Have you ever watched a gorgeous little fluffy cloud of a sheep prancing around the fields in the spring and thought that they would make a great pet? Here are a few things to consider:
Picking your sheep
Sheep are sociable animals, you need to have at least two. Make sure to get female sheep or neutered males. Pick a breed that does not naturally have horns as, even if the animals are not aggressive, the horns could cause damage. There is nothing cute about a sheep going on a rampage.
You will need to have at least half an acre of space available. It may be best to have at least two sections fenced off so that your sheep can be put in rotation.
Your sheep will need shelter from cold, wet and heat. This can be as simple as putting a large doggy door to your garage, but make sure any indoor space is safe for them. Some owners do choose to have their sheep indoors with them but be advised that sheep are not in general toilet trainable. Also, make sure there is nothing valuable that they can cause damage to by gaining access to them.
You will need to make sure that sheep are well fenced in. Make sure there is no room for them to squeeze through, and the fence is high – sheep can be quite impressive escape artists. Barbed wire and tethering are not good ideas as both can pose a risk of injury.
Some breeds will need to be sheared and all breeds will need their feet clipped regularly. They will need wormed and vaccinations. Make sure you have a vet local who knows how to work with sheep.
Wild and farm sheep have a lot of space to graze, this may not be your scenario. If you notice your grass getting sparse, make sure you have hay or haylage to feed them. You can get additional sheep feed if necessary. Keep an eye on your sheep to make sure they are getting the correct nutrients whatever you are feeding them.
You must register any land you use for raising sheep with the Rural Payments Agency within a month of getting your pets. See here for more information.
If you decide sheep are the pets for you, happy shepherding!