How Many Sheep per Acre Should You Have on Your Property?

Written by Farm Animals

Raising sheep is a complicated job to say the least. If you’re planning on raising these animals yourself, there are certain things you’ll need to know before you begin. One of these includes knowing how many sheep per acre you should have. Although this may seem like a very simple answer, it’s really not. This is because of all the factors that go into this. Some of these factors include the quality of the pasture, the climate of that specific geographical location, and the quality of the soil laid below. So, how many sheep can you have per acre?

Sheep per acre, how many should you have?

 When you start raising sheep, you should start out slow. It’s recommended that you begin with 2 sheep per acre and never exceed 4 sheep per acre.  When you do decide to add more, you’ll more than likely have to make the proper accommodations. For example, grass, flowers, and other vegetation tend to grow best in the spring. If you calculate how many sheep you’re going to raise based on the amount of vegetation available during this time of the year, your sheep will more than likely go hungry during the colder months when vegetation is limited. In fact, one full grown sheep can eat up to 4.5 pounds of grass in just one day. Adding more sheep to your collection means you’ll definitely need to give them more acres of land to feed on.

The quality of the soil is also a very important factor as well. An acre that has soil that’s rich in nutrients will provide more vegetation allowing the farmer to raise more sheep on it. However, if the soil grows limited vegetation, it won’t feed as many sheep and as a result, you’ll need more acres to raise those sheep on. It’s also important to note that lambs will need to eat more in the spring time, so they can gain weight before going to the slaughter house and eventually being sold on the market.

Climate is yet another aspect you need to add to your calculations. Areas of the globe that experience long winters, extreme temperatures, and heavy snow fall may result in a lack of vegetation in comparison to geographical locations with shorter winters and longer growing periods. This will also ultimately determine how many sheep you can have per acre. For example, a farmer in New York probably won’t be able to raise as many sheep per acre in Missouri. Missouri has shorter winters and longer growing periods.

Areas with a history of natural disasters can also pose a threat to the amount of vegetation your land can grow. Disasters like droughts, floods, fires, infestations, and other things can decrease the amount nutrients in the soil resulting in a lack of growth. This is something you should consider before deciding how many sheep you’re going to raise on each acre.

Solutions to raising sheep on land with limited vegetation

If the land you’re wanting to raise sheep on has a limited amount of vegetation, you can use these tips to get around the problem. First, you can feed your sheep yourself with either hay or grain. Some farmers even put up little feeding stations for their sheep too. Although this does cost quite a bit more, you can definitely increase your carrying capacity which will also result in bigger profits at the end of the season.

Another tip to raising sheep on land with limited vegetation is to fertilize the soil, so you’ll get substantial growth next season. To have good growth, your soil has to have a high pH level. If you see a lot of white clovers and bluegrass on your land, that means the soil has a high pH level. On the other hand, if your soil’s pH level is low, fertilizer may just be the answer. Fertilizer will not only help the vegetation flourish and ultimately allow you to increase the amount of sheep you can raise on each acre. It is important to have a professional spread your fertilizer if you don’t know what you’re doing. Your pH levels need to be just right for optimal growth.

If you’re trying to decide whether to feed your sheep yourself or invest in fertilizer, you might just want to take advantage of both options. They both have their benefits. Vegetation like grass and flowers are better for the sheep than hay and grain. However, hay and grain are really convenient for feeding your sheep during the winter and during periods of shorter growth. Now you know how many sheep you can have per acre.

Shelley Howard

Shelley Howard

Shelley Howard has been writing professionally since 2010. She writes about homesteading, health and travel for various online publications.
Shelley Howard

Last modified: June 26, 2018

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