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Sheep Farming A Well-Paying Business, Pastor Kayanja

by Harvest Money Editor
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Pastor Robert Kayanja is a shepherd in the actual sense of the word. At his farm in Kiryandongo, he shepherds sheep with a stick, leading them to paddocked areas to graze as he ‘talks’ to them.

 At the farm, sheep are some of his closest friends whenever he visits. The farm has got over 300 sheep. Kayanja says sheep have got a high potential to earn farmers money because of their various attributes.

“A female sheep produces twice a year, making multiplication on the farm much faster. It is easy to keep sheep. One can use an acre of land to keep between 15-20 sheep, unlike cattle that requires large expanses of land. Sheep can tolerate any weather condition and are less vulnerable to diseases,” he says.

Ugandans have just started adopting commercial sheep rearing, but before they were paid a deaf ear.

“You can rear sheep along with other animals like goats and cattle, because at a certain point they take the same feeding resume,” Kayanja says.

Market for sheep

Ali Wasswa, who owns a butchery in Kalerwe market in Kampala, says sheep is mainly sold during the Idd Adhuha period, a religious festival when Muslims sacrifice animals as well during events where there are roasts. At the city abattoirs, they cost between sh80,000 and sh100,000 each.

“Most farmers had ignored sheep farming because they think it’s not profitable, but I have realised that if carried out on a commercial scale, a farmer can make a lot of money from it,” he says.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), there are only about two million sheep in Uganda at the moment, much lower with pigs (4 million) and goats (13 million).

All about sheep farming, from birth to the market

Sheep is mainly kept for wool and mutton. The ewe has a gestation period of 142-152 days, averaging 147 days and they come on heat every 17 days lasting for 24 to 48 hours, thus enabling one to recoup capital in a short period.

Since they are hardy, sheep provide a good source of income in barren, desert, semi-arid and mountainous areas. A sheep enterprise requires little labour and small capital to start.

The animals further require little space and can be raised alongside other livestock. They eat wide varieties of plants, thus, utilising even the available low quality forage sufficiently.

When properly managed, a sheep farming business can be a great source of income as products such as wool and meat are in high demand. However, one requires to understand the major components of sheep rearing to come up with a proper business plan for successful farming.

Controlling sheep disease

External and internal parasites control and vaccination are the most efficient ways to keep sheep disease-free. Internal parasites include worms which are ingested during grazing and are controlled by oral anti-parasitic anthelmintics or drenches.

External sheep parasites include lice, nose bots, sheep itch mites and maggots. They are controlled using back liners, sprays or immersive sheep dips.

Crutching (shearing wool from a sheep’s rump) is a common preventive method. Vaccinations are done against deadly diseases like anthrax and foot and mouth disease, among others.

Always keep in touch with your veterinarian for treatments.

According to Mubiru, tick-borne diseases can be treated by regular spraying using acaracides, while bacterial infections are treated by giving the animals antibiotics.

Tips

1-Rearing sheep for wool and meat calls for proper management practices that include deworming at least after every two months. This gives them appetite for grazing, thus, they grow faster.

2-When constructing a sheep pen, make sure it is raised some feet above the ground and there should be small spaces between the wooden bars used for floor construction to enable animal dropping to fall in the shed. 3-The sheep should be sprayed fortnightly to curb ticks. When infested with ticks, sheep scratches itself damaging its hide and wool.

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