Advantages of sheep farming / Benefits of sheep farming:-
1. Multi-faceted utility : meat, wool, skin, manure, and to some extent milk & transport … helps it to play an important role in the Indian agrarian economy
2. The production of wool, meat and manure provides three different sources of income per year
3. Since the two major products of sheep (wool and mutton) are entirely different in their production and utilization, the price of one may not necessarily have a bearing on the other. Wool may be stored and held for higher prices or sold at shearing time. A crop of lambs may be marketed from 5-6 months on wards (preferably before one year), bringing rather a quick return.
4. Mutton is one kind of meat towards which there is no prejudice by any community in India
5. In addition to wool, mutton and to some extent milk, sheep provide employment to about 3 million people in the form of self-employment, as hired labour for tending flocks during migration, and persons engaged in wool shearing and in wool and skin processing. Furthermore, sheep farming is a logical source of livelihood in arid zones where crop production is an uncertainty and thus it suitably fits into desert development programmes in vogue by protecting them from the vagaries of drought and famine.
6. Most suitable of the small ruminants to utilize the sparse vegetation in dry land areas through range land management and developed (reseeded) pasture
7. Unlike goats, sheep hardly damage any tree
8. Better adapted to arid and semi-arid tropics with marginal and sub-marginal lands, otherwise unfit for crops, due to their superior water & feed (esp. protein) economy
9. Since sheep eat more different type of plants than any other kind of livestock, they can turn waste into profit and at the same time improve the appearance of many farms (i.e. excellent weed destroyer).
10. Sheep dung is a valuable fertilizer, and since they are grazed on sub-marginal lands, their droppings are the only means of improving the growth of plants in such areas
Unique characteristics of sheep:-
1. Strong herd instincts of sheep make them excellent ranch animals as they keep together in tight and easily managed flocks and do not disperse widely all over the available land, which would make it difficult to protect them from predators and difficult to round up.
2. Excellent ability to survive over a prolonged period of drought and semi-starvation
3. Sheep have the ability to produce prime carcasses on roughage alone, thus they are well adapted to many areas unable to produce grain profitably.
4. The structure of their lips helps them to clean grains lost at harvest time, and thus convert waste feed into profitable products
5. Less prone to extreme weather conditions, ectoparasites as well as other diseases
6. Unique ever-growing fiber which allows ventilation and also protects the skin from the hot sun, rain and abrasions
7. Sheep can also constrict or relax blood vessels in the face, legs and ear for control of heat loss
8. Their visual sense is exceedingly well-developed ….. they can discern movement far better than humans, but cannot distinguish shapes as well as man
9. Sheep do not need expensive buildings to house them
10. Sheep require less labour than other kinds of livestock.