Sheep Farming In Kerala – A Beginners Guide

Introduction to Sheep Farming in Kerala:

Today, let us talk about sheep farming in Kerala.

All over India, sheep farming business is becoming very popular as sheep meat lovers are kept increasing day by day. For the unemployed farmers, Sheep farming is the basic source of their daily wages.  The Sheep farming business will give the farmer high returns in short periods.  The products of Sheep also have high demand like fiber, meat, and also manure.

Scope and importance of Sheep Farming in the National Economy:

Sheep farming plays a vital role in the socio–economic life of rural people, the Sheep farming is the main source of marginal farmers, landless, and labour. It is believed that the Sheep population of Kerala is 12 Lakhs approximately. The main motto of Sheep farming is to propagate a good breed and also the conservation of Sheep farming. In Kerala, not only the native breeds are reared, but also the neighboring states Sheep breeds.

Because of sheep farming, there is 8% of contribution to the national economy through its milk, skin, wool, manure, and also fiber. The income also comes from the by-products of the Sheep.

Importance of Sheep Farming.
Importance of Sheep Farming.

Loans and Subsidies for Sheep Farming in Kerala:

Among all other livestock, Sheep farming is one of the most profitable businesses. India is one of the largest producers of meat and milk. The demand for meat and milk is increasing gradually as meat lovers are increasing. For the farmers who are economically back, they are supported economically by the central and state government. The government holds some schemes and subsidies to support farmers in undertaking the Sheep farming business. The NABARD provides assistance to the farmers; the government provides the funds to NABARD. Nearby rural and co-operative banks (working for the NABARD) will give us more information related to the schemes and subsidies. The loans are sanctioned as per the size of the project and the region of the sheep farm; they are released after the project is sanctioned. The exact details and information can be known by visiting the official website of NABARD or nearest agricultural banks.

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Advantages of Sheep Farming Business in Kerala:

  • The milk of Sheep will help us in good digestion and it is also very nutritious.
  • The Sheep have very few housing demands, as they can adjust with any other livestock or else with the owner also.
  • The Sheep have higher digestibility, so they can be fed with crude or any type of roughages that are poor in quality.
  • These Sheep can be raised by children, women, old people, and also agricultural labour.
  • The initial investment in Sheep farming is very low.
  • The Sheep milk is capable of curing all the health problems like diabetes, cough, asthma, etc.
  • The Sheep are slaughtered at a very young age.
  • As the Sheep don’t have any religious taboo, so these Sheep are relished by all sections of society people.
  • They are very cheap to maintain and can also be maintained very easily.
  • Sheep milk has high demand in the market
  • The Sheep can be handled easily without much risk.
  • Not only the Sheep have high demand, but also byproducts of sheep.
  • These Sheep are used in hilly areas for hauling.
  • For every unit of investment, the Sheep give us better production
  • These Sheep don’t need a particular climate they can tolerate all types of climates.

Sheep Breeds of Kerala:

All the neighboring breeds are reared in this state as there is no specific breed that is originated and also reared here.

Feed Management in Sheep farming:

In a successful sheep farming business, feeding the sheep at all stages of their life cycle plays a vital role. The feed should be provided timely and in an appropriate ratio. The development of health in Sheep can be seen when they eat good and efficient food. Additional vitamins and minerals should be supplied in appropriate amounts apart from the forage.

Grains: when we don’t find or get any kind of feed for the Sheep they can be fed with grains up to 12 – 16 % of the course. By feeding the creep feed and complementary feeding to the Sheep their weight can be increased. Cereal grains can be fed to Sheep as they are good sources of carbons and energy. The grains that can be fed to the Sheep are barley, rye, moil, oats, and corn.

Pasturing and Browsing: These pastures and browsing as a good source of nutrients for the Sheep. In high amounts, proteins and energies are enclosed in the pastures. These will help the Sheep in increasing their digesting ability and tastiness. The mixtures of pasture are done with sorghum, grass, grain, clover, Bahia grass, millet, and Sudan grass.

Sheep Feeding on Green Pastures.
Sheep Feeding on Green Pastures.

Garden and Kitchen Scrap For a good diet, the Sheep can be fed with garden and kitchen scarp. All the cutting waste of fruits and vegetables can be fed to the Sheep. These scarps are loved by the Sheep as they are a good source of energy and also nutrients. The kitchen scraps that can be fed to the Sheep are onion peels, tomato ends, banana peels, garlic skins and orange peels.

Hay: The hay is an important source of nutrients for the Sheep. The hay which ewesn’t contains the mold in it should be fed to the Sheep. The hay which is fed to the Sheep should be of high quality. In weedy hay, you can find a large number of nutrients, so it is recommended to feed your sheep with the right amount of hay. The hays which are fed to the Sheep are Lespedeza, clover, and alfalfa.

Read: Goat Farming Business Plan.

Concentrated feed for your sheep:

  • Sorghum
  • Broken rice
  • Wheat
  • Groundnut cake
  • Maize
  • Salt
  • Mixture
  • Skimmed milk powder
  • Rice polish

Legume Fodder crops for your sheep:

  • Stylo
  • Cowpea
  • Desmanthus
  • Hedge lucerne

Housing Management in Sheep farming

Housing for Sheep is not a serious problem. But it is essential to provide comforts and facilities for Sheep to gain more profit. In an intensive system of production, Sheep housing is very important. Sheep are similar to us in growth and production. The housing is basically aimed at protecting the animals from uneven climates and predators.

  • In the Sheep farm, a good drainage facility should be arranged.
  • Good ventilation is more required in the Sheep farm.
  • The number of labour, which is required for the farm is also very less in number.
  • The main motto of the housing for the Sheep is to protect the Sheep from harsh animals and also from uneven climates.
  • This house will also protect the animals from inoculated environmental stress.
  • The floor, which is selected for the farm should not be slippery.
  • And also the farm floor should always be dry.
  • Construction of the housing should be done on a higher elevation so that no floods or any other natural disaster will affect the farm more.
  • While constructing a farm we should leave some space for taking a rest.
  • The Sheep waste should also be collected on the farm.
  • The Sheep should be severed with hot water in all the seasons as they are afraid of the cold water.

Sheep Breeding Management:

Breeding plays a major role in the Sheep farming business, the farmer will get maximum profits as the Sheep breeding will help in increasing the population in Sheep farms. The Sheep are capable of adapting themselves to any type of climatic conditions.

Breed Identification of sheep

Sheep should be analyzed by their temperature and bloodlines. By analyzing the Sheep can be identified by their breed. It will also determine the Sheep is efficient for breeding or not.

Age Factoring

The age of female breeding Sheep must be 5 – 17 months. The best time and age for breeding is at 10 – 12 months.

Preparing the ewe for the breeding

The ewe should be breeding.

Selection of Ram, which is compatible for breeding

The ewe Sheep which is selected for breeding should be compatible with the male breed and the Sheep breed should be suitable for the breeding

Read this: Organic Dairy Farming.

Breeding option

Before the ewe enters the estrus, we should decide the method of fertilization. Either we can choose the natural method or the artificial method of breeding. By artificial breeding, the success rate is very low and the cost is very high. The natural method is a more effective way of breeding.

Season of breeding the Sheep

For Sheep the fall is the breeding season of Sheep. The ewe becomes heat frequently during the fall or breeding seasons. There will be two heat cycles in about 18 – 22 days. In the early stages, if the breeding is done there would be good results in the outcome. After the estrus, ovulation usually takes place within ½ – 1 ½ days. Timely matting is very important for successful fertilization.

Breeding Ratio in Commercial Sheep Farming

The ratio of Sheep breeding is 1: 25. Breeding is done in between 1 male sheep and 25 female sheep.

Gestation of Sheep

The gestation period of Sheep is 150 – 155 days.

There are two types of breeding techniques. They are:

Natural Insemination of Sheep

For commercial Sheep farming, natural insemination ewesn’t suit as it takes more time.

Artificial Inseminations of Sheep

In commercial Sheep farming the artificial insemination is more suitable as it is a little cost-efficient, but ewesn’t take more time than natural insemination. It is mostly preferred for the commercial Sheep farming business.

Sheep Diseases and Vaccination Management:

Diseases of sheep:

Daily observation of Sheep should be done by observing the behavior or physical changes. If there are any illness symptoms like diarrhea, discharge from the eyes, nose discharge, appetite, limping listlessness, abnormal temperature, and labored breathing.  If we observe these symptoms, then we should consult the vet. The house should be clean and hygienic, so, the Sheep’s health can be maintained goodly.

  • For every 4 – 6 weeks trimming of hooves should be done regularly.
  • The trimming of the hooves should never be neglected this might lead to a major loss.
  • If there is any change in their physical appearance, then the farmer should consult the vet.
  • If there are any symptoms of diseases we can see the illness like diarrhea, appetite, abnormal temperature, labored breathing, and nose discharge.
  • If we find any of these symptoms the farmer should consult a vet when needed.

Viral Diseases of sheep:

  • Foot and Mouth Diseases
  • Peste Des Petits ruminants
  • Sheep pox

Ecto – parasitic infestations:

  • Tick, lice, etc

Endo – parasitic diseases:

  • Tapeworm
  • Roundworm
  • Fluke infection
  • Coccidiosis

Bacterial Diseases of sheep:

  • Enterotoxemia
  • Brucellosis
  • Mastitis
  • Footrot
  • Haemorrhagic Septicemia
  • Anthrax
  • Pneumonia

The gestation period of Sheep is 150 – 155 days.

Vaccinations:

In general, vaccinations are of two types they are:

  1. Inactive Vaccinations:

The inactive vaccinations are also called dead vaccines. These target the organism directly to treatment until they get inactive. These are capable of producing toxins. These toxins are used for the vaccination in the vaccine without any diseases so this vaccination is called toxoid inactivation. These toxins are capable of producing immunity in the Sheep.

  1. Live Vaccinations:

These live vaccinations target the organism until they lose virulence, but they can also hold or retain them to provoke the immune response to target Sheep.

  • Usually, both the inactive and live vaccine requires different modes of application. Before the immunity is achieved, live vaccination should be given only in a single dose. The Sheep should care for a little more after the vaccination.
  • In 14 – 15 days the inactive vaccination should be given in two doses. After these 2 doses, the booster shot should be given to achieve full immunity, by this Sheep achieve the immunity. But these types of vaccines provoke a less intense response in the immune system, so there is a need for 2nd application of a booster shot.

Sheep Farming Tips:

  1. Sheep are known as social animals.
  2. The comforts and facilities for the Sheep must be effective and efficient.
  3. Housing for the Sheep should be constructed strong and good.
  4. Caring for the Sheep properly by treatment, preventions, and timely nutrients.
  5. While rearing Sheep we should have some knowledge of rearing techniques.
  6. After removing the fleece from the Sheep, if they expose to cold climates they may fall ill, so they should be kept in warm conditions.
  7. At marketing time, the breeds should be sold in good markets.
  8. The farm should be maintained hygienically.
  9. Equipment that is necessary for the farm should set up on the farm.
  10. A storeroom should also be maintained for storing the food.
  11. And the other storeroom is for storing the by-products of the Sheep, like milk, meat, and fleece.
  12. A first aid kit should be maintained on the farm.
  13. At the time of purchasing the farmer should buy both Ram and Ewe.
  14. While purchasing efficient and healthy breed should be selected.
  15. Care for a breeding ram, pregnant ewe and kids should be taken a little more.
  16. Sheep should be provided with mineral and saltwater, during the summer seasons.
  17. Regular consultation of the vet is needed, as it improves and lets us know the health condition of the Sheep.
  18. While rearing Sheep we should have some knowledge of rearing techniques.
  19. After removing the fleece from the Sheep, if they expose to cold climates they may fall ill, so they should be kept in warm conditions.
  20. At marketing time, the breeds should be sold in local sheep markets or can have a contract supply to hotels or other functions.
  21. Sheep should be facilitated with good facilities like water, feed, milk barn, fleece shearing barn, and proper drainage, etc.

Sheep Farms in Kerala:

Kerala Livestock Development Board

Gokulam Building, Pattom Road,

Thiruvananthapuram,

Kerala.

ANSI Sheep Farm

North, Attapilly Temple Road,

Near Mattapilly Temple,

Edathala, Aluva,

Kerala.

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