How to Start Sheep Farming in Nigeria: Business Plan, Breeds, Cost, Profit and Management

Nigeria has a long history of sheep farming. Sheep farming quickly became an important part of the economy of Nigeria and continues to be so today. There are many opportunities for small-scale farmers to get involved in this industry and earn a good income. Sheep are easy to care for and do not require a lot of space, making them well-suited to small-scale farming operations.

How to Start Sheep Farming in Nigeria
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How to start sheep farming in Nigeria

Why start a sheep farming business in Nigeria?

Sheep farming in Nigeria is raising sheep for meat or wool production. It involves the selection of a suitable location for the farm, preparing the land, providing shelter and food for the sheep, and ensuring their health and safety. There are many reasons to start a sheep farming business in Nigeria. Firstly, the climate is well suited for raising sheep. The average temperature is warm enough that sheep do not require extra shelter or protection from the elements.

Second, there is a large demand for sheep meat in Nigeria. Many Nigerians consider sheep meat a delicacy, and it is often served on special occasions and celebrations. Third, starting a sheep farm requires relatively little investment compared to other livestock businesses. Fourth, Nigeria has a large population of small-scale farmers familiar with sheep care and husbandry. These farmers can provide an important source of labor for a new sheep farm.

Sheep farming importance in Nigeria

There are many reasons why sheep farming is important in Nigeria. One reason is that sheep provide meat, a valuable protein source. Sheep also provide milk, which can be used to make cheese and other dairy products. In addition, sheep produce wool, which can be used to make clothing and other items.

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Sheep Farm Fencing
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Sheep farming is also important because it employs people in Nigeria. Sheep farmers need employees to help with raising and caring for the animals. In addition, shearing businesses need workers to shear the wool off of the sheep. Finally, there is a market for selling live sheep and lamb meat in Nigeria. These factors make sheep farming an important part of the Nigerian economy.

Steps to start a sheep farming business in Nigeria

Choose the right breed of sheep

There are many different breeds, each with advantages and disadvantages. Do some research to find the best breed for your climate and pasture conditions.

Build shelter

Sheep need protection from the sun, wind, and rain. A simple three-sided shed will suffice, but ensure it is large enough for your sheep to fit inside comfortably.

Fence in your pasture

A sturdy fence is essential to keep your sheep safe and contained. If possible, use a wire fence with an electric charger running along the top – this will deter predators from trying to break in.

Prepare a business plan

This is an important step for any business, especially for something as complex as farming. Your business plan should include financial goals, target market, production plans, and marketing strategies.

Provide proper care for your flock

Sheep require regular care and attention. They must be fed and watered daily, and their living areas must be kept clean and free of parasites or predators.

Buy healthy animals

When purchasing sheep, buy from a reputable breeder who can provide animal health certificates. Inspect the animals carefully before purchasing to ensure they are free of diseases or parasites.

Provide proper nutrition

A healthy diet is essential for keeping your sheep in good condition. Provide plenty of fresh grass or hay and a balanced mineral supplement designed specifically for sheep.

Is sheep farming profitable in Nigeria?

Yes, sheep farming can be profitable in Nigeria. There are many factors to remember when determining whether or not sheep farming is profitable, such as the cost of feed, housing, and labor; the price of wool; and the demand for lamb meat. To maximize profitability, Nigerian sheep farmers should focus on producing high-quality wool and meat.

They should also strive to keep their costs low while maintaining a healthy and productive flock. With proper management, sheep farming can be a lucrative venture in Nigeria. In Nigeria, sheep farming is done primarily for meat production.

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Sheep Breeds
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Zero grazing sheep farming in Nigeria

There are many benefits to zero-grazing sheep farming in Nigeria. Zero grazing allows for environmental control, leading to healthier sheep and increased production. Additionally, zero grazing can help to prevent overgrazing of pastureland. Zero-grazing sheep farming in Nigeria can be done using several different methods. One common method is to use a movable pen system, where pens are moved regularly to fresh pasture.

This method requires less labor than traditional sheep husbandry methods and can be used in conjunction with other livestock, such as goats and cattle. Zero-grazing sheep farming in Nigeria has many benefits and is a viable option for those interested in raising healthy sheep while preventing environmental degradation.

Profitable sheep breeds to farm in Nigeria

There are four common breeds of sheep for the sheep farming business in Nigeria: the Uda, Balami, the Red Sokoto, Yankasa, and the West African dwarf breeds.

  • The Red Sokoto is the most popular and profitable sheep breed in Nigeria. The Red Sokoto is a meat sheep suited to Nigeria’s hot, dry climate. The Red Sokoto produces high-quality meat that fetches a good price at the market.
  • The South African Dorper is another popular and profitable sheep breed in Nigeria. The Dorper is a dual-purpose sheep that can be used for both meat and wool production. The Dorper produces high-quality wool that Nigerian textile manufacturers prize.
  • The British Milk Sheep is Nigeria’s third most popular and profitable sheep breed. The British Milk Sheep is a dairy sheep that produce large quantities of milk. The milk from the British Milk Sheep is rich in butterfat and protein, making it ideal for making cheese and other dairy products.
  • The Blackhead Persian is a large breed of sheep known for its black head and neck. They are very hardy animals and can thrive in harsh conditions.
  • The Dorper is a South African breed of sheep that has become very popular in Nigeria. They are known for their white bodies and black faces. Dorpers are very adaptable and can live in both hot and cold climates.
  • The Red Maasai is a Kenyan breed of sheep characterized by its red coat. They are very resilient animals and can survive in arid conditions.
  • Finally, the Australian Merino is another popular and profitable sheep breed in Nigeria. The Merino is a wool sheep that produces high-quality wool that Nigerian textile manufacturers prize.

Where is sheep farmed in Nigeria?

Most sheep in Nigeria are found in the northern states, with the highest concentration in Sokoto State. Other states with large populations of sheep include Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, and Niger.

Sheep nutrition and feeding management in Nigeria

  • Sheep are browsers and prefer to eat a diet rich in foliage. A good rule is to provide your sheep with at least 1 hectare of browse per 100 animals.
  • Sheep also require a source of fresh water for drinking. A water trough or basin placed in a shady spot will help keep the water cool and accessible to the sheep.
  • The type of feed you provide to your sheep will depend on the time of year and what breeds are available locally. During the wet season, when natural pasture is abundant, your sheep will do well on a diet of grasses and legumes. During the dry season, when pasture is scarce, you may need to supplement your sheep’s diet with hay or commercially-available feed pellets.

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Sheep house design and fencing importance in Nigeria

The design of the sheep house and the importance of fencing in Nigeria are crucial to the success of any sheep farming operation. Nigeria has a hot, arid climate, and severe drought conditions can occur. Because of this, the sheep’s house must be designed to protect the animals from the heat and sun. The roof should be made of a material that reflects heat, such as aluminum or white-painted metal.

The walls should be solid to keep out the sun and wind. The floor should be slatted to allow for good drainage and ventilation. The fencing around the sheep pen is also important. It should be high enough to deter predators from getting in but low enough so the sheep can see out. The fence should also be close enough to the ground so the sheep cannot jump over it.

Sheep health management in Nigeria

Sheep health management is extremely important in Nigeria due to the hot, humid climate. Diseases such as sheep pox, foot rot, and scab are common in Nigeria and can quickly kill a sheep if not appropriately treated. To prevent diseases, Nigerian farmers must take good care of their sheep. This includes providing clean water, fresh pasture, and shelter from the sun and rain.

Farmers should regularly check their sheep for signs of illness and immediately treat sick animals. In addition to preventing diseases, proper health management of sheep will help them grow well and produce quality wool. Good nutrition, plenty of exercise, and regular vaccinations will keep your sheep healthy and productive.

Sheep farming types in Nigeria

Extensive sheep farming

Sheep are reared on large tracts of land, often in semi-arid regions. The animals are mostly left to fend for themselves, with only minimal intervention from farmers.

Intensive sheep farming

This is a more intensive form of sheep farming, where the animals are kept in smaller enclosures and given more care and attention. Farmers may provide supplementary feed and water and carry out regular health checks.

Small-scale sheep farming in Nigeria

Small-scale sheep farming in Nigeria is a great way to earn a supplemental income. Sheep are relatively easy to take care of, and they provide several products that can be sold for profit. In addition to wool, sheep can be slaughtered for meat, and their manure can be used as fertilizer. If you’re interested in starting a small-scale sheep farm in Nigeria, there are some points you need to know. First, you’ll need to find a good location for your farm. Sheep do best in locations with plenty of grass and water. They also need to be protected from predators.

Factors affecting sheep farming profit in Nigeria

  • The important aspect of running a successful sheep farm is generating a profit. In Nigeria, sheep farming can be quite profitable, provided that farmers take the time to learn about the best practices for raising and selling their sheep.
  • There are a few key things that Nigerians who want to get into sheep farming need to keep in mind to maximize their chances for success. Firstly, it’s important to choose a good location for your farm. Sheep require a lot of grazing space, so you’ll need access to plenty of lands.
  • You must create a business plan and budget for your farm. This will help you determine how many sheep you need to purchase, what kind of housing and fencing you’ll need, and what other costs you’ll incur. Make sure to factor in the cost of hiring workers if you don’t plan on doing all the work yourself.
  • Several financial institutions in Nigeria offer loans for sheep farming. The terms and conditions of these loans vary depending on the institution, but they typically require collateral and have relatively high-interest rates.

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Sheep farming loans in Nigeria

Finally, Nigeria has several government programs and initiatives designed to support the development of livestock businesses, including sheep farming. These programs provide access to credit, technical assistance, and market information. They also offer subsidies for inputs such as feed and vaccines. Some of the most popular sheep farming loans in Nigeria include:

The Agricultural Development Bank of Nigeria (ADB)

The ADB offers loans for various agricultural purposes, including sheep farming. Loans from the ADB typically have relatively low-interest rates and flexible repayment terms.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The CBN provides farmers loans through several programs, including the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS). ACGS loans are available for up to 100 million nairas (approximately $280,000) at an interest rate of 9% per year.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)

The FMARD provides financing for livestock production through its Livestock Production Loan Scheme (LPLS). LPLS loans are available for up to 5 million nairas (approximately $14,000) at an interest rate of about 5% per year.

Sheep farming problems in Nigeria


Several diseases can affect sheep, including sheeppox, foot rot, and scab. These diseases can cause serious animal health problems and lead to death.


Predators such as lions, leopards, and hyenas can be a problem for sheep farmers in Nigeria. These animals can kill sheep for food and can also spread disease.

Lack of water

Sheep need access to fresh water to stay healthy. If there is a lack of water available, this can lead to dehydration and death.

Poor quality pasture

If the pasture is of poor quality, the sheep may not get the nutrition they need, leading to health problems.


Drought is a major problem in Nigeria and can devastate sheep farming. Drought can cause the grass to die, meaning the sheep have no food. This can lead to starvation and death.

How much do you require to start sheep farming in Nigeria?

The amount required to start a sheep farming business should cover the land and housing, sheep, feed, feeding equipment, etc. The average cost of setting up a sheep farm in Nigeria is between N60,000 and N70,000. This includes the cost of buying a good quality flock of sheep, as well as the cost of fencing and other necessary infrastructure. The cost of feeding and caring for the sheep is also an important factor to consider. This includes the cost of acquiring healthy and quality breeding stock, which is the most important factor in having a successful farm.

Other costs include feed, fencing, housing, and health care. While the initial investment may be high, sheep farming can be lucrative. To calculate the cost of sheep farming in Nigeria, you will need to consider the cost of buying, feeding, housing, and other associated costs. You will also need to factor in your own time and labor costs. To calculate the profits from sheep farming in Nigeria, you must sell your lambs or wool at market prices.

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Sheep marketing in Nigeria

  • There are several considerations to take into account when marketing sheep in Nigeria. The most important factor is the target market. There are several markets for sheep meat and wool, each with specific needs and requirements.
  • It is also important to consider the transportation infrastructure when marketing sheep. Nigeria has several different transportation options, but they can be expensive and unreliable. It is important to have some plan for getting the sheep to market promptly and efficiently.
  • Finally, it is important to have a good understanding of the Nigerian regulatory environment. Several laws and regulations apply to the farming and marketing of sheep in Nigeria. It is important to be familiar with these laws and regulations to avoid potential problems.


Sheep farming in Nigeria can be profitable, provided that farmers take the time to learn about the business and understand the market. The Nigerian sheep industry is growing rapidly, increasing the demand for meat and wool products. Nigeria has a long tradition of sheep husbandry, and there is a strong demand for meat and wool products. The final step is to provide food and water for the sheep.


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