If you own a farm or homestead, you might decide you would like to keep sheep. There are many elements to contemplate when purchasing sheep. Should you buy a ram, a ewe, or a couple of lambs? What is the best age to get sheep, and what breed is best?
One of the critical questions is how much do sheep cost?
Sheep costs vary according to multiple factors, including breed, age, gender, registration status, and purpose for the purchase.
Adult rams may be $300 to $500, ewes $200 to $400 and lambs $75 to $200. Sheep can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars if they are from valuable genetic lines.
It is vital to have clear aims when purchasing sheep as this will affect the kind of sheep you buy and the cost of the sheep.
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How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Sheep?
Answering the question of how much sheep cost is not a straightforward matter. Multiple factors influence price. You will probably buy non-registered, possibly mixed breed sheep if you are starting your venture or experimenting to see how you manage.
You can expect to pay $200-400 for an average adult ewe sheep. Rams are a bit more, and you will generally pay $300-500 for an adult ram.
Some people do not want to spend that much and opt to buy lambs at around $100-200. Occasionally you may purchase lambs for $75.
Always examine the animals first to ensure they are healthy.
What Factors Influence the Cost of a Sheep?
The sheep breed, age, condition, genetic heritage, registration, and gender play a role in determining price.
Sheep come in various breeds, with some commanding higher prices than others. Sheep are bred for three primary purposes; to provide wool, milk, or meat. Sheep breeds have been selectively developed to service these markets.
Some sheep breeds can be dual-purpose sheep. This means they can be used for meat and wool. Meat and wool are the biggest markets. Sheep breeds used for milk are rare, which may push up the cost of purchasing a suitable animal.
Registered Pedigree Sheep Are More Expensive
Stud sheep used for breeding are usually more expensive than production animals (those that will be slaughtered or used to produce wool). Only the best sheep are selected to breed future generations.
These sheep are usually registered with a breed association and the national studbook. Their ancestry can be traced, and many have had DNA testing to prove their lineage. Registered sheep are more expensive because they come from stock with desirable qualities and produce high-value lambs.
Stud sheep are sold for much higher prices. An animal bred from champion lines will be even more expensive. A farmer buying a stud sheep ram will purchase the best ram they can afford.
Why Are Rams More Expensive Than Ewes?
Rams fetch a higher price than ewes because they can produce multiple offspring in a season. A ewe is pregnant once a season, producing one to three lambs. The farmer will have fewer rams or even only one ram, depending on the number of flocks. It is critical that the ram has good semen quality and libido.
Rams may be used on outside ewes for a stud fee allowing the farmer to make extra money. They have a resale value as some farmers change rams every few years to maintain genetic diversity.
Older ewes drop in price as fewer opportunities are left to produce lambs. Pregnancy in older ewes may also be complicated, although this is not always the case.
Unregistered, mixed breed young rams may be cheaper than ewes of the same breeding. The ewes have the potential to breed more sheep, whereas the ram will only be worth the meat or fleece value.
Ewes with a vet certificate confirming pregnancy will be sold for higher prices than non-pregnant ewes. The unborn lamb pushes up the price. If the ewe is pregnant from a highly successful ram, the price will be even higher.
Why Are Lambs Cheaper Than Adults?
Sheep are considered lambs until they are one year old. The younger the lamb, the lower the price. This is because lambs are more vulnerable to disease and stress.
They are also unproven with regard to breeding. In addition, the farmer has spent less feeding the lamb and does not need to make as much money when selling the lamb.
Although it may look like a bargain to buy young lambs, it could be an expensive exercise. Lambs should only be purchased once they are fully weaned and a good weight. If lambs still need to be nursed or are underweight, they will be prone to diarrhea and disease.
Bottle-feeding young livestock is always a time-consuming and expensive exercise. The milk replacement formula is costly. Raising the lamb will cost as much or more than if the farmer buys an older, healthier lamb.
What Is The Most Expensive Sheep Breed?
There is a Texel ram named Double Diamond, sold on the 27th of August 2020 for 367,500 pounds – nearly half a million dollars. Texels are dual-purpose sheep providing lean meat and wool. They have controlled breeding lines making them the most expensive sheep breed in the world.
Fortunately, not all Texel rams are as expensive as Double Diamond. Generally, Texel rams range in price from just over $1000 to $6,500. They are popular with farmers as they gain weight evenly across all parts of the body. The result is a sheep that produces a high proportion of good quality meat.
How Much Does the Most Popular Sheep Breed Cost?
Merino sheep are the most popular breed of sheep. They are a dual-purpose, hardy breed found worldwide. Merino sheep can be bought for approximately $150 per animal. The most expensive Merino sheep was sold for $450,000 in Australia.
Sheep costs can vary according to their locality. Some sheep may be rare in an area and will be more expensive. Sheep breed popularity can vary according to the environmental conditions and which sheep do best in that locality.
Sheep may be bought for different purposes, which influences their price. Numerous factors affect sheep’s cost, which can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.
It is best to consider your goals in purchasing the sheep and buy the best sheep you can afford.