Some Sheep Rearing Tips for You
In Kenya sheep farming has been practiced for a very long time particularly by the pastoralist communities in the N. Eastern region and the Masaai community. This has been a custom in the mentioned communities. They practiced a mixed method of farming which included cattle, goats and even camels. The animals used to supplement the pastoralists families with meat and milk.
Today rearing sheep is a source of income. Sheep are being reared for production of mutton for the food industry and wool for the wool industry. The animals are good browsers and feed on forages. You are required only to have a housing shed and a good source of forages to start rearing sheep in your home yard.
There’s a huge market for the sheep produce thus a farmer has no need to worry about market; meat consumption due to life style changes around eating habits.
Rearing of sheep is not capital intensive and the fact that sheep are not highly susceptible to many diseases that attack livestock makes it even economical. Again the sheep are not heavy feeders as cows are.
When you are choosing a sheep breed to rear, you should consider the following to be to reach a better decision.
- Wool breeds – Merino,
- Meat breeds – Dorset, Hampshire, Dorper.
- Dual purpose breeds (both wool and meat) – Corriedale, the Red Maasai sheep.
Your choice depends on your intended purpose in rearing sheep. Again you should factor in the number of sheep to purchase in line with your land size, shed size and productivity aspirations.
Sheep rearing in Kenya has come a long way and recently it has seen an increase by farmers showing a lot of interest to practice it as a source of income.
Merino breed which is very common among the farmers is reared mostly due to its wools quality and mutton. Another breed that is highly sought in Kenya is the Dorper which originated from S. Africa. The International Livestock Research Institute based in Nairobi is breeding the indigenous sheep so as to introduce a breed that is drought resistant and highly adaptive to the Kenya’s climate.
In Kajiado, Kenya, the Dorper has been interbred with the local breed- The Red Maasai sheep. The crossbred Dorper is on high demand in Kajiado as it is able to cope with harsh conditions although in extreme climatic conditions in the rangeland it is very difficult to raise them.
Rearing sheep as the agriculturalists puts it has a greater opportunity in offering employment opportunities among the job seekers in the country if only it is seen as a business venture. Sheep rearing is a traditional business which has been in the existence for a long time and needs to be tapped to realize its full potential.
The youths ought to take the advantage of this opportunity to earn an income and also be able to create jobs of their own. They can earn a sustainable and satisfying income by rearing sheep. More importantly the government and all the development stakeholders and investors need to identify the potential in rearing sheep and provide all the support it requires in terms of financial and veterinary services.