-lamb sheep going to be worth this year?

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by valtraman View Post
    some people say sheep are not much hassle to keep but they need alot of attention to keep them going as u want,from lambing,clipping,scanning,dosing,feet etc then the end product the fat lambs are worth not much,we having to feed the ewes rolls for almost 5 months of the year,this cant be right and at the price of feed it mounts up to a huge bill,our handling systems need a big investment aswell,might be better to get rid of them,whats in-lamb sheep going to be worth this year?
    Not as much as usual because everyone's cutting back. I would have cut back a fair bit in the autumn but didn't want to give them away. I think I could make more money with half the sheep but less than half the costs.
    Come and stay in the Welsh hills, http://www.holidaycambriancoast.co.uk/

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    There is definetly money in sheep, Based on two things

    Your heart has to be in the job, and you have to have the right system for your farm etc.


    We run 2,000 ewes and sell majority of lambs as stores in the autumn, rent all grazing, NO sfp, and keep two house holds.

    We make money!!!

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by valtraman View Post
    some people say sheep are not much hassle to keep but they need alot of attention to keep them going as u want,from lambing,clipping,scanning,dosing,feet etc then the end product the fat lambs are worth not much,we having to feed the ewes rolls for almost 5 months of the year,this cant be right and at the price of feed it mounts up to a huge bill,our handling systems need a big investment aswell,might be better to get rid of them,whats in-lamb sheep going to be worth this year?
    Outside of dairying sheep are the best performing livestock enterprise over here. If costs are controlled and attention to detail is paid the gross margin per hectare is much better than sucklers. Admittedly you have to have an interest in them but a lot of the work is quite seasonal and many jobs like clipping, scanning are one day per year jobs.
    I'm sticking up for them now but lambing starts next week and my thoughts in a month's time will be get rid of the horrible things, never again

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    I make a living from sheep, go on holiday for a couple of weeks and save a little
    Grazier , no SFP, try not to work weekends
    Like all things you need to keep an eye on costs and have a system that lets you enjoy the job

    In my system the sheep are very little hassle & I certainly don't get wound up very often---the bits that do occasionally get me down are not to do with the animals but usually things like landlords changing track at the last minute & that can happen regardless of whether you are farming sheep/cattle/arable/pigs or poultry

    So for me they are 'worth it'

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    Senior Member Henarar's Avatar
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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by DBJ View Post
    Not as much as usual because everyone's cutting back. I would have cut back a fair bit in the autumn but didn't want to give them away. I think I could make more money with half the sheep but less than half the costs.
    That all depends on how much less the costs per head would be and what your margin is at the moment

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    Senior Member andybk's Avatar
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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim W View Post
    I make a living from sheep, go on holiday for a couple of weeks and save a little
    Grazier , no SFP, try not to work weekends
    Like all things you need to keep an eye on costs and have a system that lets you enjoy the job

    In my system the sheep are very little hassle & I certainly don't get wound up very often---the bits that do occasionally get me down are not to do with the animals but usually things like landlords changing track at the last minute & that can happen regardless of whether you are farming sheep/cattle/arable/pigs or poultry

    So for me they are 'worth it'
    good post tim !
    yes similar here , we reduced a bit a few years back couldnt believe how much time it feed up , coupled with much harder culling policy made all the difference .
    just the rules and paperwork that is a damn pain .

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by robbo12 View Post
    There is definetly money in sheep, Based on two things

    Your heart has to be in the job, and you have to have the right system for your farm etc.


    We run 2,000 ewes and sell majority of lambs as stores in the autumn, rent all grazing, NO sfp, and keep two house holds.

    We make money!!!
    rent all here too but part time, what type of ewe do you keep?

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Sheep like to die.
    Build a good relationship with your fallen stock guy.

    Oh, and fence, then fence some more, God bless their little woolly socks

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razor8 View Post
    rent all here too but part time, what type of ewe do you keep?

    We keep pretty much 80% pure Lleyns, and the rest are Lleyn crosses.

    We use LLeyn tups to breed our own replacements, and also Charollais, and Hampshire.

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by valtraman View Post
    some people say sheep are not much hassle to keep but they need alot of attention to keep them going as u want,from lambing,clipping,scanning,dosing,feet etc then the end product the fat lambs are worth not much,we having to feed the ewes rolls for almost 5 months of the year,this cant be right and at the price of feed it mounts up to a huge bill,our handling systems need a big investment aswell,might be better to get rid of them,whats in-lamb sheep going to be worth this year?
    you shouldn't be feeing ewe rolls for 5 months no wonder your making no money your spending tooo much on feed

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by cooksey View Post
    you shouldn't be feeing ewe rolls for 5 months no wonder your making no money your spending tooo much on feed
    well we either feed them or they will just waste away and die????

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by robbo12 View Post
    We keep pretty much 80% pure Lleyns, and the rest are Lleyn crosses.

    We use LLeyn tups to breed our own replacements, and also Charollais, and Hampshire.
    Do you sell your stores through a market or privately and do you have a date that they must be off the farm or does it depend on the lambs and grass availability?

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by valtraman View Post
    well we either feed them or they will just waste away and die????

    No joking - You have a problem with your ewes and should seek advice from a vet if that is true.
    Don't itch for something if you're not prepared to scratch for it.

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Socksitis View Post
    Do you sell your stores through a market or privately and do you have a date that they must be off the farm or does it depend on the lambs and grass availability?
    To be honest it`s a bit of everything. But most would go through a market.

    Most lambs are gone by beginning of November. When they go depends on how well each bunch has done. Hamps tend to go first, then charollais, and then Lleyns.

    Also we don`t lamb until mid April.

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by valtraman View Post
    well we either feed them or they will just waste away and die????
    My opinion would be you have got the wrong type/breed of ewes for your land. No one should be feeding ewes conc for 5 months every year.

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by valtraman View Post
    well we either feed them or they will just waste away and die????
    how many ewes, type of land, breed of ewe. less numbers of better suited ewes me thinks

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by wr. View Post
    No joking - You have a problem with your ewes and should seek advice from a vet if that is true.
    no sheep are healty enough although fluke is a problem round here,shouldnt of said they would die,what im meaning is the grass has gone now so nothing much out there for them,we start lambing 20 march,we could get away without feeding them but cum lambing time they will be bags of bones with no milk,round this area most folk will be feeding from now onwards,the ones that dont are the ones moaning when they have a bad lambing.hopefully we dont feed for 5 months but happened last year,hopefully get a good spring and there will be grass to go out too.type of sheep we are running are mixture of texel crosses and scotch mule

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    Senior Member Raggy's Avatar
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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    No.
    Looking out for the next holiday.

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    there's no harm feeding ewes to keep them healthy, as long as your sensible.
    I know its the in thing at the moment to try and do everything off grass which is fine and dandy if you don't mind a skip in the yard, but not everyone has the correct type of ground to grow grass through out the year so feeding is the only option for them.
    if you have a bag of bones before lambing, you will get big problems later on as sheep cannot suddenly put on weight, it takes a while!
    a lot of the people who don't feed spent more money on ground than they would if they chucked a bit of cake around, each to their own, everyone's different.
    don't follow the crowd, do your own thing if it works.

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by banjo View Post
    there's no harm feeding ewes to keep them healthy, as long as your sensible.
    I know its the in thing at the moment to try and do everything off grass which is fine and dandy if you don't mind a skip in the yard, but not everyone has the correct type of ground to grow grass through out the year so feeding is the only option for them.
    if you have a bag of bones before lambing, you will get big problems later on as sheep cannot suddenly put on weight, it takes a while!
    a lot of the people who don't feed spent more money on ground than they would if they chucked a bit of cake around, each to their own, everyone's different.
    don't follow the crowd, do your own thing if it works.
    exactly,normally when we bring them in to take tups off about xmas time we have a good pysical feel of the sheep for condition and then decide when the feeding will start.there is a man local to me who doesnt feed anything until 3 week before lambing,he running same type of sheep,ground stocking rate etc and i know for a fact his losses at lambing are frightening.anyway back to the original question are sheep paying?

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    valtraman where do you farm? If your ewes were in good condition pre tupping then you shouldn't need to be feeding concentrates for 5 months, hay or silage and mineral buckets normally will do the job. also you say you are on ground with fluke then you should be dossing for fluke regularly and don't use cheap fluke dosses as they dont work aswell and make sure your drench does all stages of fluke.

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Christ almighty!
    i'm pretty sure that valtraman knows his land better than the guys on here who are trying to tell him how to farm!
    How do you know he is not keeping his grass acreage tight?
    We feed concs for about the same amount of time a van and our own ration costs us 5.6p per ewe per day. I've tried buckets etc and they are not as cheap as that!! It equates to about 9.80 over the five months and you know the ewes are in premium health at the key times.
    i run my grass tight for sheep as I need it for the suckers.

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by stu b View Post
    Christ almighty!
    i'm pretty sure that valtraman knows his land better than the guys on here who are trying to tell him how to farm!
    How do you know he is not keeping his grass acreage tight?
    We feed concs for about the same amount of time a van and our own ration costs us 5.6p per ewe per day. I've tried buckets etc and they are not as cheap as that!! It equates to about 9.80 over the five months and you know the ewes are in premium health at the key times.
    i run my grass tight for sheep as I need it for the suckers.
    our sheep are ran fairly tight as we run alot of suckler cows aswell,the sheep need to be tip top condition when they lamb if u want them to nurse 2 lambs succesfully. as for the fluke advice.we are in a high fluke area but we are on top of the situation and dose regulary,even if we ran less sheep this time of year there would still be bugger all for them,the wet weather hasnt helped as fields are puddled,we have fair bit of hill ground and even it is saturated

  27. #27

    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Are sheep worth it? Is surely like asking is playing football worth it? If you're a below average footballer you'll probably be just about good enough to play for your village team and it will cost you 1 per game to help cover the cost of washing the kit. If you're above average you might well play for your local town and get paid 200 per game and if you're in the top 1% you'll be earning 50k plus per game. So if you asked these 3 players the same question they will give you 3 completely different answers and the one playing for his village will probably say it's not about the money but the fact he loves playing football.

    Met a really switched on (bordering on obsessed) sheep farmer last year who knew his costs down to the penny and was adamant he was making serious money from sheep, he had got rid of cows several years ago and now classes himself as a 'specialist' sheep farmer and since doing so he reckoned his profit per ewe had trebled. But then have met plenty of others who reckon their sheep enterprise is a complete waste of time/costing them money and can't wait to get rid of them.

    I guess only you can really decide whether sheep are worth it or not. If you can make more money/get more enjoyment from producing something else on your farm then surely that's got to be the way to go IMHO

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by valtraman View Post
    exactly,normally when we bring them in to take tups off about xmas time we have a good pysical feel of the sheep for condition and then decide when the feeding will start.there is a man local to me who doesnt feed anything until 3 week before lambing,he running same type of sheep,ground stocking rate etc and i know for a fact his losses at lambing are frightening.anyway back to the original question are sheep paying?
    The original question is very much linked to the way the thread has headed I would suggest. Sheep will only pay if you can keep a tight rein on costs. Feeding concs for a housed winter period may well pay, if they are wintered on cheap straw. There are many ways to skin a cat, and every farm will suit a different system. If you are tied to high input costs for whatever reason, then you need high outputs to cover them. If your can reduce your costs significantly, you will need lower output to make the same profit.

    Similarly, if lowering numbers results in a big reduction in wintering costs and a shorter housing period, it may well make the sheep enterprise more profitable as a whole.

    Personally, I find that sheep pay OK, and certainly better than any fag packet budgets I can work out for beef cattle. But then I don't buy a lot of concs and don't pay a lot of labour (& I don't have any BFL blood on the place). I can also see a lot of scope for significant performance improvement as pasture quality & management improves.

  29. #29
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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    If you have enough of them and the right system for your land/location/life then yes. If not, then not so yes.

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    Re: Are sheep worth it?

    there is another thing that can make a difference, I know it might not be popular but maybe you could use a smaller hardier breed.
    smaller lambs and less triplets I know, but a smaller ewe eats a hell of a lot less and can be outside a bit more meaning less hassle and less work.
    we have managed to get a larger lamb over the last few years, but you can go to far, make them to soft and more work.
    I think its getting a balance of a lamb that will fatten off grass reasonably quickly, with not to much farting about.
    there is money in sheep at the moment.

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