sheep

Sheep Management Systems

Sheep can be produced under many production systems in New Mexico. Here are some things to consider when designing a sheep production system:

Available forage. Plan to make maximum use of seasonal forage because feed costs often amount to 50 to 60 percent of the total cost of producing lamb and wool. Feed consumption is the greatest during late gestation and lactation; producers may be able to reduce feed costs by grazing ewes on pasture at these times.

Available labor. When sheep are added to other farming enterprises, it may be advisable, from a managerial standpoint, to lamb when labor is not needed for other activities.

Lamb prices. Lamb prices normally fluctuate during the year, and it may be more profitable to produce lambs for the expected high market. Typically, that is during the late spring and early summer.

Size of flock. Small flocks, from 10 to 50 ewes, often are not profitable because they tend to be poorly managed. The primary reason is that mechanization is not feasible, so return per hour of labor is not maximized. Small farm flocks generally are used simply to control weeds on irrigation ditches or maintained as a hobby.