Why do I house dairy sheep?
With the genetics of high-yield sheep in mind, exposing your flock to the elements can see a deterioration in both its quality and its size. Many diseases, injuries and deaths are associated with pasture grazing, particularly in dairy sheep, leading you to lose head and to be forced to pay for veterinary assistance.
Spreading your flock over a large area also makes it more difficult to manage. Herding the animals in order to milk, shear, dip or spray can be incredibly time consuming, as is feeding a sparse flock. Indeed, a pasture grazing flock will have greater nutrition requirements when compared to a housed flock, as it must expend more energy to find its food.
By housing your dairy sheep you’ll keep the flock healthy and happy, and ensure that they are productive as possible.
What are the benefits of housing dairy sheep?
With all of the above in mind, the investment in a dairy sheep shed, shelter or any other form of housing can quickly be paid back with improvements to the quality of your flock and its productivity, the reduction of upkeep costs, and an increase in operational efficiency.
There are two avenues to converting a farm to house dairy sheep – you can opt for a pasture based system with lower-yielding sheep, or you can choose purpose-bred dairy sheep with a much higher milk yield that need to be housed. The right choice for your farm will depend on a number of factors, so it’s important that you do the research before committing to one option or the other.
How do I house dairy sheep?
The housing needs of dairy sheep can vary greatly depending on the climate, the possibility of lambing, and the farmer’s management preferences.
Dairy sheep shelters can vary from the most basic domed construction to a fully fitted structure with feeding, milking, quarantining and lamb rearing facilities. The level of return is generally tied to the level of investment that a farmer is willing to make – the better the facilities, the greater the potential upside.
No matter what type of dairy sheep shelter you decide to construct, it is vital that it is placed on an elevated site with good drainage. If you choose a shelter with one or more open sides, these sides should always face away from the prevailing wind. The structure should be designed to easily manage the movement of sheep, the delivery of feed and the handling of manure, and it will ideally be plumbed and powered (or at the very least have the option for plumbing and power to be added in the future).
How many square metres per dairy sheep for housing?
It is recommended that you allow 2m² of space per dairy sheep if you house them in an enclosed space. We can help you to work out your space requirements and ensure that your sheep are kept as comfortable, healthy and productive as possible.
Boasting a team backed by 100 years of experience, and working with the finest materials available, at SmartShelters we’re able to rapidly design and construct dairy sheep shelters of the highest quality, enabling you to work smarter, sooner.
Contact a member of our experienced team today to discuss a truly smart shelter solution for your property.