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Author Topic: Advice needed for small holding  (Read 2768 times)


  • Joined Apr 2013
Advice needed for small holding
« on: April 17, 2013, 11:08:31 pm »
In after some advice plz! I have 2 acres of garden and looking to get a few sheep to keep down the garden and to have lamb to provide meat to local pub. Can you give me any advice as to what to get. I'm all new to this, currently keep horses. (Not on same land) what breed do I go for, how many? Min & old should I take them on at?


  • Joined May 2011
  • Lincoln
Re: Advice needed for small holding
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 07:14:39 am »
As a newbie myself, I can only give you advice based on what happened to me:

Check each animal you buy.  Make sure it has enough teeth on the bottom of it's jaw.  Don't just let the seller tell you it's OK and find you have a ewe with a dodgy leg and no teeth (as I did yesterday).

Every breed seems to have it's pro's and con's.  We work every day, so wanted sheep that look after themselves.  We went for Welsh Mountain breeds.  Pro's: Great feet, easy outdoor lambing, hardy, lambs get straight up.  Con's:  Not really "tame", can jump over sheep hurdles, can jump over a 4' stream, eats trees, eats hedge, eats anything! :roflanim:

Keep an eye on them when you first get them.  Ours weren't treated with a preventative for Fly-strike, so one went down with it within days of arriving.  We then, of course, treated all our sheep.

Sheep will die.  Find out who you need to contact before it happen's.  Don't end up fretting over an entire weekend because no-one answers the phone!

That's what I've learnt since November  ;)


  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: Advice needed for small holding
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 08:27:10 am »
It all depends on how good your grass is and the type of sheep - grass will grow well in summer but in winter you may find you have none, especially if the weather is poor and the land gets poached  They will then need supplementary feed till the grass starts growing.  I usually have too much grass in summer but after a year like last year's and the winter just gone, my grass has only just started growing again and I've never got through so much haylage and feed (came to quite a bit for six horses and 32 sheep!).  You also need to think about whether you want to keep some grass ungrazed for parts of the year etc.

Maybe a couple of sheep per acre is a good start, it's always better to understock than overstock.
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: Advice needed for small holding
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2013, 08:55:07 am »
If you only want them to cut the grass and to supply the pub then choose a few comercial animals such as suffolk x Texel. you can buy in store lambs that were born earlier in the year which will eat your grass over summer and gain enough weight to provide a good carcass come Autumn. Keeping sheep in this way avoids the cost and hassle of winter feed and care.
 Feeding concentraits will also increse gain though the meat will be leaner if they only graze pasture. Depending on your land and how many you purchase you may find that you have to suppliment their feeding to get the growth that you were hoping for.
You may also want to check if the pub is interested in what they have been fed as some customers specify lamb raised on pasture.
Sheep farmers love talking about sheep. So go along to the local livestock market (without your check book) on a day then they are selling something other than sheep ( machinary sales is a good day) and get chatting to the local farmers in the canteen. Ask them what they would buy in your position and who is worth buying from as well as what to look for and what you might expect to pay. Its amazing how helpful farmers can be if you buy them a strong cup of tea and a bun.
If you want to do this on the day of the sheep sale wait until its over as they will be too interested in buying and selling during the sale to share their secrets. And they may talk you into buying a broken mouthed lamey.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Advice needed for small holding
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 09:14:12 am »
Before you buy anything you'll need a CPH (County/Parish/Holding Number) from DEFRA.  You must keep meticulous records of your animals and the veterinary medicines you give them and make sure you observe the medicine withdrawal periods before taking them to slaughter.  I recommend Tim Tyne's book on sheep keeping as must-read before you let any ovine onto your ground.


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Advice needed for small holding
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2013, 10:13:12 am »
The other thing is that if you are selling any of the meat (or even giving it away to someone outside the household then you can't butcher it yourself as it would have to be done in a licensed cutting plant) I think, tho everyone keep me honest on that.


  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: Advice needed for small holding
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2013, 07:15:57 pm »
Why not try some Ryelands.They are nice and quiet,no problems with them jumping out and they soon come to a bucket.Maybe 2 or 3 with lambs at foot would be a good start.If youlook on the Ryeland website you will see lots of breeders who will sell you quality stock.


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