Sheep Shed Guide:
Introduction to Sheep Shed or Housing:- Sheep shed or housing plays major role in any successful commercial sheep farming. Based on number of sheep, one should plan for sheep housing. If you want to start with low numbers and wants to invest less initially, there is an option for going to construct a simple sheep house. For commercial sheep farming, one must know how to build a sheep shed. This shed is required for security to protect sheep from unwanted predators (such as wild dogs, wolfs and snakes), wild weather conditions and to provide shelter in night times. After planning on number of sheep to be reared, you can get an idea on shed size which can have both covered area and open area. Cost of shed construction depends on many factors like number of animals, space allocated for feed storage, and type of rearing like stall-fed (zero grazing) or open field grazing (where they require only night shelter). In the following article, let us discuss more about sheep housing.
Tips for Sheep Shed Selection and Construction:- The following tips are useful in selecting and managing the sheep shed.
- Select the land for shed construction which is not impacted by wild winds, predators and floods. The space should be dry and on height.
- For good cross-ventilation and good air flow, East-West orientation of sheep shed is preferred.
- Go for simple shed with low coat material especially when you are in trail method of farming.
- Always clean and keep the sheep shed dry.
- Make sure the shed is well ventilated and has good air flow.
- Always make sure to have separate sections for sheep based on their age and health conditions.
- Gable roofing is preferred in shed construction. However, in case of small sheep housing, lean type roofing is preferred.
- Sheep should have feeding area and partition for kids.
- If you are planning for intensive sheep farming, the pen and run system of housing is preferred.
- Clean the shed and feed area and provide clean and fresh water.
- Any sick animal from shed should be isolated, and in case of death, make sure to bury or burn the animal far away from shed.
- Make sure to have separate feeders for concentrate feeds, green fodders and water. Clean these feeders regularly to avoid any contamination.
- Construct the shed in an elevated area to prevent water stagnation
- Sheep manure should be removed from the shed on regular basis to avoid any diseases.
- If you are growing any green fodder, make the out let from the shed, so after cleaning the shed, water can flow freely to nearby fields.
- Make sure to construct a feed room as part of shed, so that the feed is protected and will be handy.
- In front of the shed, open area should be secured by fence. This area can be used on and off (especially when cleaning the house).
- There is no restriction on length of sheep shed. However, it is better to have width of the house should be between 24 feet to 30 feet.
- You can have one or more gates depending on the shed dimensions. The gate can be made with iron or wooden battens. When it comes to gate dimensions, 1 meter x 1 meter is preferred.
Types of Sheep Shed:- Types of sheds depend on the system of sheep rearing, let us talk about different type of sheep sheds those can be constructed for commercial sheep farming business.
- Sheep Shed Construction Over the Ground: Usually this type of sheep shed is made over the ground and this type is most common in Indian sheep farmers. The shed floor can be built with brick or soil or cement. However, it is better to spread some dry straw material on the floor. Make sure to maintain the floor always clean and dry.
- Sheep Shed Construction Over the Poles: These sheep sheds are built on poles, usually they height of the floor is going to be about 1.5 meters 2 meters from the ground level. The best part of this type of shed is it can keep sheep free from Damp /humid/moist/wet conditions. This type of shed is also useful in areas where occasional floods are possible. This type shed floor and pole are made from wood or bamboo. As this sheep said is built above the ground level, one can maintain (especially cleaning) very easily and expect less diseases. Apart from this, any predators like wild dogs or snakes can be prevented from entering into the shed.
- Sheep Shed with Concrete: Concrete is being used to build these kinds of sheep sheds. Compared to other two types, this has more advantage due to easiness of cleaning and management. This type of housing is little bit expensive when compared to others.
Space Requirement Based on Age and Condition:- The following are meant for Indian Conditions.
|Sheep age groups||Covered space(sq. meter)||Open space (sq.meter)|
|Initial 3 months||0.2-0.25||0.4-0.5|
|3 – 6 months||0.5-0.75||1-1.5|
|6 – 12 months||0.75-1||1.5-2|
|Male, Pregnant or lactating ewes/ does||1.5-2||3-4|
Bottom Line in Sheep Shed Management:- Before starting a commercial sheep farming, visit couple of sheep sheds in your local area to get an clear picture of the shed material and shed dimensions and intensive or stall-fed sheep farming. Even you can watch YouTube videos or read these kind of blogs for more information. Contact local animal husbandry or NABARD for loan or subsidy information available for sheep shed construction.