Can I have a sheep in my backyard? You may be asking yourself this question after reading the title. It may seem strange to have livestock in your backyard, but many people are doing it! Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that come from having sheep in your yard.
Yes, Large backyards and small paddocks can be used to raise sheep in your backyard. You might have success with these animals if you care for them properly, which includes providing clean water and a place where they are safe from predators.
Ok, so it is possible but let’s have a look at some things that are going to make it easier for you and make sure that all goes smoothly.
Have a Shelter For The Sheep
Sheep are hardy animals and are often outside in server weather conditions. However, you will need to have a shelter for them when it is raining or snowing outside.
This can be as simple and inexpensive as building an A-frame out in your pasture with some tarps, hay bales, or straw.
At the bottom level than on top, you will need boards that are strong enough so they don’t fall through. But also easy enough to lift so sheep can get in and out of the shelter.
While some sheep will be fine without a shelter I would highly recommend you give them a shelter. Most sheep will prefer to spend their time outside of a shelter.
Have Appropriate Sheep Fencing
You will need appropriate fencing to keep the sheep in your backyard. You can use electric fences, woven wire-type fencing, or other types of fences.
Fencing will keep your sheep from escaping and causing your neighbors problems. Also, if you have poor fencing your sheep can escape and get onto roads. Which can cause your sheep to become vulnerable and even get killed.
The fence will also keep predators out, so if you have coyotes or other animals that look for a meal in the suburbs.
This is something worth investing in before problems start happening. As those types of wild creatures lurking around looking at their next potential prey!
Feeding Your Backyard Sheep
Sheep are classed as grazing animals if they had a large enough space to roam they would continue grazing all day. Only stopping to chew the cud.
What will they eat? They need to have access to hay, water, and a supply of green food.
It is important that you give them the right amount as overfeeding can lead your sheep to become obese.
Which could be dangerous for their health when pregnant or if lambs are being born on pasture ground.
This means there would not only be more feed for them to eat but the sheep would be unable or unwilling, as they might not have enough energy reserves.
The best way of feeding your backyard flock is by using a big hay net. That can create an enclosure within which there will then need plenty of green foods available at all times. Such are grasses and vegetables these should also include both fresh and wilted.
Adding small amounts of grains to your sheep diet will make sure they get enough nutrients and fiber.
Sheep will continue eating even when full so you need to be careful with how much you feed them.
Cleaning Sheep Routine
If you are keeping your sheep in a backyard shed then you will need to take them outside to clean out the shed and give it a good scrub down once per week.
A sheep will poop at least once per 24 hours so your backyard flock should go on all grasses but there is no point in using straw as bedding for their enclosure. Because this just ends up being more work than anything else when you have enough time to clean it up.
If you are keeping sheep in a small space like the backyard, I would recommend one or two of them and they should be easy to clean up after.
Wet smelly bedding is a breeding ground for parasites and bacteria so it is important to remove the poop from their enclosure and replace it with fresh bedding.
One option for cleaning up after a sheep flock in your back yard would be using sawdust which can easily go into compost if you do not want them around any longer than necessary, or they are just too hard to work!
If you are lucky to have a large backyard and access to lots of grass, sheep are a great option to have on the property.
If you want animals that will graze your backyard and make it look nice, then this is perfect!
They also eat weeds which helps keep plants in check.
You should split your grass area up and move your sheep from one section to the other. This will allow the grass to grow back when you place the sheep in the other section.
Sheep will eat most plants that are in their way, but they can also be fed hay and grass clippings.
This should keep the flock happy without eating everything you might like to have on your property!
You will want to make sure that your sheep have access to water as well. you can place the water in buckets or large containers which will keep the sheep from becoming dehydrated and cool on hot days.
Keeping sheep in smaller areas can lead to more health problems. Some breeds are more resistant than others, but the cold-weather tolerant ones make better backyarders.
You will want to keep a close eye on your sheep for any signs of illness or injury and be sure that they have access to food water at all times.
While people may think sheep can just be left alone this is wrong sheep need care and attention just like any other animal.
Worming is one of the major things you need to keep up with.
Even if you rotate pastures for your sheep, they should be wormed every six months. At a minimum to prevent parasites from building up in the pasture and becoming more difficult or impossible to protect against.
When it is time to use that area again. Worming should also help them fight off infection which can result because of the crowded conditions.
While grooming may be more a thing for dogs sheep still need grooming.
The hair on a sheep’s back is used for protection from the sun and rain.
However, the wool can be too long if it isn’t cared for properly. Which will cause them to suffer in hot weather. As well get sick more often with parasites or giardia because of the extreme wet environment that they live within constantly.
You will also need to groom the sheep by trimming hooves, checking for teeth problems, and any other problems.
Sheep will need shearing when the wool gets too long.
Shearing is important for sheep. Because if they have to stay in wet weather with their fur it will help them from getting sick. It can also make sure that you won’t need to comb through all of those tangles every day which would be a headache, literally!
It’s worth noting however how often shearing is needed. It will take a lot of time and money to sheep shear. So it may not be worth the cost if you are only going to have them for one season or less before selling!
It’s not too difficult to learn how, but it can be a daunting task for those who have never done anything like this before.
If you are someone with little experience when shear and want something that won’t take much time out of your day then there is another option!
It is possible to hire somebody else, but it will cost more money and you might be able to find deals locally.
Why We Keep Sheep
Sheep are excellent if you have a large backyard and don’t want to cut your own grass. Sheep will eat the grass, fertilize it with their poop and then leave behind a lovely coat of wool for you to knit.
If they are well-taken care of sheep can provide endless enjoyment in terms of companionship as many people find them very friendly!
However, if your goal is just meat then this option isn’t right because lambs are usually slaughtered when they are just a year old.
Backyard Sheep FAQ’s
We take a look at some of the common questions that people have regards keeping sheep in their backyard.
Can you have a sheep as a house pet?
Raising sheep in a backyard can be accomplished, but it’s important to know that they need space. If you’re looking for an animal who needs less attention than other livestock and doesn’t consume as much food, then the answer is yes!
Can you keep a sheep in your garden?
You should be able to raise sheep in a large backyard as long as they meet their needs. They’re adaptable animals and can be cared for if the paddock or field is small enough. Raising them this way may require more time, effort, and management though
Can you keep a single sheep?
Your sheep can live a happy life as the only animal on your farm, but he will need to find companionship elsewhere. If you’re willing and able to give him another pet or two for company, then go ahead!
How much land do you need for a sheep?
You can reasonably expect to keep six to ten sheep on an acre of grass. 100+ sheep on 30 acres of pasture. If you want to keep more than one acre, purchase additional land as your flocks will need a lot of space for grazing!
Do sheep stink?
The sheep’s distinctive odor is actually quite pleasant to most, and their wool has natural lanolin that makes it soft. But when the shearing process leaves dirt or grass on the wool until washing off, then there may be some noticeable offensive smells.
How long can sheep be left alone?
With a knowledgeable shepherd, sheep can be left alone for up to 8 hours without any supervision. However, this is not the case with inexperienced shepherds or if your flock has inadequate food and water sources. For safety reasons please do check on them at least once in the morning and again sometime after dark.