Beep sheep for service. So what are sheep doing on a pig farm you ask! Well, first of all the sheep are responsible for having originally taught our pigs to eat grass so many years ago. Now our piglets learn from their mothers but the sheep are still great to have around for co-grazing with the pigs. Sheep mow brush down, even taking down small saplings and regen. Together with the pigs and poultry they make for diversified grazing that improves the soil and pastures.
Currently I’m sheepless in Vermont but we’re preparing new pastures that will have sheep in the coming years. I originally learned to do managed rotational grazing with sheep. While I was very good at raising sheep, and love lamb, they couldn’t pay the mortgage. Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s the price of lamb was low. Sheep also reproduce slowly, grow slowly and have a low yield. All of this made them unsustainable since a farm must be profitable to survive. The biggest problem was that the processing ate up about 90% of the sale price. Compare that with processing being about 30% to 60% on pork. Now that we have our own butcher shop this will change the economics and I plan to be sheepish again. Likewise, cattle will become viable for us in the future due to having our own on-farm processing which is why I built the butcher shop with the full height 20′ ceiling in the Abattoir a.k.a. the kill floor.