Sheep Shelter Can Be Simple For Shepherds

A sheep shelter can be the key to a smooth and comfortable lambing time.

  • Sheep Outdoors
    A flock gathers around a hay feeder for an afternoon snack.
    Photo By iStockphoto/Michel Mory
  • Colored Shelter
    This small sheep and lambing shed holds 30 to 36 ewes.
    Illustration By Elayne Sears and Nate Skow
  • Sheep In Barn
    While not necessary, barns are great as a storage site for feed and equipment, and as a place for lambing during bad weather.
    Photo By iStockphoto/Eddie Green
  • Sheep Flock
    Sheep, particularly after shearing, are susceptible to sunburn. A covering of some sort will help them during hot weather or on sunny winter days.
    Photo By iStockphoto/Steve Baxter

  • Sheep Outdoors
  • Colored Shelter
  • Sheep In Barn
  • Sheep Flock

There are things that you have to have to call yourself a shepherd: you, your sheep, some land and some fences. Everything else — buildings, handling systems, farming equipment, and all the other odds and ends you think you might need to raise sheep — can be done without.

That’s right, you don’t have to have a sheep shelter, you can get by without any handling structures, and you don’t need a whole bunch of fancy equipment. Don’t get me wrong, some facilities can make life easier for you and the sheep, and others become absolute necessities if you choose an intensive management approach like winter lambing. But if your heart’s set on sheep, you can have them without having to spend a small fortune on fancy facilities.

So deciding what’s really necessary and important in your operation is a matter of choice. The choices are based on your goals. When deciding what you need, keep in mind the following questions:

What’s your style of farming? (Are you trying to make a living as a commercial shepherd, or do you want to keep a dozen sheep for fun and mowing services?)

How’s your financial health? (Do you have an outside job or a big trust fund, or are you relying on your sheep to make a profit?)

How much time can you spend caring for your sheep? (Is your outside job 10 hours per week or 50? Do you have other obligations that will keep you away from the flock at certain times?)

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