Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep
by Paula Simmons and Carol Ikarius
We’ve raised sheep for well over ten years now. We started with Shetlands, and then had Marinos. Currently we have some Katahdins, which are a gentle hair sheep used for meat. Throughout this venture, we have at times referred to Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep. It is a book that is organized in a way that is easy to look things up. Topics that are covered include a brief description of the types of sheep.
Different breeds not only have different characteristics, but different needs. For instance, Shetlands tend to be wild and flighty. The wool is excellent, but you better be fast and strong to catch them and shear them. Marinos are big gentle giant wool sheep with excellent wool. The word wool, though, also means that you need to be shearing them twice a year around here.
Anyhow, the book lets you know the needs the sheep have and things you will encounter. For instance, it has a really lengthy section on livestock guardian dogs that are used with sheep. This is really important. It would be hard to be successful with sheep if you didn’t have good livestock guardian dogs to protect them. The book goes over housing that is needed, nutrition requirements, lambing, livestock guardian dogs, common health issues, how to recognize them and what to do. It even gives a brief introduction to processing wool, fleeces, meat, milk and a few recipes.
This book is an overview. There’s a lot more to any given topic. That said, the book is not only on my book shelf, but in my hands as I look to it for information to better care for my sheep. The book has a lot of black and white pictures of sheep. I had no idea there was such a variety among sheep. Unlike other books, this one also tells you things to consider when buying and selling sheep. I find the book useful and accurate as far as it goes in the topics it touches.
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