Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Prerequisites to sheep farming
There are a few things that one needs to know and posses before he can embark on sheep farming,
1.sheep farming requires patience and dedication
as farming or any animal husbandry activity requires continuous monitoring and supervision a person about to engage in sheep farming must ask himself do i have the time and patience that is required to supervise my farm activities including human resources associated with it?
as i have mostly seen people start off in an enthusiastic manner with great zeal and fervour but after a few road blocks all the enthusiasm is lost , this happens due to
a )improper planning/incomplete work plan/no real plan & wrong/faulty execution of work plan/in co-ordination of Field staff.
b) high expectations in relation to financial returns from the farming activity.
c)ignorance of basic knowledge and working scenario.
2.requirements of suitable lands/grazing pastures /feeding resources .
its a utmost requirement that a sheep farmer plans his fodder resources well in advance not just in the season of plenty that is rainy season when there is lush green fodder but also during the summer where the feeding /fodder is scarce.
since the major chunk of investment on recurring expenditure ( that's about 65%-70%)of the activity is on feeding
it pays very richly to plan a few months or a year ahead in advance before the actual farming activity is taken up
this can be accomplished in consultation with a veterinarian/fodder development officer as to what kind of crops (seasonal) and perennial can be grown to feed the growing demands of the sheep
selection of the breed and the type of activity to be pursuedin the best int rests of the farm and also as a measure of precaution for the proper repayment of the EMI's (in case of loans/financial assistance's availed) and further to have a healthy financial output its best to choose /restrict the activity of the farm or a combination of these
a)a Breeding farm
b)a Growing lamb farm
c) its a Dairy farm( sheep are also raised for milk but in India its seldom practised but it has a scope if proper marketing channels are employed.
d) for wool production. ( not a huge market in India as most breeds have poor quality wool and sometimes the cost of shearing far exceeds the product!)
once the type of activity is decided
the breed/s can be selected to start the farm.
as suggested earlier the entire process is cumber some and time consuming hence patience is tested in the initial phases of the set up
once the healthy live animals are brought (usually from the traditional procurement channels like shandies and fairs, though a few established breeders of sheep are available usually the pedigree is questionable as most of the farms do not have/support proper record keeping
so if the concern is on breeding sheep its best advised to buy sheep from registered sheep breeders /those who have meticulously recorded the traits for at least 4 -5 generations and inbred the animals(if they are of native breeds)
or at least establish the fact as to how many breeds have been involved in breeding the animals supplied .
since the male sheep (Ram/stud is said to be half of the breed )that is it will influence the progeny /off springs to an extent of 50% and will pass down the genes and will constitute the characteristics of half of the future progeny and an important criteria to make or break the financial success of the farm ,selection of Ram plays a vital role and most of the breeders charge a premium price on the established breed with definitive body characteristics and traits and usually a endorsed breed cum pedigree certificate is issued along with.and usually will cost more than thrice that of the ewe/ram of the same weight. the ram selection process is a very important phase and its worth investing the time and also consulting a good breeder /or a expert veterinarian is a must, and comparing the Rams of the breed able age and in between the breeds.
since the technical aspects of selection of Ram is based on the breeding soundness,inherent traits , heritability of characteristics , adaptability in the Indian sub continent, adjusting to the agro- climatic conditions and also to the natural vegetation,
resistance to diseases and also to internal and external parasites,etc.
Posted by Dr. mahmood abbas at 10:27 AM