Sustainable Livestock for SHTF: SHEEP

By P Tabakaru

Do your prep plans include the addition of a small flock of sheep for fresh, meat, milk and or wool, for creating fabrics? The addition of just a few could mean the difference between life and death. They are great multipurpose animal that requires just a little care.

Icelandic sheep on green pasture protected by wired fence
Icelandic sheep on green pasture protected by wired fence

You have to ask yourself what would you like the most, meat, milk, wool? There are certain breeds that are specific, and there are dual purpose breeds, but in a SHTF situation any breed will do.

If you aren’t interested in wool (merino, Romney, Columbia, Lincoln breeds) then try and get a breed that doesn’t require sheering (Dorper, Katahdin are hair sheep) , there are many breeds that are for meat production) (Montadale, PolyPay,Suffolk, and Hampshire’s need sheering but not as often). As with meat production if you want the dairy (Dorset, Tunis, Polypay, Lucaune) and many more.

Some are Dual purpose such as the Polypay and Dorsets, Suffolk’s these are all around sturdy and versatile sheep.

You could even use them to pull wagons and carry packs.

If you live in a city then for obvious reasons you won’t want sheep, but if you live in the country or in the suburbs near a golf course then possibly sheep may be an option.

If you are going to Lamb the sheep then you will need a draft free shelter for the lambs first 72 hours of life. You may have to assist the ewe in giving birth at some point, but not all the time.

Keep in mind, much like cows sheep will not give milk until they have lamb’d. This is called freshened, once that is done then milking is the same as with a goat or cow by hand.  Just make sure to save some for the lamb.

The rough rule of thumb is 1 acre of graze land for 4 ewes and their lambs.  Also keep in mind that in order to maintain your flock you will need a Ram or two to prevent interbreeding.

If you live in southern (warmer climates) then really all you need is a good fresh water supply, and land to graze the sheep, some shelter from sun (this could be a lean-to, an old van, or even a junk car) you will need some minerals /salt.

You should supplement their diet with some grain depending on the availability of grazing land…95% grass fed is great with feeding grain and hay in the winter months. Not a huge issue in warmer climates.

So if you are considering raising a small herd of sheep, for sustainability in a SHTF situation, prepare ahead of time…do the research. Learn everything you can, this is just a brief summary, and there is a whole lot more I didn’t even mention on raising sheep.

I grew up on 350+ acre farm in upstate NY, my family raised sheep (300+head at some point) this is second nature to me …P Tabakaru


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