Introduction to Sheep Farming in Sri Lanka:
Today, let us talk about Sheep Farming In Sri Lanka.
Sheep farming is one of the best sources of livelihood for unemployed people, especially in rural areas of Sri Lanka; there are many benefits and also high returns in sheep farming. Sheep farming is becoming popular day by day; it is one of the highly profitable businesses in Sri Lanka. As the population increases the business is also increasing rapidly in India. By sheep farming, we can get some products like meat, fiber, and manure; these products also have a high demand in the market.
The population of sheep is 130% more than the goat population. The sheep have a remarkable high efficiency in producing milk and meat. The breed, which is selected for rearing should be good and efficient under all circumstances. The main objective of the sheep farm should be the conservation and propagation of the pure breed. It is considered that the sheep economics is also 160% more than the goat economy.
Scope and Importance of Sheep Farming in National Economy:
In the national economy, sheep farming plays a vital role. In the initial stages, it might be small employment, but gradually the demand and also the returns will be increasing.
Importance of sheep Farming:
The sheep are reared by both men and women in Sri Lanka. The situation of agriculture vary and socio-economic are numerous in the production system in our country. These are the classifications they are:
- Extensive production
- Intensive production
- Semi-intensive production
Role in Economy and Contribution of sheep to people:
- Fiber or Skin: With the help of fiber or skin they make many things like pelts, hides, wool, and hair.
- Storage: The sheep store their milk in them and they are also known as walking refrigerators; they can store for a long time and they can be milked numerous times in a day.
- Dung and Waste Material: The other products of the sheep are waste material and dung of sheep as these also have high demand as the dung and the waste material is used as farmyard manure for the plants while cultivating them.
- Weed Control: These sheep can help us in weed control these will control the weeds, unwanted plants, bushes biologically.
- Income: For the landless people it will be a good income and for the married people the sheep or other live stocks animals are given as a gift.
- Employment: Sheep farming will be a good source of livelihood for the less literate, un-skilled, and low-income farmers.
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Advantages of Sheep Farming in Sri Lanka:
- Sheep can tolerate all types of climates when compared to other livestock.
- Sheep can be handled easily.
- Sheep are very social animals.
- Housing demands of the sheep are very few; they don’t need a separate house as they can adjust happily with their owners or other live stocks.
- The maintenance of the sheep is also very cheap.
- When they are small and young in age they can be slaughtered.
- These sheep can be reared by landless agricultural labours, children and ladies.
- A sheep gives us many by – products like meat, fiber and manure.
- The sheep are used in hilly areas for hauling light loads.
- The sheep give more production as per unit of investment.
Sheep Breeds of Sri Lanka:
- Dorset Sheep Breed
- Jaffna Local Sheep Breed
- Bannur Sheep Breed
- Red Madras Sheep Breed
- Bikenary Sheep Breed
Sheep Feed Management in Sri Lanka:
The sheep are one among the ruminant animals as it is a multifunctional utility. The food management is the main secret of good sheep management. The farmer who has sheep farm should have basic knowledge of feeding the sheep properly. The feed for the sheep is different in different ages and different seasons. Sheep should also be provided with minerals and vitamins besides the natural feed.
- Pastures and Browsing: The Pasturing feed is one of the most efficient sources of nutrients for the sheep. Pastures contain a high amount of proteins and energy. They help the sheep in increasing digestibility. The pastures for the sheep are a mixture of grain, grass, clover, sorghum, Sudan grass, millet, and Bahia grass.
- Hay: The important source of nutrients for the sheep is hay. Hay which doesn’t contain mold should be fed to the sheep. High-quality hay should be fed to the sheep. A large amount of nutrients, which is contained in the weedy hay, is fed to the sheep. The most commonly used hay feed is alfalfa, clover, and Lespedeza.
- Grain: The sheep can be fed with 12 – 16 % of course grains. The sheep’s weight can be increased by providing them the creep feeding. The grains that can be fed to the sheep are corn, rye, moil, oats, and barley. To provide the sheep with energy, cereal grains can be fed.
- Garden and kitchen scrap: the kitchen and garden scarp is a good diet for the sheep. The kitchen scrap like onion peels, garlic skins, orange peels, banana peels, and tomato ends, etc. can be used as feed. All the fruit and vegetable cuttings can be fed to the sheep.
Schedule of sheep:
- After their birth they should receive colostrums and thereafter up to an age of 2 months they should be fed with the milk @ 1/10 of their body weight.
- Kids that are aged around 2 – 4 months should be fed with creep feed @ 450 grams daily along with water and green grass etc.
- The sheep that are about 4 months and pregnant sheep should be fed with conc. mixture @ 450 g, crude protein should be 14 – 16 %, green grass and labium.
- The does that are milking should be provided with conc. Mixture @ 350 grams for each litre of milk produced.
- In breeding season, the buck should be fed with conc. mixture @ 400 grams every day with green grass.
- Every day the sheep should be provided with 450 – 680 grams of feed in a day.
Conc. mixture means Concentrate mixture. It contains Jowar, Soya bean, Maize, sorghum, groundnut cake and broken rice.
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Sheep Housing Management in Sri Lanka:
In the sheep farming business, housing plays a major role. As sheep need housing as the climate varies, the season varies, for their lambing season and also to manage the shepherd. In case of inclement weather, lambing occurs, and then the sheep need more elaborated housing. They also need very few facilities like store feed, bedding and also appropriate equipment. The hay which is stored inside the house will be of more quality. The long-lasting equipment is should be arranged under the roof of the housing.
In the intensive system of production, housing is very important. One should ensure comfort and facilities to the sheep for maximum profits. The sheep are just like a human being and they too have some physiological requirement for growth and production. The main motive of housing for the sheep is to protect them from uneven climatic conditions, harsh animals, and inoculated environmental stress.
Basic requirements of Housing:
- Site Location
- Sufficient space requirement
- Wheat straw
- Oat straw
- Corn Stover
- Saw dust
- Barley straw
- Peat moss
- Shade and shelter
- Good location of housing / sheds
- Air inlet and outlet
- Proper drainage
- Milk barns
- Food troughs
Sheep Breeding Management in Sri Lanka:
Identification of sheep in heat:
- Using an intact male
- Use of intact male will be fitted with aprons
- The ram should be vasactamised
Management of Breeding:
The productions units are considered as per the age of the Ewe while the breeding process.
Breeding Age of Ewe:
The breeding age of the ewe should be of 10–12 months. The sheep of too young age should not be encouraged for the breeding this might lead to loss. The ewe should attain 5 – 17 months of age for breeding.
Preparing the female sheep breed:
While preparing the female (Ewe) sheep breed these process are followed:
Preparing the male sheep breed:
While preparing the male (Ram) sheep breed these process are followed:
- Marking the ram
- Raddle or raddling
Method for mating of Sheep:
- Hand mating
- Pen mating
- Flocking or pasture mating
- Artificial insemination
Preparation of kidding:
Before the birth of the kid, the pen or the house should be cleaned perfectly and they should be supplied with fresh air and the floor of the pen or the house should be clean and the floor should always be dry or else it might lead to injures to the kids.
Seasons of Breeding:
- During the summer season, the heat occurs in the month of March and April and the kidding season is in the month of August and September.
- During the rainy season, the heat occurs in the month of June and July and the kidding season is in the month of November and December.
- During the winter season, the heat occurs in the month of October and November and the kidding season is in the month of January and February.
Period of Gestation:
The gestation period of the sheep is also very short span i.e. 150 – 155 days.
Sheep Diseases and Vaccination Management in Sri Lanka:
These are the diseases that occur to the sheep:
- Blue Tongue
- Peste-des-petites Ruminants
- Sheep Pox
These are the vaccines which should be given in their life time. They should be scheduled as per the vet consultation.
- Volar footrot bacterin
- Sore mouth
- Tetanus antitoxin
- C & D antitoxin
- Covexin – 8
- Ovine ecolizer
- Case – bac
- Caseous D-T
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