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Need a quality source for red meat

Discussion in 'Everything Else Livestock' started by Chic Rustler, May 14, 2017.

  1. May 14, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    Hair sheep....over and over and over....hair sheep. The best qualities of sheep and goat wrapped up into one wonderful, easy to keep and frugal on feed sheep. Katahdin is the breed I've noticed that gets and stays fat on hay and graze, no extra grain purchases necessary. And it doesn't even have to be especially good hay...they seem to eschew rich hay for nasty, weedy junk hay if allowed a choice.

    They can be bred 3 times in two years, hair sheep don't have a certain heat season like woolly breeds. You can purchase a ram lamb for breeding when needed and then turn right around and sell him at market for meat and not lose a dime on the whole process, thus negating keeping a ram around all the time. Just need to hook up with a good breeder of these sheep in your area and you may be able to even rent a ram.

    They carry their barns on their backs but appreciate a place to put their backs to the wind during winter months. They shed their wool in the spring, so no shearing. You can even milk them if you have a notion...supposed to make the best cheese in the world.

    They don't challenge fences like goats, as they have incredible flocking skills...which is why you don't see goats at herding trials, but more and more you are seeing primarily Katahdin sheep at those trials. They stay in fences better than a lone cow will....cows are herd animals too and will seek out companions if you have neighbors with cows.

    They are prone to twinning and even triplets, are parasite resistant, hardy in all weathers and you can sell your extra lambs you don't eat to defray hay costs for winter. Around here, hair sheep and Boer goats sell higher by the pound than cattle, as more of these animals are wanted for religious feasts here in the US cities there is a higher demand for their meat.

    For the money, they are the easiest and cheapest livestock I've ever kept, especially for small acreage. They are easy on pasture as their weight doesn't pug the grass crowns, they will not eat around weeds like cows...they tend to nibble it down anyway, but it goes right out the side of their mouth like they are sorting as they eat. This makes for lovely pastures in their wake, whereas cattle form repugnance zones around their manure piles and also around weeds...which means their pasture needs mowed a couple of times a year to preserve the good grasses.

    For sustainability, having hair sheep beats buying a feeder calf hands down and twice on Sunday. ;) But...like Barred Buff, I'm biased towards the Katahdin sheep. :D

    I've raised bottle calves and the Kats and found the sheep to be the best bang for the buck, not to mention easier to transport or even butcher on your own than the calf.

    http://www.sheep101.info/hair.html
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  2. May 14, 2017
    tortoise

    tortoise Wild Hare

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    Hey now, sheep are easy to fence. 2 strands of electric fence keep ours in (with the exception of the fence line separating ewes and rams).
     
    Beekissed likes this.
  3. May 14, 2017
    Chic Rustler

    Chic Rustler Almost Self-Reliant

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    Can the ewes and rams be together and just breed when they want to or do they have to be separated?

    How much grss land do they need per head?
     
  4. May 15, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    It's not recommended, as the rams can breed the young ewes too early/too young or breed the older ewes back too soon for good health.

    As for the grass, that depends. I'd check with local sheepherders with similar pasture and see what they recommend. Not all grass/pasture is the same, so giving the usual formula doesn't always work out and folks overgraze their pasture in that manner....then it can be a long road back.

    As always, I recommend going low and slow and then increasing numbers as you see what your pasture can handle over various seasons and weather conditions.
     
  5. Jun 20, 2017
    baymule

    baymule Super Self-Sufficient

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    We have Dorper/Katahdin cross sheep with a Dorper ram. We have 5 ewes and are keeping 3 ewe lambs from this year's lambing. We sell lamb for $8 a pound hanging weight and have 3 wethers sold when they get to slaughter size. Our pastures are not good, we are working hard to improve them. We cut green briars out of a one acre "pasture" last summer. The sheep loved them!

    IMG_0942.JPG


    For shelter you could build a hoop shelter from cow panels.

    IMG2403.jpg

    Our lambs like the Hawg Hut I built.

    IMG_0962.JPG

    I like cows and have had cows. I chose sheep because they are small, can thrive on small acreage, gestation is 5 months and are ready to eat in 8-12 months.
     
    Chic Rustler, sumi and Beekissed like this.

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