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Sheep References and Links

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Sheep Resources

There are hundreds of websites, dozens of excellent books and magazines, and a host of other publications which are available to help shepherds raise their sheep successfully, and make some money doing it. This is a gleaning of the best we've found or had highly recommended to us. No one resource will have all the answers you need, of course. Trial and error is sometimes the most effective teacher!

General Shepherding

By far the best book on raising sheep is The Sheep Book by Ron Parker. Originally published in 1983, it's still a great book. Even better, though, it's recently been fully revised and reprinted. It's available through bookstores (support your local independent bookstore!).

Another good book is The Sheep Raiser's Manual by William K. Kruesi, also a good general book on sheepbreeding, with an emphasis on the technical side of sheep nutrition, and meat sheep production.

Paula Simmons' book, Raising Sheep the Modern Way has an emphasis on wool production and marketing to handspinners.

A wonderful online resource is the Maryland Small Ruminant website. Amazingly comprehensive, it's a great place to begin your research into raising sheep. My only complaint is that it's rather slow to load.

The American Sheep Association is the lobbying organization for the sheep industry. They have an extensive website, full of all kinds of sheep information.

A fun and informative place to browse, the Oklahoma State University's list of sheep breeds gives an overview of nearly every breed of sheep known. A good place to start when choosing the breed of sheep you'd like to raise.

Pasture Management

A nice outline of a pasture management program is available here, with lots of specifics for what to do to improve existing pasture. Note all the suggestions are very mainstream agriculture.

Sheep Diseases

The best listing of information regarding scrapie on the Internet is at the Maryland Small Ruminant's Scrapie page. In fact, I decided not to bother with a separate listing of scrapie information when I saw this page!

Sheep Nutritional Needs

A copy of the Nutrient Requirements of Sheep is available and readable online. Quite technical, but very specific. Information is geared toward full-size modern sheep breeds.

A source of organic minerals suitable for sheep is the North American Kelp Company. We have been very happy with their products and their service.

Yet another great article by Ronald Florence is his Haying FAQ. It's aimed toward farmers who can grow and cut their own hay, but there's great information for those of us who must buy our hay, too, including how to know if the hay you're considering is good hay.

Niche Marketing

When creating a niche market for your products, it helps to educate yourself about what makes your product uniquely different from mainstream products. Educating your customers is the next step. Here's some resources to help you along:

Eat Wild explains some of the benefits of grass-fed animals. Producers can list on this website for a fee.

Using and Selling Wool

Holly's studio website, HJS Studio, offers information on the spinning classes she teaches, as well as tutorials on a wide variety of fiber-related topics. Particularly popular is the article on washing wool.

Another book by Paula Simmons, Turning Wool Into a Cottage Industry, is a great introduction to the world of using and selling wool in a variety of forms.

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