How to Start Commercial Sheep Farming Business – Guide

Do you want to start a small sheep farm business with small investment? If YES, find here a commercial sheep farming business plan guide for your livestock startup.

The raising sheep is an indeed profitable business. With a small capital investment, any individual can start raising sheeps even with other livestock. Generally, sheep farming comes under the animal husbandry segment.

Globally, this is a traditional livestock business. Sheeps provide meat, milk, and wools. Even, you can earn money from selling skin and manure also. Apart from the domestic market, the products have good international demand. So, the business has the potential of earning foreign currency also.

8 Reasons Why Sheep Farming is Profitable

  1. First of all, you can start the business with small investment and space. The business doesn’t demand huge capital in starting.
  2. The business requires less labor for daily maintenance and care. Thus, you can run the farm with less working capital investment.
  3. Sheep give birth to kids frequently. So, you can create a large size herd within a short period time.
  4. Sheep require less space for living. Even you can raise sheep with your other livestock animals.
  5. Additionally, you don’t need to build expensive housing for the sheeps. So, it allows you to maintain your cost at the early time.
  6. Sheep eat different kinds of plants. So you don’t need to provide high-quality feeds all the time.
  7. Basically, sheeps are the very hardy animals. They can adapt themselves to almost all types of environment. So, you can raise sheep in a wide range of temperate climates, including arid zones.
  8. Finally, the products you get from sheeps like meat, wool, and milk have high demand in the market. So, sheep farming is a commercially lucrative business for the entrepreneurs who want to start a livestock business.

Economic Importance of Sheep Farming – Market Potential

Basically, sheep is an important livestock species. They contribute greatly to the agrarian economy, especially in the arid/semi-arid and mountainous areas where crop and /or dairy farming are not economical.

Sheep farming plays an important role in the livelihood of a large percentage of small and marginal farmers and landless laborers. A number of rural-based industries use wool and sheepskins as raw material. Sheep manure is an important source of soil fertility too. Additionally, the production of wool, meat, and manure provides three different sources of income per year.

While lamb dominates, especially in developed economies, mutton that comes from adult sheep also generally enjoys a strong demand led by Muslim groups and other consumers with more limited purchasing power. Basically, China inevitably dominates the global market, accounting for 27% of the total. There are then a number of smaller markets with a market share of 3-4% of the global total. Sudan is the second largest followed by the UK. The EU as a whole account for an estimated 12% of global consumption. Furthermore, the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) caters around 19% of the total global sheep meat market.

How to Start Sheep Farming Business

Step 1: Business Plan

Regardless the size of your sheep farm, you must craft a business plan. And you sheep farming business plan must consist the financial analysis, marketing strategy and income revenue calculations. Here, we have provided a sample business plan for your ready reference. However, the costs may differ with the current market rates.

The project size is 200 ewes and 10 rams.

Basis & Presumptions

  1. Lambing interval of 12 months and lambing percentage is 70 during the 1st year of operation with a sex ratio of 50:50.
  2. Total lamb production is considered 140 numbers and with a mortality rate of approx. 5% conservatively, total lamb production shall be as 130. Female lambs are retained and male lambs are sold at 8 to 9 months of age.
  3. Shearing of wool is done twice a year.
  4. The yield of wool is as follows:

Adults 1.2 Kg per animal

Lambs 0.6 Kg per animal

Working capital (for 30 days) once a year

Concentrated feed during lactation period: 210 x 0.25 Kg./day x 30 days @ Rs.4.00/kg L.S = 6,300.00
Misc. expenses = 200.00.

So, the total expenses = 6,500.00

The main source of feed is by way of grazing. During lactation period, you will need to provide the concentrated feed.

Cost of Project

Land: own

Site Development fencing, and roofing 500 sq. ft. = 12,000.00

Cost of animals
(a) 200 ewes × Rs.550/- per ewe. = 1,10,000.00
(b) 10 rams × Rs.650/- per ram. = 6,500.00

Equipment and insurance, veterinary expenses, cost escalation and contingencies etc. (LS) = 15,000.00

Working Capital 6,500.00

So the total expenses = 1,50,000.00

Project Economics

From sale of wool

Adult sheeps 210 × 1.2 Kg× 2 cycles × Rs.60 per Kg. = 30,240.00
Lambs 70 × 0.6 kg× 2 cycles × Rs.60 per Kg. = 5,040.00
(ii) Sale of lambs 100 × Rs.500 each = 50,000.00
(iii) Penning charges 200 × 6 months × Rs.7 per animal per month= 8,400.00
So, the total amount = 93,680.00 Rounded over = 94,000.00

Cost of Production

Concentrate = 6,300.00
Veterinary expenses/insurance @ Rs.10 animal = 5,600.00
Shearing charges = 1,100.00
Interest charges (if any) = 9,000.00
Sustenance allowance = 18,000.00
Misc. expenses = 1,000.00

TOTAL = 41,000.00

So, the cash profit: (94000 – 41000) = 53,000.00

Depreciation/amortization of expenses @ 10% 14,350.00

Net Profit = 38,650.00

No manpower on wages is considered since entrepreneur himself & his family members can manage the operational activity. The cost of the project may vary in different States & Regions.

Step 2: Identify a Location

If you already have a location of your own then it’s good. Otherwise, you will need to identify and select a location for setting up the farm. Basically, the area requirement depends on the size of the farm and the population of the livestock you want to keep on your farm.

Generally, location plays an important role in the overall success of your sheep farm. Ensure that space is clean enough and has the clean water resource. Additionally, check the availability of adequate amount of greens and easy transport facility. Also, don’t establish the farm in the location that is very far from the local market.

Step 3: Procure Quality Breeds

Procure the quality breeds either trusted breeders or responsible farmers. Generally, you can find numerous sheep breeds throughout the world. However, all those breeds are not suitable for farming in all areas. So, you will need to procure the breeds according to the agroclimatic condition of your location.

Additionally, you will need to select the breed according to the specific demand. Basically, some breeds are suitable for commercial meat production and some breeds are suitable for wool production. So, choose suitable breeds according to your desired production purpose. Some of the most popular sheep breeds are

  1. Bannur
  2. Bellary
  3. Dorset
  4. Suffolk,
  5. Cheviot
  6. Deccani
  7. Cordially
  8. Montadale
  9. Hassan
  10. Merino
  11. Rambouillet
  12. South Down

Also Read: 50 Most Profitable Sheep Breeds for Meat and Wool Production

Step 4: Build the Housing

Building the right housing is one of the most important aspects of establishing the sheep farm. Basically, you must provide a housing that can protect the sheeps from the adverse climatic situations. You can provide simple shade for fouse the sheeps. However, you must construct the shade in an elevated area to prevent water stagnation. Additionally, you can grow the fodder trees around the shades and use the space as grazing land. Finally, the entire house must have sufficient ventilation facility.

For a comfortable house east-west orientation with generous provision for ventilation /air movement to dry the floor is suitable. However, the most suitable is thatched roof due to cheaper cost and durability.
However, you can also use corrugated asbestos sheets for organized farms to minimize the recurring costs and to have longer durability.

Generally, an adult sheep requires about 20 squire feet floor space. For example, if you intend to raise 10 sheep, then you have to make a house with 10 feet long and 20 feet wide. Keep the roof at least 6 feet high from the floor.

Different Shades of Organized Sheep Farm

  • General flock shed (Ewe / Doe shed)
  • Ram or buck shed
  • Lambing or kidding shed
  • Lamb or kid shed
  • Sick animal shed
  • Shearing and storeroom
  • Attendant’s room

Step 5: Feeding

You must provide proper feeding for the best result. Additionally, you will need to provide the food according to the gender and age. Good-quality hay or stored forage is a highly productive feed for your sheep farm.

The period from weaning to the breeding of ewes is critical if a high twinning rate is desired. Ewes should not be allowed to become excessively fat but should make daily gains from weaning to breeding. During the last 6–8 wk of pregnancy, the growth of the fetus is rapid. This is a critical period nutritionally, particularly for ewes carrying more than one fetus.

Beginning 6–8 wk before lambing, you must increase the plane of nutrition should be gradually and continue without interruption until after lambing. The amount offered depends on the condition or fat covering of the ewes and quality of the forage.

If ewes are in fair to good condition, 0.5–0.75 lb (225–350 g) daily is usually sufficient. The roughage content of the ration should provide all the protein required for all nonlactating ewes. If necessary, you can classify the ewes according to age, condition, and number of fetuses and divide into groups for different treatment.

Step 6: Care & Management

Basically, you will need to provide good care and management to get the maximum profitability of your farm. Broadly, you will need to procure quality breeds, provide good housing and food. Addionally, maintain the cleanliness of your farm. In addition to that, provide right vaccination to your sheeps. If you notice any sick sheep, separate the animal promptly and provide proper treatment.

To obtain the optimum profit, always tap the local market of the products. It helps to keep the transportation cost minimum. Additionally, always think about the other marketing avenues to get the maximum profits from your sheep farming business.