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Sheep

( Originally Published 1915 )



Sheep.—Sheep may and may not be worth teaching, not that the sheep industry is not important, but there is more than we can teach which is of vital economic importance. If sheep are kept in the district, or if they should be kept because they would pay, then sheep are worth teaching. A discussion of what kind of sheep would pay best, how the farms would have to be fenced, how the sheep could be protected from the dogs, how the sheep must be housed, whether there is a probability that the price of land, labor, the skill of the labor and the climate will enable one to keep the sheep at a profit, and whether the farmer will enjoy making money by keeping sheep as much as he would by doing something else —all of these must enter into consideration before we are sure that he should go into the sheep business.

Sheep are kept for two purposes, mutton and wool, and hence there are two types of sheep. The wool sheep are again classified into the coarse-wooled breeds—Leicester, Cotswold and Lincoln ; medium-wooled sheep the Dorset, Southdown, Hampshire, Oxford, Cheviot and others ; and fine-wooled--Merino, Delaine, Ramboullet, American Merino and others.

The popular sheep in eastern America are the Southdown (Fig. 50) and the Shropshire (Fig. 51), both fairly good mutton sheep and medium coarse-wooled sheep. Both have lambs that are fairly round and plump and hence ready for market at almost any time.

If the farm is fenced so as, to hold sheep and if the laws and public opinion are such as to insure a farmer reasonable protection from dogs, a few sheep may be profitable to keep for the help they may be in keeping down weeds. Sheep consume many weeds which horses) and cattle do not eat. Where there is brush land on the place, farmers have found it profitable to keep Angora goats, for they eat off the leaves and small shrubs.



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