If you’ve ever thought about keeping sheep, but didn’t know where to start, Sue Weavers has written The Backyard Sheep for you. This introductory guide takes the reader through a survey of sheep breeds, their care, and how to deal with the most common problems that might come up.
The Backyard Sheep is divided into four main parts:
Learning about sheep. This part looks at the origins and history of sheep, the different breeds, and the basics of sheep behavior. The author talks about reasons for owning sheep, such as milk or meat production, wool, or just to keep the lawn mowed.
Keeping a few sheep. This part is further divided into chapters on fences, pen, housing, and equipment, and on feeding and veterinary care. Veterinary care can be done by the sheep owner or by a professional and knowing when to call in help is important.
Making more sheep. Anyone who wants to keep sheep for dairy will have to breed their sheep. Many people will simply want to increase their flock. More sheep means more wool, after all. The third part discusses owning vs renting a ram and the care of pregnant sheep and lambs.
Enjoying your sheep. The last part goes into a bit more detail on wool and dairy production. Helping your sheep grow better fleece, the basics of shearing the sheep, and tips on washing and care of the fleece are covered. Likewise, milking sheep, handling the milk, and a bit on selling milk is covered.
Probably the best advice to the potential sheep owner is found at the beginning of chapter 4: “Before you buy sheep, make sure you want them.” The author provides a checklist of things to consider, such as how your life will be affected by keeping small livestock and just how much you really know about sheep and their needs. Other considerations might include zoning restrictions, neighbors’ opinions, and the availability of a local veterinarian with experience with sheep. All important things to think about before making an investment.
The Backyard Sheep: An Introductory Guide to Keeping Productive Pet Sheep is available on Amazon for about $12.