Talk:Sheep farming

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Name change?[edit]

When this page was placed on the "Things you can do--Copyediting" section of the Community Portal, it was a compilation of information about small scale sheep farming. Various people have improved it, but it still doesn't seem to be properly named. Woulld it make sense to change the name to "Sheep Farming?" If so, it could be further upgraded to be a fairly comprehensive description of various aspects of sheep farming. Sunray 22:34, 2004 Dec 25 (UTC)

Yes. I say go ahead and do it. If the article is titled sheep farm it should just be about sheep farms. The existing article could be retitled Sheep husbandry and would have great potetial for expansion. ike9898 00:47, Dec 26, 2004 (UTC)
Now that sounds almost encyclopedia-like! Perhaps we could have a redirect from "Sheep farming." Sunray 01:07, 2004 Dec 26 (UTC)

I think some of the infomation from shepard should be moved here. I'll do it if I get a chance. ike9898 23:14, Dec 29, 2004 (UTC)

Sheep producing: how is it measured ? in wool ? meat ? milk ? cheese ? Lysy 18:32, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Just what I was wondering! The FAO (agricultural wing of the UN), seem to measure it in indigenous sheep meat [1]. In fact, that source is quite different to the unreferenced Top 10 shown in the article. I'll update to these stats unless anybody has a problem. Pseud 22:03, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Sheep are a multi-purpose animal bred for wool, meat or milk. Best measure is in US Dollars added to export earnings! flock size is easy to measure but life expectancy of a fat lamb for meat production is often less than the time between "flock census". In Australia, changes in flock size are translated into income each tax year based on market values which again simply turns the flock numbers into a dollar value. Garrie 04:41, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Mulesing - Crutching[edit]

Can someone take a look at these? SchmuckyTheCat 15:17, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Dogs on Motorcycles[edit]

"On large farms, dogs or riders on horseback or motorcycles, or any combination of those, may herd sheep."

Does this mean in some places we see dogs on horseback or dogs on motorcycles? Wow!

Yes - with a human rider in control of the motorcylce / horse. Sorry if that is not obvious to all readers.Garrie 04:42, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Ear marking[edit]

In Australia it is common to mark ears of both sheep and cattle by cutting notches out of them with special pliers. The current code of practice assumes you know what it is talking about when it discusses the technique - but it doesn't actually describe the operation, it just says "make sure every thing is sharp".

Anyone got any pointers for where to define ear marking?Garrie 04:44, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Intensive sheep production[edit]

"Under the intensive sheep production based on a cut and carry system, sheep are kept in pens with grass and concentrate being provided regularly. Some flocks are kept on slatted floors, others on litter beds that are cleaned once or twice a year."[2]

Intensive sheep production in the near east

Section six of this is on intensive sheep systems

WAS 4.250 (talk) 09:01, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Madness! I wish I had remained in ignorance, poor things. As sheep are notoriously good at spontaneous dying, I find it hard to believe that they don't take the opportunity in this system. It's bad enough treating cattle that way.
It seems this intensive system is not covered by sheep husbandry. --Richard New Forest (talk) 15:22, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

(Above copied from User talk:Richard New Forest)

Query flushing before conception increasing birth weight.[edit]

(Discussion begun in User talk:Richard New Forest, following queries raised in both Domestic sheep and Glossary of sheep husbandry)

I do not understand what you are asking regarding flushing sheep. I read the very interesting article sheep and did not know what it meant by "flushing". So I googled it and learned stuff and added to the article now linked. I learned that the term is used to refer to removal of embryos/eggs and also used to refer to giving some animals (goats, sheep, cattle, deer, and similar) extra nutrition in the two or so weeks prior to conception to increase fertility (number of eggs/offspring) especially, but also to increase birth weight. How long the added nutrition continues, I don't know - I guess it would depend. For example, if flushing were used to create extra eggs and to remove them, there is no need to continue the rich diet after they are removed. I suppose modern factory farms use objective scientific diet formulas for each stage (egg production, womb growth, milk production). One might think extra nutrients would be useful post-birth to help the babies, but modern farming tends to value the milk too high to waste it on non-humans. WAS 4.250 (talk) 06:26, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

As I understand it, flushing is done before tupping to increase the number of eggs, and so increase the lambing percentage. On the other hand birthweight is controlled mainly by nutrition in the period before lambing (in fact large birthweight is not necessarily desirable, and the aim is to avoid both too-large and too-small lambs). See for example [3] and [4]. Did you find a reference that flushing before tupping can affect birth weight?
Thankfully sheep are not yet factory-farmed... Again, over-rich nutrition after birth may not necessarily be a good thing (see [5], under "overeating disease"). --Richard New Forest (talk) 10:16, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The sources I have specify that flushing can be done before/during mating, during pregnancy, and during lactation. Some choose to only flush during one or none of these periods, but it can and has been commonly done in all of them. VanTucky 03:07, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
"Ewe liveweights were generally on target with less variability than the previous two years as a result of ewes being well-fed right through the lambing period."[6] WAS 4.250 (talk) 09:01, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
But does flushing at tupping have an effect on birthweight? Richard New Forest (talk) 15:22, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes. WAS 4.250 (talk) 15:02, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Refs then please. --Richard New Forest (talk) 16:06, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

(Above copied from User talk:Richard New Forest – discussion to continue here please, as most relevant to a sheep husbandry issue.--Richard New Forest (talk) 16:37, 10 January 2008 (UTC))

(Copied from Talk:Glossary of sheep husbandry) Flushing is improving of feed quality in the few weeks prior to mating to increase conception rates. Cgoodwin (talk) 05:34, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
First off, flushing is not just to increase ewe fertility, it's for rams too. Second, in the dozen sources I have sitting in front of me and that I have used in the sheep article, flushing is also feeding grain during pregnancy to increase birth weights, and during lactation. In general, flushing is the feeding of grain during the entire reproductive cycle to improve health of rams, ewes, and lambs. VanTucky 03:01, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps I've not been as clear as I might have been. I have no problem with flushing being done at various times, including both before and during pregnancy, and indeed for both rams and ewes. My understanding is that nutrition before tupping affects fertility, including number of lambs, and nutrition during pregnancy affects birth-weight. The original text included a claim that flushing before tupping could affect birth-weight, and it is only that element I'm questioning. --Richard New Forest (talk) 11:46, 11 January 2008 (UTC)