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Raising sheep intensively

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Raising sheep intensively

  1. 1. INTENSIVE SHEEP PRODUCTION CONFINEMENT  DRY LOT  ZERO GRAZING SUSAN SCHOENIAN Sheep & Goat Specialist University of Maryland Extension sschoen@umd.edu - sheep and goat.com
  2. 2. • There are many different ways to raise, manage, feed, and market sheep. • NO ONE WAY IS BEST! • Each production system, management practice, and marketing method has various pros and cons. • Every producer needs to develop a system that matches his/her goals, resources, and markets that provides the greatest return on investment.
  3. 3. CHARACTERISTICS OF INTENSIVE SHEEP PRODUCTION • Use of buildings and/or dry lots to contain sheep and lambs. • Zero or minimal free grazing • Automated feeding • High level of reproduction, usually prolific breeds and accelerated lambing. • Year-round marketing of lambs.
  4. 4. WHY RAISE SHEEP INTENSIVELY? • Under or unused buildings • Economical feed source • Equipment for making and storing feed • Experience raising a high producing animal • Labor available • Strong market
  5. 5. INTENSIVE SHEEP PRODUCTION ADVANTAGES (PROS) • Greater control over production • No worm problems (coccidia still a risk) • No predators or cost of predator control (fences or guardians) • Minimal weather risk • Better nutrition: you control what animals eat • Greater potential returns Three P’s: predators, parasites, and profitability
  6. 6. INTENSIVE SHEEP PRODUCTION DISADVANTAGES (CONS) • Higher overhead • Greater investment • Usually higher feed costs • Animal welfare questions • Nutrient management issues • Increased labor requirements • Greater financial risk than traditional production systems
  7. 7. CONSIDERATIONS FOR INTENSIVE SHEEP PRODUCTION • Housing • Feeding • Management • Breeding / genetics • Nutrient management • Animal welfare • Labor • Technology • Marketing
  8. 8. HOUSING: BIGGEST INVESTMENT • Will you adapt existing facilities or build new one(s)? • Will you use one building or multiple buildings? • How will buildings be ventilated? • How will you manage the production flow? • How will you clean out? • Will you incorporate dry lots or pasture into the production system.
  9. 9. PLANNING DATA Ram Dry ewe Ewes + lambs Lambs Creep Building floor space 20-30 ft2 12-16 ft2 15-20 ft2 8-10 ft2 1.5-2 ft2 Lot space (dirt) 25-40 ft2 25-40 ft2 30-50 ft2 20-30 ft2 Feeder Limit fed 12 in. 15-20 in 16-20 9-12 ft2 Feeder Self fed 6 in 4-6 in 6-8 in 1-2 in 2 in. Water bowl 10 head 40-50 head 40-50 head 50-75 head Sheep Housing & Equipment Handbook, Midwest Plan Service
  10. 10. FEED: BIGGEST COST Ewes • Traditional hay/grain diet • Baleage + grain • Silage or haylage + grain • By-products, co-products Soy hulls + DDGS • TMR (total mixed ration) Lambs • Whole grain + supplement • Custom blend • Pelleted diet How will you feed? Limit (hand) or self feeding? Can you automate feeding? Don’t forget feed storage.
  11. 11. FEED BUDGET (154-LB. EWE, TWINS) Stage Hay Silage Haylage Grain Maintenance 3.00 0 0 0 Maintenance 0 6.00 0 0 Maintenance 0 0 6.00 0 Late gestation 3.50 0 0 1.25 Late gestation 0 7.00 0 1.50 Late gestation 0 0 7.00 1.25 Lactation 5.00 0 0 2.00 Lactation 0 10.00 0 2.25 Lactation 0 0 8.00 2.50
  12. 12. FEED BUDGET LAMBS Weight Creep 4:1 FE 5:1 6:1 10-40 40 lbs. 40-70 120 150 40-100 240 300 360 40-120 320 400 480 Feed cost 4:1 FE 5:1 6:1 $100/ton $0.40 $0.50 $0.60 $120/ton $0.48 $0.60 $0.72 $140/ton $0.56 $0.70 $0.84 $160/ton $0.64 $0.80 $0.96
  13. 13. ACCELERATED LAMBING SYSTEMS • Twice a year generally not practical • Every 8 months 3 lamb crops in 2 years • Overlapping 8 month system lamb every 2-4 months with different groups • Cornell STAR® 5 lamb crops in 3 years • Opportunistic keep rams in all the time Not recommended
  14. 14. OUT OF SEASON BREEDING • Natural Choose right genetics • Ram effect • Hormonal manipulation CIDRs • Light control • Selection
  15. 15. BREEDING STOCK FOR INTENSIVE PRODUCTION Ewes (and rams that sire replacement females) • Healthy Free from foot rot, CL, OPP, etc. • Structurally sound • Reproductively sound • Moderate size and muscling • Reproductive efficiency Early puberty, prolific, good mothering, good milking ability, breed out-of-season Terminal sires • Healthy • Structurally sound • Reproductively sound • Frame size appropriate for market • Good early growth • Good muscling (carcass) • Good lamb survival
  16. 16. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT • More bedding • More manure 4 lbs/100 lbs. live daily • Removal • Storage • Land for spreading • Regulations AFO/CAFO for large farms (>300 animal units)
  17. 17. ANIMAL WELFARE • Ample space: exceed MPS space requirements • Deep bedding • Consider providing environmental enrichment (e.g. raised areas for lambs) • Incorporate outside lots into housing • Exercise, especially for rams • Don’t dock or castrate lambs, unless necessary • Low stress handing • Welfare certification or consumer education: animals are always protected from parasites, predators, and inclement weather.
  18. 18. MINIMIZING LABOR • Design system for efficient flow of animals • Have easy way to move groups of animals • Have easy way to handle animals • Make clean-out easy • Automated feeding • Precision farming: RFID technology
  19. 19. APPROPRIATE USE OF TECHNOLOGY • Forage testing • Ration balancing • RFID to manage flock • Computerized record keeping e.g. Shearwell (UK). • Pregnancy testing • Fetal counting • Performance tested rams (EBVs)
  20. 20. MARKETING • Who/what is your target market? • What size (weight) and condition lamb do you plan to market? • Can you get a contract to supply lambs to an abattoir or other market? • Can you sell carcasses instead of live animals.? • What are the slaughter options in your area? • How far are you from a good sale barn? • Is there opportunity to cooperatively market lambs with other producers. • Do you have a market for your cull ewes and rams?
  21. 21. LESS INTENSIVE SHEEP PRODUCTION • Use confinement practices for small scale, high value production • Use confinement to manage an annual lambing flock. • Use confinement to manage periparturient ewes (late gestation through lactation). – Sell lambs at weaning – Feed lambs in confinement • Buy lambs (or goats) to feed
  22. 22. THANK YOU SUSAN SCHOENIAN Sheep & Goat Specialist University of Maryland Extension sschoen@umd.edu www.sheepandgoat.com www.sheep101.info www.wormx.info

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