Sheep are among the few big farm animals that can be raised as pets. Like raising pet goats, raising sheep can be learned through due diligence and dedication to farm animals. Sheep, however, can live up to 20 years and getting people to adopt your sheep if you get bored with it is next to impossible. So be sure you’re in it for the long haul before you contemplate on having sheep as pets.
Does Sheep Make Good Pets
Unlike goats, sheep are generally aloof grazing animals. However, sheep are better at keeping your turf checked than goats. And as long as they have food and water, sheep do not demand much attention unlike goats also. But, some sheep breed need sheering during summer to keep them from heat stroke. So take this into consideration if there are no professional sheep sheerer near you. In general, sheep are suitable for people who have big lawn with less time to tend to the farm animals.
Housing a Pet Sheep
A couple of ewe (female sheep) or wethers (castrated male sheep) can be housed in a small farm house or barn out in the yard. Sheep are well insulated, so they should not need extra heating during winter as long as they’re protected from wind, snow, and rain. What sheep need most is a wide fenced lawn to maintain during spring and summer. A couple of sheep should have at least an acre of well-watered lawn to satisfy their appetite for fresh grass. If grass is scarce during some season, you need to provide constant supply of hay in your pet sheep house.
Feeding a Pet Sheep
During spring and summer when the grasses are plenty on the lawn, sheep should be okay without much hay ration. To add variety in their diet, however, you can give sheep grains like corn, sorghum, or bird seed mix, but these should not exceed more than 10% of their diet. When fresh grasses are hard to come by, you can supplement your sheep’s diet with hay and goat feed you can get from farm supply store. It’s also best to keep mineral block you can buy from farm supply stores and clean water always available to your sheep.
Pet Sheep Veterinary Need
If you keep your sheep well-fed and well-exercised, they should not present much health problems. Between goats and sheep, the sheep win as the sturdier pets to keep for a busy person. A pet sheep’s veterinary need is only about deworming and vaccination against clostridial disease. A farm veterinarian should know what vaccine brands are available in your area, so consult one if you have pet sheep.
Guide to Buying a Pet Sheep
When buying pet sheep, always consider the breed. Wool sheep may look cute and fluffy, but they need to be sheered every summer to keep them from overheating. So if there are no professional sheep sheerer in your area, get a hair sheep instead. Another thing to remember when buying sheep is its gender. Ewes and wethers are preferred over male sheep because the latter gives off odor during mating season, and they can be aggressive. You can’t keep two rams together in one grazing area let alone a sheep house without asking for trouble.
Legal Obligation to Raise a Pet Sheep
Because sheep are farm animals, their care is regulated by your local Department of Agriculture. You can’t keep a sheep as pet in certain zones, and if your district permits you to have one, you need a license to keep it legal. So call your local veterinarian or Department of Agriculture first before you bring home a pair of sheep from a farm you visited on the weekend.
To recap, sheep are better suited if you have less time but more lawn area to house your sheep. And although the farm animals don’t demand so much attention, they need TLC to live happy and healthy.