Family Care for Sheep & Goats

Most Americans interested in farming begin talking about canning, milking cows and ploughing with horses.  It’s just not realistic.  Family farming begins with grass and sheep and goats.  These are small animals that everyone in the family can handle.  You don’t need to be an Australian commercial shepherd with thousands of sheep filling tens of thousands of acres.  It’s simple.

First, understand the difference between a pasture and a fold.  Most Americans fence in large fields which they intend to serve as pastures for their animals.  This is necessary for cows and horses…but not sheep and goats.  Sheep and goats are kept in a fold (small sturdy shelter/pen) where their grain and water is served and where they are locked up over night.  That’s where some money needs to be spent if anywhere.  The animals need a safe, clean, dry place to stay.

In the morning (near sunrise), the sheep/goats should be driven out from their fold into a grassy (sheep) /leafy (goats) area where they can eat while they are watched by shepherds–who can be children as young as 7.   They should get out when the grass is wet and then be driven to water when they start to slow down.  After watering, they should be driven back out to pasture to eat some more.  As the temperature rises and their hunger is satisfied, they should be driven back to the fold and locked up for the day.  The same routine should be practiced in the evening.

That’s it.  Keep it simple and realize that the poorest people in the world have sheep.  It’s not complicated or expensive.

WM

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