We commonly rear sheep in Nyandarua County (C018), Kenya. However, not many people practice sheep farming for business.
Have you heard about Zero Grazing Sheep Farming?
Profitable Sheep Farming – How to Start and the Business Plan
The most popular farming method to practice profitable sheep farming is zero grazing. Zero grazing can be described in simple terms as a technique whereby hay is cut and fed to sheep kept indoors, on a daily basis. The sheep are fed in installs. This procedure is advantageous as fresh grass is well utilized thus reducing feed costs on the farm.
There is an increase in milk production. The zero-grazing system requires grassland management and skills as well as access coverage. Several sheep farmers practice a zero-grazing policy, by monitoring each ingredient of the sheep diet. Moreover, the farmer can track and keep the records of the animals closely.
Despite the advantages offered by zero-grazing, and farming sheep, this system demands a lot of labor and capital to manage.
Sheds for stall breeding under the zero-grazing system are typically designed to consist of enclosed areas and open areas. The required floor is 10 square feet per animal in a covered area and 20 square feet per animal in an open area.
The sheep are kept in batches in accordance with their age and condition, i.e. if they are pregnant or sick. In fact, the farmer is advised to select sheds depending on their capital capacity.
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The Pros of Zero Grazing Sheep Farming
There are several advantages of practicing zero grazing in sheep farming as compared to traditional sheep farming methods. The advancement of technology has boosted the sheep farming industry, particularly the intensive farmers.
Let’s take a look at the benefits below:
- High utilization of grass
- Improved accessibility of grass, especially in farms where it’s difficult or far for the sheep to walk.
- Fodder from areas inaccessible for grazing by sheep can be used.
- The farmer can keep a lot of sheep per unit area of land.
- The sheep are less likely to be affected by diseases and other environmental hazards.
- A lot of energy is saved on the sheep as they walk less, thus increasing milk and meat production.
- Through zero-grazing, manure produced by the sheep is collected with ease since the dung is assembled in one heap.
- This farming method is labor-intensive. This is because the farmer doesn’t need to take the sheep out to graze, thus also saving time.
Management Procedures in Sheep Zero Grazing
There are a few steps that the farmer should follow in order to achieve profitable sheep farming. These are as follows;
- The farmer is required to establish fodder banks, by growing Giant Setaria or Elephant Grass and supplementing them with legumes. After this, the farmer should create a zero-grazing unit consisting of cubicles, feed and water troughs, a walking area, a milking area, and a roof.
- The farmer should then select the correct sheep based on the resources accessible on the farm.
- After achieving the two main management steps on the farm, the farmer should then generate a feeding program for the sheep.
Activities in the Sheep Zero Grazing Practice
- Diseases and parasites control, with the purpose to reduce deaths and monetary losses.
- Appropriate milking and hygiene.
- Correct methods of breeding.
- Environmental protection.
- Proper feeding and nutrition of sheep
Challenges Experienced By Farmers Practicing Sheep Zero Grazing
- High costs are caused by labor and machinery requirements.
- Poor sheep performance because of inefficient use of concentrated and by-products.
- Increased costs of storing and handling the animals.
- Wastage of animal food, such as cut grass, spoils if not fed to the sheep within 18 hours.
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