Essay

Sheep Prices in 2024: Purchase Price, Food Costs, and More!

Every day, more people are wanting to make their homes more sustainable due to growing food and product prices. With every year that goes by, homesteading, or the desire to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, gains popularity. The number of people who homestead has significantly increased since 2020, according to Homesteaders of America. More individuals are raising animals, producing goods, and cultivating crops. Sheep are one of those creatures that are becoming more and more popular. This post will discuss everything from sheep prices to the actual requirements for becoming their owner.

What is a Sheep, Anyway?

One of the world’s earliest and most successful domesticated species was the sheep (Ovis aries). This is a four-legged, stocky-hooved mammal with short tails and thick torsos. Worldwide, sheep are bred for their meat, milk, and wool. They may also be raised for religious and cultural purposes.

Purchase Amount

A sheep’s initial purchasing price varies based on a number of factors. A few variables that affect the sheep’s purchasing price are genetics, age, weight, sex, bodily condition, colour, and location of purchase. Below, let’s discuss the various sheep price scenarios.

Sheep Costs by Breed

There are already more than 200 different kinds of domesticated sheep because they are such a popular livestock animal. We’ll talk about some of the most well-liked breeds in the US in this post and compare their prices below.

Merino Wool Sheep

Estimated Average Price Per Sheep: $60- $250

There are many places where these sheep can be found, including the United States. This type is highly preferred because it makes up around 50% of all sheep worldwide. This sheep is defensive and adaptive, with wool that is fine and soft and of excellent quality. Generally speaking, these sheep are smaller than types raised for meat.

Rambouillet Sheep

Estimated Average Price Per Sheep: $150- $500

Among the commercial sheep, this breed is the most well-liked. They are a huge, long-lived breed frequently referred to as the French Merino. This sheep is utilised for both meat and wool, and it has a strong flocking instinct.

Suffolk Sheep

Estimated Average Price Per Sheep:$100-$450

Meat sheep, or “mutton-type” sheep, is this breed. With its black head and legs, it has a distinctive appearance and medium wool. This breed produces meat of high grade and grows quickly. In 1888, they were initially brought to the United States.

Hampshire Sheep

Estimated Average Price Per Sheep: $150- $700

Although they are most commonly utilised for producing meat, this breed is also used to produce wool. They make exquisite mutton and medium-grade wool of excellent quality. Similar to Suffolk sheep, they have black faces and legs, however they can be clearly identified because of the wool covering their heads and legs. This breed is large and energetic with a moderate temperament.

Dorper Sheep

Estimated Average Price Per Sheep: $150-$400

The Dorper sheep can adapt quite well to a wide range of conditions. They wear a coat that is composed of hair and wool. They don’t need to be sheared because their coat comes off as well. They produce nice mutton, but their thick sheepskin is what makes them valuable since it protects against inclement weather.

Other Factors Affecting the Purchase Price

Similar to other livestock animals like pigs or donkeys, the breed of the animal is not the only factor influencing its purchasing price. A few variables that affect the sheep’s purchasing price are genetics, age, weight, sex, bodily condition, colour, and location of purchase.

Age

Sheep of varying ages are priced differently. A really old animal, for instance, might sell for less money than a younger sheep. Furthermore, lambs can occasionally be more expensive than sheep. The popularity of lamb meat and the fact that lambskin is somewhat softer than sheepskin are two factors contributing to this. In the end, the price is influenced by a variety of factors, including the breed, the state of the sheep or lamb, and the present demand.

Sex

Generally speaking, ewes, or female sheep, are less expensive than rams, or male sheep. A female sheep should cost you between $300 and $400. You should anticipate paying a premium price if she decides to have lambs. You should budget closer to $400–$500 for rams.

Additional Elements That Impact Cost

Apart from the previously mentioned characteristics, physical condition, genetics, and colouring can also have an impact on sheep pricing. The price will increase with the sheep’s health and condition. The price of a purebred, registered sheep from a quality flock will be significantly more than that of a non-purebred sheep. Additionally, colour influences cultural tastes, the price at which goods are in demand, and the application or field for which the wool is being utilised. Sheep with unusual colouring could fetch a higher price on the market.

Keeping a Sheep’s Cost

While buying your sheep is a one-time expense, maintaining ownership of the sheep requires ongoing financial support. Here, we’ll go over some of the regular expenses associated with owning and caring for sheep, breaking down the specifics of sheep prices.

Cost of Feeding

Sheep are both grazers and herbivores. Typically, they will consume weeds and grass from all over their pasture. But they need far more nourishment than just grass. The University of Maine collaborated in extending best practices for managing sheep and cattle. They talk about how the sheep’s health depends on you giving them minerals in addition to food. You need selenium, and you should stay away from copper.

You will also need to provide them with high-quality feed or grains and a pasture in which they may graze. Additionally, you will require a sufficient amount of roughage, which might be pasture, silage, or hay. Lastly, fresh water must always be available to your sheep.

Veterinary Treatment

You’re less likely to need to call the veterinarian if your sheep is in better health. Veterinary care for livestock is usually more expensive than for humans. The price range for a typical 30-minute session is $150 to $200. That doesn’t include any extra drugs or care your sheep could require at that particular time. Maintaining the best possible health for your sheep will help you save money by requiring veterinary care just for routine checkups and vaccines.

Costs of Land and Shelter

Make sure these animals have enough space on your property and that their shelter meets their needs. It is advised that each mature animal have 0.2–0.3 acres of pasture. Sheep have wool, but it is insufficient to keep them warm in bad weather. It will be sufficient to have a three-sided shelter away from winds with an open door facing the front. It must be constructed on a site with good drainage and elevation. Each mature animal should have 20–25 square feet of room.

Cost of Enclosure and Entertainment

You should have several paddocks in your pasture for their enclosures so that you can divide them apart. This makes it possible for you to shift the sheep from paddock to paddock so that the grass may grow again. White sheep salt blocks should also always be provided in their enclosure. Each mature sheep should have 50 square feet of room in the exercise yard area. For sheep to securely go from their enclosure or shelter places to the pasture area, there should also be dry routes. Sufficient fence is necessary in every region to keep sheep within and predators outside.

Moreover, you can contribute to your sheep’s enrichment by setting up several food and water stations, mounds, shrubs, etc. In addition, you can provide self-sanitation areas for them to interact with. Lastly, you can create toys for them that are enriching and nutritious so they have to struggle to obtain food or treats out of them. Depending on how many sheep you have and how imaginative you want to go with their enrichment, this will cost different amounts.

Extra Expenses

These are only two more of the most typical expenses associated with being a sheep owner, but there are many more that we could include.

Insurance and Grooming

Sheep need to be groomed even though they are regarded as relatively low maintenance animals. Every year, sheep’s hooves need to be clipped. Additionally, they ought to be sheared at least once a year—certain varieties requiring two shearings. Whether you want to hire a service or perform these grooming procedures yourself will depend on the cost. It’s also advised to get livestock insurance to further safeguard your pets.

Summary of the Projected Expenses for Buying and Maintaining a Sheep: The Approximate Price of Buying a Sheep

This table lists the cost of buying a sheep according to breed. Please remember that these are average prices; occasionally, sheep may be found for less or more than what is listed below.

Sheep Breed Average Cost
Merino Wool Sheep $60-$250 per sheep
Rambouillet Sheep $150-$500 per sheep
Suffolk Sheep $150-$450 per sheep
Hampshire Sheep $150-$700 per sheep
Dorper Sheep $150-$400 per sheep